Looking back at everything I have discussed so far, I think I have covered all of the most important things that we focused on at the village. There can obviously be a book written for each of these topics, but I am waiting for both of my kids to be out of the house before I take on something like that
So besides the obvious importance of each and every topic in it of itself, I think if there is one thing that I would like anyone to take from what I have learned and what I have tried to share is that you really have to be careful in finding that happy medium between scaring your kids and ensuring that they understand the importance of what you are talking about.
This applies to absolutely anything you plan on talking about with your kids, even getting in their car seat. When we talk about my husband working at one of his locations like Tree Service Fort Wayne, we don’t scare our kids to the point where they are crying before daddy leaves every day; but they know that he takes his job very seriously and that if he isn’t careful he could be potentially hurt.
He has actually brought our oldest daughter, Aubrey, to work with him on a few separate occasions and wanted to show her some of the things that he does for work. Now he obviously didn’t take her to any of the more dangerous jobs like stump grinding or fallen emergency tree removals which require the use of heavy and very dangerous machinery, but he did show her around the shop and introduced her to the equipment without actually showing her them in action. He would let her ride on the tractors and grinders, this is where she is having fun and being interactive, and then show her what kind of safety gear he has to wear for it and why (this is obviously the safety part).
She didn’t even realize that my husband was using the techniques that we have been discussing this whole time and thought the day was filled with fun and she loved learning about his job.
So you might be wondering if she actually retained anything that my husband tried to teach her, right? Well this is where I came in because after they got home, I casually talked about what they did for the day and secretly quizzed her without her even knowing about it and sure enough, she didn’t even know that she was learning about safety!
This is the strongest and most important thing that I learned while working for the village and will be something I continue to use until that fateful but inevitable day my little girls are all grown up
Everything that I have discussed on here and what we taught at the village can be used by anyone and everyone! Granted my husband does run a tree care business and it is generally more dangerous than the average worker out there, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t find something to teach your kids about how to be safe that applies to your own home lives.
Even if it is as simple as why you want your kids to be using a car seat can be made into a game somehow and can be taught in a way that you aren’t going to freak your kids out enough to never want to get in the car again, but also in such a way that they respect the fact that they have to be in a different seat for their safety and they understand the importance of it.
How about cooking for all of you moms out there? You can come up with 100 different fun things you can do with your kids in the kitchen and 100 different things that could be potentially dangerous to them without proper education and guidance. Stoves, kitchen knives, hot water, etc. are all things that you really should talk about with your kids but you don’t want to bore them to death. Bake some cookies or have them help you cook their favorite meal one night and throw in your little educational food for thought while you are doing so and they won’t even know you are really teaching them about safety!
For the most part, I have pretty much only covered specific topics that we focused on back in my days of working for the village. Now that I have mentioned one that was not focused on as much as it should have been but still very important, I am going to move on to certain topics that my husband and I talk to our kids with and use some of the same principles and strategies.
So for any of you out there who are all caught up on this thing, you know that my husband is the proud owner of a tree service company with three separate locations, our newest spot being at tulsatrees.com. You might not believe me, but this is among the most dangerous jobs in America today. Luckily for me and my sanity, most of the dangerous aspects of the job are not done by my husband because he owns the company, but you better believe he has done every single other job in the field when he was growing up.
Some of the more dangerous jobs in the tree service business are so dangerous because of the very heavy machinery and tools that they require. Thankfully my husband has never seen anyone fall in a wood chipper or anything like that, but the possibility is always there. He would say that large stump removal jobs have the most potential to cause harm, because you have to chop the entire tree up into individual sections and send each one through the chipper.
Now that our kids are getting to the age where they are starting to ask questions about their mother and father, we have approached a lot of what we talk about in the same ways that we used back when I worked for the safety village. We have always felt that honesty really is always the best route to take (being reasonable, of course) and we don’t want to sugar coat the world too much for our kids.
We have talked to our oldest one in some regards about the dangers that are involved in my husband’s career but we definitely are very sensitive about the subject. We tell them in ways that they can have fun with like maybe playing with them outside in a garden or in our yard, but still make sure we emphasis the importance of what we are talking about to them. We don’t scare them into never wanting daddy to go to work, but we are honest and up front with them so that they have an understanding of the real world.
This is something that can be done in any family and remember, you don’t need to be enrolled in a village or program to teach your kids how to be safe!
One very important topic in regards to teaching kids about safety that we didn’t focus as much on as I would have liked to is how to react to strangers. We briefly discussed the topic when we would go over some of our more focused topics like car/bicycle safety and different rules of the road, but I always wished we would have talked about it more because I think it is such an important subject.
Especially now with the internet and computers becoming so prevalent, the topic has become all more critical to make sure kids of this generation understand the severity.
It really is a shame, but this almost seems more important to talk about these days than road safety. There is nothing more horrifying to any parents out there than having your children being taken away from you in the blink of an eye with absolutely nothing you can do. Just the thought of this literally brings chills down my spine.
This is a pretty sensitive subject however and just like everything else I have talked about, should be approached with caution. You really want to make sure you emphasis how important stranger danger is to understand, but you don’t want to terrify your kids into never leaving your house or having a disdain towards any adult that tries to talk to them.
Check out that link for a general overview of what to expect and what to talk about because this topic could have a whole page dedicated to it but because we never focused on it too much at the village, I didn’t want to go into too much detail but wanted to address it.
In addition to road safety and along the same lines, a huge thing that we focused our attention on and made sure that every child was engaged and interactive with is the enormous responsibility that comes with learning to ride a bike.
