Thursday, May 24, 2012

It Will Never Happen to Me

Spring time is a good time to talk to your children about staying safe while playing outside in warm weather. Don't sit down with your child and expect them to listen to a long, drawn out grocery list of do's and don'ts while playing outside during the coming warm weather. You might have their attention for a few minutes and then they'll start pestering you to get outside so they can play with their friends. Instead, I'd like to suggest a different strategy for talking to your child or children about staying safe this spring. For starters, ask your child to invite their friends over for snacks and then take a few minutes to have a discussion with all of them. This can create some positive peer pressure later, should one of the children decide it might be fun to do something foolish that could lead to a dangerous situation. So here it goes. Create a list of potential safety issues. This spring safety list includes: Lightning, snakes, insects, allergies, water safety, bike riding, playing in or near a road or highway, sun burn, heat emergencies, taking off their shoes and running around with bare feet, respecting private property, not playing at or near construction or building sites, water towers, railroad tracks, or on, near or under bridges or overpasses. This list might seem lengthy for keeping the attention of a group of eight to twelve year olds but it works pretty good if you just offer them a chance to think about a few real world scenarios and allow the kids to come up with the right answers. Here's a good example of how it works. Start by asking your captive audience a question like, "You are playing down in the woods when a friend pulls out some matches and suggests that you build a camp fire and pretend you are camping. What should you and your other friends consider could happen?" Then follow up their answers with, "And what should you tell your careless friend?" This clearly sets the stage for some serious discussion and allows you the chance to add some mature comments or suggestions the children may not have considered. Using the two underlined questions above will help you navigate through the list of potential safety scenarios and the possible outcomes.

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