How should I start the conversation about being smart about safety?
We know you talk to your children about safety but figuring out the when and how, at times, can be tough. The Game Plan Game can be an icebreaker to those important conversations. To help, we’ve put together some guidelines for you. These guidelines are based on current research about what children do and don’t understand about personal safety at different ages. You know your child best, so pick conversations that seem appropriate for your child. The important thing is to start somewhere. Once you start talking about personal safety, you’ll find new ways to teach your child about their community and the world around them. It can be fun, and you’ll be helping your child to learn, grow, and stay safe.
When should I start talking with my child about personal safety?
Right now! Research suggests that children as young as three (3) understand some aspects of personal safety. Talk to your child about personal safety often, in many different places. If it feels like a normal conversation, your child will feel less scared and less anxious. You might feel less anxious too!
Should I teach everything to my child all at once, or space out the teaching over several weeks and months?
Personal safety is ongoing and developing. Even as adults, we learn new ways to keep ourselves safe. Having small, frequent conversations with your child will help them to normalize conversations about personal safety, and it will give them more chances to practice their new safety skills. Some families have found that having twice yearly “family safety nights” can be a fun way to celebrate safety and remind each other of their family’s safety rules. These should complement, not replace, ordinary and everyday conversations about safety.