Keeping your children safe is one of your most important jobs as a parent. Whether you are worried about them becoming injured while performing a dangerous activity, want to protect them from strangers, or teach them how to be safe in general, there are plenty of ways to educate your children about safety.
Teaching Children Safety
Brainstorm some situations where your child might need to worry about safety. Focus on one scenario a week so that your child does not get too overwhelmed and can absorb what you are teaching him.
Read a children's book about how to handle a situation safely. There are many age appropriate books that discuss safety procedures or describe them through a story. Younger children may enjoy "The Berenstain Bears Learn About Strangers" by Jan and Stan Berenstain. Children between third and sixth grade may enjoy "What Would You Do?: A Kid's Guide to Tricky and Sticky Situations", by Linda Schwartz, Sherri M. Butterfield, and Beverly Armstrong, which discusses common emergencies children may encounter and makes suggestions for handling them.
Discuss the story. Ask your child if he thinks the main character reacted well and what he would do. Talk about when your child might encounter a similar situation.
Role play the situation or play a "what if" game and see how your child says he would react. Give your child some scenarios and let him tell you the best way to handle the situation.
Create a book with your child that lists the situation and how he should handle it. If your child is young, let him draw pictures to help show the steps.
Create a teachable moment to reinforce what your child learned. For example, if a stranger comes to your front door, let your child see you send him away. If someone gets a cut, let your child watch you clean it and apply a bandage. Show your child how to answer the phone and what to say if you are not home. Indicate that he should say that you are busy right now, instead of indicating you are not home. Use safety procedures in the course of your daily life and call them to your child's attention. For example, look both ways when you cross the street and call it to your child's attention.
Encourage your child to let you know where he is going at all times and make yourself available to answer his calls. When your child is old enough, have him carry a cell phone for emergencies.
Constantly reinforce the safety procedures you have taught your child.
Let older children read the books themselves or use current event articles to stimulate a discussion about safety procedures.
Remember, there is no substitute for adult supervision even if you teach your child to be careful.