Original Source: www.griffinmacclean.org
During a month when family togetherness is emphasized and that chunk of time known as "the Holidays" begins, it makes sense for us to think about preserving the safety of our children. Many of us give even more thought than usual to how much we love and appreciate our families and our friends, particularly the younger ones among them, for whom we are busily shopping for gifts or preparing special sweet treats. Today's youngsters, who will inherit this world from us, are tomorrow's leaders, who will use their varied gifts to shape it. Keeping them safe and protected ensures a brighter future for all.
What are some concrete ways you can acknowledge Child Safety and Protection Month? If there are any young people in your life, whether they be your children, your students, your neighbors, or your friends' kids, consider taking at least one small step to promote their safety. Remember that, just as there are seemingly endless ways for children to be hurt, so are there equally numerous ways for them to stay safe. Simply think of at least one of these ways, and share it with a child you know. Focus on the positive (staying safe) rather than the negative (dwelling on the scary and bad things that might happen). After all, you don't want to create an anxiety-ridden child who lives in fear, but an empowered one who knows how to preserve his or her safety!
Here are some ideas:
- - Talk about kitchen safety. Since so many adults are hard at work in the kitchen during this time of year, and kids are eager to help out with food preparation, it's a perfect time to tell children how maintain a safe environment in the kitchen. Share important tips such as: how to properly hold and use a knife to chop vegetables; how to avoid burns by using protective mitts; how to test meats and baked goods to make sure they are thoroughly cooked; and how to properly store food. Using real, everyday circumstances to teach kids about safety is particularly effective, because it doesn't feel so much like a lesson.
- - Lots of adults are imbibing copious amounts of alcohol during the holidays. Use this time as an opportunity to talk to a teenager about drinking. Are the adults in his or her life setting a good or a bad example? As an adult, what constitutes safe drinking, and what doesn't? What are the dangers of binge drinking? What is the best way for adults handle transportation when they go out and plan to drink? How might overconsumption of alcohol adversely affect the body? These are all matters that can be discussed with teens in a natural way that doesn't seem like a lecture, even over the dinner table.
- - The holidays are full of travel, and many young people, particularly those with divorced parents, may end up flying solo to visit relatives in distant locales. Such situations provide ideal opportunities to talk about traveling safely. Teach young travelers not to go anywhere with an unfamiliar person, to keep their personal belongings with them at all times, to ask only airline personnel for help if they are in need of assistance, and to stick to their itinerary.
Don't hesitate to use your own imagination to come up with ideas and seize opportunities for promoting child safety this month, and keep the young people in your life protected!