As parents, we want our kids to be safe; protected from any and all danger. The younger our little ones are, the more we as adults have to do that job. But as our kiddos grow, they become more and more capable of doing some of it themselves. Since we won’t always be able to be there for our kids, it’s important that we teach them how to be safe. At Life Learning Center Preschool and Child Care, a Gilbert preschool, we have a few great age appropriate safety tips for parents to teach their kids:
• Visit a free car seat clinic at Mercy Gilbert Hospital to make sure car seats are not only installed correctly, but that children are secured in them correctly.
• NEVER leave a baby in a vehicle unattended. Whether you plan on just “running in” to a store or you accidentally forget, a hot car can quickly turn deadly. If you need a reminder, take off your shoe when you strap your child in and place it on the seat next to your baby. When you reach your destination, you’ll remember your shoe and your baby!
• ALWAYS watch children around water – your child as well as others. A child can drown in as little as 2 inches of water and little ones are top heavy because of their larger heads, so make sure all water sources are secure (toilets have latches, mop buckets are empty, pools have gates).
• As kids start walking, make sure to safety proof your home with safety gates, door knob covers, outlet covers, safety locks on cabinets, extra locks on doors leading outside, and a pool fence.
• Make it a habit to casually mention safety topics, saying things like “We wear our seatbelts to keep us safe” or “We have to wait till it’s safe to cross the street and we always use the crosswalk.”
• Read books, play games, and sing songs about being safe. Some great resources include: PBS Parents, Scholastic, and Safe Kids.
• Go through “What If” scenarios with your child to help them think critically, whether they’re attending a Gilbert preschool or a daycare located elsewhere – or even if they stay at home.
• Do not use scare tactics because your child will either believe you and go through life scared of everything, or they will recognize what you’re saying isn’t likely to happen and you lose credibility.
• When your child does make an unsafe choice, make sure there is an immediate and logical consequence (i.e., if he runs into the street, he must come inside as you remind him that if he cannot play safely, he cannot play at all).
Teaching your children about being safe never ends, no matter if they are attending a Gilbert preschool or not. Since children cannot usually understand the reasons for the safety rules until they are about 8-10 years old, keep teaching them, praise them when they listen well, and keep loving them even when they don’t do what you want them to do.