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How can I teach safety skills to my kids?

Michele Borba
Psychology
While there are no guarantees for our children’s safety and well being, research shows we can teach a few crucial safety basics that may help them be less likely to be harmed and could even save their lives. Though you may fear that talking about frightening issue such as kidnapping will scare the pants off your kids, not to do so is a mistake. The secret is to bring up the topic in relaxed way just as you discuss fire and pool safety. Just consider your child’s age, developmental level and the safety skills he needs at that point in his life.

The best way to teach any skill is by showing it to your child…not telling. So choose one skill at a time, show your child what it looks like (think of yourself as an actor), and then practice the skill until your child can comfortably and confidently use that skill alone.  Also, if you want your kid to stand up for herself (and I hope you do!), don’t get in the habit of speaking for her. Doing so can rob your child from developing the skills she needs to look and sound determined which will be critical in an emergency. Look for those opportunities to help your child practice using strong body language and a firm voice so she can learn to defend herself.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.