By Brian Duff
How to Prepare Children without Scaring Them!
Do you know how to prepare children for something bad without scaring them? Just like their parents, children are often scared of the unknown or unfamiliar. Because of their fear, it’s important that you take the time to explain the dangers they may encounter. If you do, your children will become more familiar with their vulnerabilities. This increased familiarity will help them to be less afraid. As they become less afraid, they will also become safer, more secure, and better prepared.
Avoid Scare Words and Tactics
When discussing various problems with your children, it is best to avoid scare words and tactics. Scare words and tactics may cause anxiety and fear, which take away from the learning experience. For example, avoid telling your child, “You’ll die if…” Also, since child abduction is often a concern, try to avoid phrases such as “The man will get you…” Instead, try to think about the intent of what you are saying. If it’s to make a scary point to convince your child not to do something, it may be better left unsaid. Remember, the goal is to prepare children for something bad without scaring them.
Use Positive Reinforcement
Instead of using scare words and tactics, focus on using positive reinforcement. You can achieve positive reinforcement by using simple terms to explain what makes a particular situation unsafe. When explaining why they shouldn’t speak with strangers, try telling them it’s because mommy doesn’t know the person. Doing so can establish a real, practical but non-scary reason in your child’s mind for not speaking with strangers.
Create a Plan
Once your child understands the lesson you are teaching, have a discussion with them about what to do if he or she finds himself or herself in that situation. For example, the National Crime Prevention Council suggests teaching children “No, Go, Yell, Tell” (NGYT). NGYT is a course of action for children to follow when a stranger approaches. If approached, they should say “No,” then “Go” (run away), “Yell” as loud as possible, and lastly “Tell” an adult.
Act It All Out
After teaching your children what to do, role playing the situation with them reinforces everything. By acting out the lesson, you are not only reinforcing it, but you are also doing it in a way that is fun and not scary. So, play the part of the stranger and have your child act out the NGYT process. Have him or her act it out with another adult playing the same role, so it adds to the overall fun. Make it more fun by having everyone overemphasize their actions. Doing so will help your child retain the information and preparing for when a stranger approaches.
You Set the Example
An important point to remember is that you are the model for your child. Therefore, if you regularly speak with strangers, your kids will pick up on this and think it is okay. However, if you do have to talk with a stranger, you should explain why it is okay in that particular situation. Maybe it is okay because the stranger is also a mommy in the shopping mall with her children. Perhaps it’s okay because you and your child were together rather than alone when the conversation occurred. Maybe the stranger is a uniformed police officer or firefighter, who are good people.
Impress Your Family’s Safety and Security Values
Lastly, it is important to impress your family’s safety and security values and rules upon your child. As you do, make the most of non-scary, teachable moments to reinforce your lessons. Take advantage of the everyday opportunities to explain and teach things to your children. Doing so will help your child’s sense of security, safety, and preparedness evolve as he or she grows. It will also provide them with the foundation they need when they’re older to pass on your safety rules to their children.
Teaching Your Child Takes Thought, Time, and Dedication
In the end, learning how to prepare children for something bad without scaring them isn’t hard. It just takes thought, time, and dedication. Think about ways to prevent your lesson from being scary. Once you’ve thought it through, take the time to explain the issue. Reinforce your lesson by acting out the scene with your child in a fun way. Lastly, stay dedicated to finding new ways to reinforce lessons that will lead to a safe, secure, and prepared life. When you do, you will help prepare children for something bad without scaring them.
Lastly, never forget, you’re just one prep away.
If you have any other information, suggestions, or thoughts on how to prepare children for something bad without scaring them, please leave a comment below.
Stay safe, secure and prepared.
By Brian Duff
Got Improved Situational Awareness?
Improved situational awareness is not hard to achieve. It can also be a fun and reassuring process that leaves you more confident and ready to deal with all of life’s challenges. Read through the five steps below and give them some thought. When you’re ready, start putting the steps into practice. Don’t forget that the sooner you start, the sooner you’ll lead a more safe, secure, and prepared life. If you get hung up or have any questions, please feel free to email. I’d love to hear from you and help improve your Mind4Survival.
Step 1: “What If?”
As you go about your day, look at things and people around you and ask, “What if?”
…my child becomes ill, and the car won’t start?
…I find an older adult lost and unable to remember where he or she is?
…a car crosses the median headed straight towards me?
…I find myself faced with a significant unexpected expense?
… etc., etc., etc. Keep thinking up new scenarios, and you’ll keep improving.
