Children need to learn good safety practices as they grow up. It is important to remember that kids learn in a different way than adults. Most need some tactile or visual experience to make concepts like an escape plan real. Parents can use several techniques to start teaching children about safety.
Create Rhymes and Songs
The ability to remember and recite information like phone numbers, names, and addresses can help children to remain safe during emergencies or when lost. Younger children will remember this type of information easier when it is set to music and rhymes. Parents should sing songs with kids that list names and addresses. It can even help to make rhymes about what to do in an emergency.
Teach While Walking
Children sometimes have trouble associating real situations with abstract descriptions. Parents should teach children about safety while walking. This should include pointing out strangers, teaching about traffic lights, and learning about cars. Children should be shown safe areas to go to in an emergency. This creates a tactile and visual experience that children will remember if an emergency occurs.
Parents with children who are old enough to read and use a mobile device should utilize technology for safety. Children might not be able to remember everything in a chaotic emergency. Parents should program mobile devices with complete phone numbers, names and addresses of trusted emergency contacts. Mobile devices can also be loaded with lists of instructions about what to do in case of a fire or other dangerous situation.
Practice Emergency Plans
Emergency plans need to be practiced with kids. This means walking through a situation, and allowing the child to lead. Practicing regularly will reinforce the actions in the plan. They can become an automatic response in an emergency. Children who know exactly what to do and who have done it before will have faster reaction times.
Point Out Safe Authority Figures
Children do not always have a clear image of authority figures like police and firefighters. Parents should point out safe authority figures whenever possible, so children can identify them visually. Tyou might even consider having another authority figure talk to your kids about being prepared. Have a firefighter or security guards from Washington DC come and talk to kids about how to handle an emergency and do simple first aid. This will make it easier for children to get help from a police officer or security guard in an emergency.
Kids need to have all safety ideas reinforced whenever possible. One talk about safety can be quickly forgotten. Parents should take time every month or every week to address safety issues and plans with children. This will help kids memorize the information, and act safely in an emergency.
Earnest Parenting: help for parents who want their kids to understand safety precautions.