Miss Heather presented this topic on The Rhode Show – click here to watch!
The safety of your child is the most important part of being a parent. It is the most important job of a teacher and caregiver and it takes an entire community to maintain the safety of its children. For many parents, the stress of sending their child to daycare or school is less about separation and more about the reassurance that it is a safe and secure environment. Safety starts with the parents on day one, but as the child gets older and can comprehend more information, it is important to have effective conversations with children about the ways they can protect themselves and remain safe at all times.
For the younger toddlers and early preschoolers, conversations are more limited but a message can still be conveyed. Whether it is in a parking lot or the playground, young children are capable of understanding their need to stay safe. It is important that parents and educators instill this sense of security that leads children to their own sense of self-protection.
These early conversations should start with enforcing boundaries and teaching the ways to ask for help. Children can understand what is expected of them at a very young age. Parents can begin to teach children about unsafe environments, like a parking lot or road, by enforcing rules in a positive way. Holding the hands of an adult or sibling seems like an easy request, but starting with these small rules at younger ages will make learning about safety easier to build upon.
Children should know where they can and cannot go in public places, at home and at school. These boundaries avoid areas that may present greater dangers, and many children may understand their expectations before understanding the need for them. From there, as the children become more capable of understanding, parents can introduce the reasons behind taking such care to avoid those areas.
Children should also understand that help can always be given. Educators and parents should always remind a child that they are present to assist and help in any way necessary. As they get older, they will learn about avoiding strangers. But as younger children, asking for help should be the first step to teaching them about protecting themselves from dangerous situations by seeking the assistance of an adult. As they grow up and start to attend school by bus or attend a public atmosphere, this knowledge of seeking an adult will help them avoid bullying, bad friendships and challenging situations.
A child will go through stages of a development that make them seem introverted at times and expressive and over-friendly at times. These stages are normal but the key to keeping children safe starts with them. Educators and parents have the obligation to allow children their own safe spaces and safe places. A child who wants to be alone should be given every opportunity to do so. As soon as they understand that the area around their body is their own and should remain a safe place, they can prevent dangerous situations and avoid injury by maintaining this distance. It is important for children to know what actions are inappropriate and what they should do when they feel threatened. In school, teachers allow plenty of safe places. It is important that the home maintain its position as the most comfortable and safe place for a child. When this happens, they are more likely to meet goals, be more expressive and convey concerns to their parents as they grow up.
This blog was written by Mark Sullivan. Mr. Mark has been a Certified Teacher at The Children’s Workshop since 2011. He has worked at five different locations in all classrooms. Mark is pursuing his certifications for Lead Teacher and Director as well as his degree in Education and Management. He lives in Providence, RI.