You can come up with mountains of possibilities. When you’re stumped, turn to the news media for help thinking of new what-if situations. Whether it’s on the Internet, on television, or elsewhere, there is an endless number of possible scenarios out there. These stories are often very unfortunate events for the people impacted by them. However, you can turn someone else’s unfortunate circumstance into a positive learning experience for you and your family.
The second step to the “What If?” process is to think through your response to your question. By thinking through a potential response, you learn to speed up your OODA Loop’s decision-making process. Not only will you improve your decision-making, but you’ll also learn to make more accurate and efficient decisions.
Once you’ve thought through your potential responses, you need to critique those responses. Make mental notes of the points that you think are bad and the points that are good. Then reevaluate your actions, replacing the bad points with new thoughts and ideas.
As you think through all of this, you will begin formulating innate, quick-to-put-in-action responses to potential situations. These responses will continually get better, and you’ll execute them more quickly. This process is the mental pre-planning that leads to improved situational awareness.
Step 2: Story Time
Observe people around you and create stories about them. When you’re making up stories, incorporate what they’re wearing, doing, carrying, etc. As you do this, you will teach yourself to notice each person’s details.
By noticing the details, you’ll learn to be more observant and read people better. When you’re more observant, you’ll see if something is out of place or doesn’t seem right. You will also improve your ability to pick up on a person’s non-verbal communication.
Once you’ve become good at creating and telling a story about one person, add more people to the mix. This time, include information about how they relate to one another, what is happening in their lives, and what their motivations may be within your story.
The more details you notice, the more dynamic your story, and the more your improved situational awareness will prepare you to help yourself or notice someone in need.
Step 3: Make a Plan
Now that you’ve begun asking yourself “What if?” and creating stories about people, it’s time to take action. Taking action means formulating plans to the situations and stories you’re running through in your mind. For some problems, such as a house fire, write them down.
Writing them down, even if it is in simple bullet point format, helps you refine your plan even more. Sometimes writing a plan down provides a visual cue if there is a weakness. It also helps you commit your plan to memory.
Once you have a written or mental plan, share it with your family and friends. Rather than telling them what you’re going to do, pose the scenario to them. Let them say what they would do. They may provide you with an idea you never thought of. Also, by asking someone for their thoughts rather than pushing yours on them, you get their buy-in.
Getting their buy-in helps them to become active and willing participants. When they become active participants, they not only help you sort out your plan, but they increase their situational awareness too. See, you have barely started, and you’re already helping others. That’s totally awesome!
Step 4: Practice Makes Perfect
So, you have your plans, you’ve included others, and you think you’re just about there. Congratulations, you are. You’re on the road to improved situational awareness. Now, it’s time to fine-tune what you’ve done.
Fine tuning your situational awareness is accomplished in a variety of ways. One way is to practice your plans. Another way is to get training in areas that you may be weak.
If you have a home fire plan, go over it with your family and run a fire drill. Remember one thing when practicing your plans and training: crawl, walk, run. The first time you try the plan, choreograph it with everyone and walk through it. Ask questions about the plan so those participating have to think and provide feedback. While they do, others will learn, too.
Next, try the plan at a little faster speed, with less interaction to see how everyone is doing. As you pick up the pace, expect there to be some mistakes. That’s fine because everyone is learning and working to improve.
Finally, run through it at speed. Make it fun. See who can beat their previous time. If they do, praise them and reward yourselves with some family fun.
Remember, this should be a learning experience and something fun. If someone gets an answer wrong or does something incorrectly, you should provide positive reinforcement so they stay interested and engaged. Keep them motivated and excited. When you do, you and those around you will find you all have improved situational awareness.
As you go over all of this and think it through, you may find that you lack experience or ability in some areas. If you do, consider seeking training. Training is a good way to close the gaps in areas that are lacking. Training doesn’t have to be costly. If you want to learn first aid, find a Red Cross course or some other inexpensive resource. If you’re on a tight budget, do a search on YouTube or any number of websites for your topic. Once you have the information and understand what you’re doing, teach it to others. When you teach skills to others, you not only help them, but you help them help you, should you be the person in need.
Step 5: Repeat
Now that you’ve run through everything, start at the beginning again. Think about other possible situations. Work on new solutions to old problems. Take a second to look at your plans. See where you can improve or add more options. As you do, you and everyone involved will have improved situational awareness and will enjoy a more safe, secure, and prepared life.
Lastly, never forget, you’re just one prep away.
If you have any other information, suggestions, or thoughts about situational awareness, please leave a comment below.
Stay safe, secure and prepared.