Think about how excited you were when you were 14 or 15 and getting closer and closer to the day that you reached the age of getting your driver’s license. If you don’t have kids, you might not remember what this feeling is like but let me tell you first hand that this level of excitement for young teenagers is the same sort of emotions and feelings that young children get when they are getting close to the age of learning to ride a bike.
There is a huge responsibility for both parents, and the children, in regards to safety on the road when riding a bike. We actually had official police officers teach this course at the village and they taught certain lessons in ways that the kids could relate to and have fun with, but with a level of seriousness and authority that the kids really understood that this wasn’t something to be taken lightly.
It is important to make sure you still keep that innocent excitement alive in your children when talking about bike safety and to not scare them away from the whole concept, but in a way that they know this is a huge responsibility and can be taken away at any time if they aren’t taking it as seriously as they should be.
Back when I was a full time worker, a lot of parents would often ask when is the appropriate time to start teaching children lessons about safety. Even now I have a lot of friends who are new parents come to me and ask me when is it appropriate to start talking to them about serious issues like car safety and things of that nature.
This is a very important topic of discussion and in my own personal opinion, I really don’t think it is ever too early to start talking about safety if it is done appropriately and with care.
When I say with care, I mean in a way that the child will full understand the severity and purpose of what you are saying, but making absolutely sure that you are not frightening them. You don’t want to scare your kids in a way that they will be afraid to go outside and be a kid, but you want them to understand why you are telling them what you are and that they understand exactly what you are trying to say.
You don’t want your kid to be afraid of the world but you want them to be aware of the world and the potential for danger out there.
This is a very important and sensitive subject matter and should be taken with a grain of salt and a little bit of common sense as well. No child is the same and some may be ready to learn and comprehend earlier than others and you need to be aware of such differences.
When trying to educate young children on safety issues, it is important to implement different ways in that they can actually relate to and understand instead of just introducing completely foreign concepts and ideas to them.
Something that we did in our safety classes with our kids and was a main focus that I really loved, was having a replica model of our actual city made up of toy buildings and cars. When we did this, we made it fun for them and had some of the playgrounds and other spots around the town that our kids had actually been to and could relate to.
When they saw a small version of the actual city that they lived in, it immediately made it fun and relate able which always makes learning much more fun and retain able. Something that most classes or lessons do it simply hand out a pamphlet or book to kids and expect them to read up on different tactics on how to practice safety and let’s be honest, you just can’t expect kids to hold all of that information in at such a young age.
As I have mentioned before, my husband is the proud owner of a tree care company and it is an extremely dangerous job. Our children are getting to the age where they are asking about his job and all of the tools that we have in our garage and we use smaller toys that replicate his equipment to teach them about what they are used for and how dangerous they can actually be. It is important to teach kids in way that they can actually relate to and understand.
We covered a lot during my time of working for the safety village and I could write a whole book on the subjects that we did but unfortunately being a full time mother is taking up the majority of my time so this will have to do until I find a little bit more free time
One of the most dangerous and yet common things that happen to children are accidents involving cars and traffic. This is so sad because it is something that is so preventable and is absolutely devastating to any family who has been the victim of an automobile accident.
This is where we used the majority of our toys and games to teach kids road safety because what kids doesn’t enjoy playing with toy cars? Another thing that we found to be extremely effective in regards to teaching kids on road safety is bringing in either puppets or creating some kind of character that a child would love. Cartoons have been very effective and we would often have police and other public officials come in and teach them the rules of the road in ways that they knew were serious, yet light enough to keep all of the children s attention.
These methods can apply to anything and are guaranteed to be more effective than popping in a boring educational video that will hold a child’s attention for mere minutes before they are off playing with their car toys. This is where you take these toys that the kids already want to play with and apply them to different ways that will teach them to be safe.
The idea of teaching children important life lessons is something that my husband and I take with us and apply to our every day lives.
Let me preface this by saying that no, I am not one of those mothers who stare out their front windows and watch their children’s every move and chase down teenagers who might be going a few miles over the speed limit in our neighborhood. But I do take the idea of teaching kids safety very seriously and my husband and I both agree on the importance of it. We take a lot of the practices that I learned and taught at Rotary Village and apply them to our own lives at home.
For example, my husband is the owner of a tree service company with 3 separate locations and growing every day (I am so proud of you, honey!). Not a lot of people are aware of this, but tree service is actually among the growing list of the most dangerous jobs in America for several reasons, but I will get into more detail about that later on.
I bring this up now because we don’t necessarily try to put blinders on our children and paint the world into this harmless place with no consequences. Now that our children have gotten a little older we explain everything in as much detail as we feel comfortable going in but we do it in ways that make them understand and keep them interested. They have fun with our exercises and I know they are retaining what we tell them.
So now that you have a little background on where I came from and how I ended up back on here, I will start talking about what actually went on at Rotary Safety Village and what some of the exercises we did with the children.
Now who doesn’t remember and love this guy?
A huge focus on a lot of the teaching that we did back at the village was emphasizing the importance of safety with traffic, cars, and being outside in general. Now picture yourself being 5 years old in basically what amounts to be a day camp filled with other kids your age and adults take out books and pass them out to all the kids. These books are meant to teach you about safety and different rules of the real world. How long do you think your little 5 year old attention span could hold onto any information?
Not very long, and we understood this fact and didn’t try to kid ourselves otherwise. We made sure to keep their attention when doing our lessons and activities for the day by keeping our toys stocked with new toys as often as we could and taking out any broken or old toys and replacing them.
Our kids didn’t even know they were in a safety village class and we always made games that were fun for both the kids, and us adults as well.