Safety training and education

Little explorers

From the time kids are born they have an urge to know about things, to reach out, explore, seek new challenges and generate innovative responses. Kids are curious investigators and that is precisely how they learn. Their questions feed into a bottomless well: Why is this the only way to do it? What will happen if I do it that way? Why am I being asked not to do this? Ignorance is not bliss. The lack of awareness irks them and they are forever ill at ease until their quest for answers is accomplished. Thought, emotion and action; all three in children are motivated by an uncontrollable craving to figure out things for themselves by themselves.

Undue unnecessary risks

Most parents agree that children take undue risks; however instead of offering explanation, they assume that their little ones are too young to understand. Softer the clay, easier it is to mold. Few toddlers and schoolers obey their parents and teachers blindly. Children need to be told in the way they like to listen. Early learning sinks to depths of their unconscious and subconscious mind. Children never reject fun filled erudition. They are not against learning. They just abhor the boredom and commanding process that accompanies it.

Parents scold but don’t explain

Kids live on a roller coaster adventure; obviously they end up in unfavorable situations. Running home from the garden with a bleeding nose, gagging on account of swallowing a seemingly edible object, electrocution accidents by sticking pens into plug sockets, desire to reach out into the cooking pan while their mother is not looking, an urge to pick the rose form the heavy crystal vase lying at that height; these are all non mystical accidents. Punishment is hardly categorized as a behavior modification technique. The ability to teach children with interpersonal and experiential feedback is desirable. When they are refused something on grounds of inaptness, they expect explanation for the inappropriateness.

From should to want

It is important for parents and teachers to know what children learn and where they gain that knowledge. Part of intrapersonal intelligence entails self-care and self-preservation while interpersonal acumen involves taking care of others. On the road, playground, classroom or home, children need to become responsible. They should learn to take care of themselves and nurture people and their environment too. It is OK to fall but it is also important to rise and become more alert the next time around. Children are constantly thinking and planning their next adventure. Their curiosity gets the better of them and lands them in risky situations.

Direction not ‘directions’

What kids often do is developmentally appropriate. They are exploring and wanting to play and actually having a very good time. The way adults react is most often not as appropriate. Adults like to give children intimidating ‘directions’ (commands), while children truly need gentle ‘direction’ (guidance). They are always looking for things to reach out to, so instead of getting upset that they’re messing the symmetry of their room or their life; it is essential to give their young explorer word associations to help them sort what they may do and what not. We attempt to do this by explaining to parents how they can add a whole bunch of things they may freely explore (puzzles and jigsaw and board games for instance) and things they must avoid (plug points, cooking ranges, ovens etc.). Parents can create specific signals like:

  • “green signal” for safe things which children are allowed to freely reach out to
  • “red signal” for objects off-limits which they must never ever touch or explore
  • “yellow signal” for faces or pets which need additional care during handling
  • More innovative ones for dangerous things (e.g., stop sign, accident etc.)

MINDFRAMES: Reframing safety for kids

Children often lack the skills to protect themselves. It is our responsibility, as parents and teachers, to safeguard children and to teach them the skills to be safe. Every home and school should teach children about safety and protection measures. We aim to help schools take an active interest in children, listen to their concerns and offer them support through interactive fun filled experiences. The more we guide them, the quicker they will learn. They will of course make mistakes, but it is our responsibility to raise responsible children, hence schools are the best place to impart safety pearls to them.

Understand children

Childhood is a fact-finding adventure. New discoveries, fresh injuries, latest questions and the tardiest arguments; all are part of the growth process. It is wise to realize the predictability of trouble so that we can be better prepared.

  • Children are too adventurous
  • They want to stimulate themselves
  • Their search for meaning is deep
  • They like to try new exciting things
  • They don’t deliberately mess up
  • They are just attempting to learn

Feed their enthusiasm

While safety is of prime concern, the expression of that concern must be sensitive else it is not taken well and unwanted behavior continues.

  • Allow children to be investigative
  • Assure the best safety you can
  • Do not dwindle their enthusiasm
  • Accept that they will make errors
  • Let them fall and rise, themselves
  • You cannot guard them forever
  • They have to learn and internalize
  • They need your support always
  • You need to know how to give it!

Teachers’ duty

Children and their little hands seem to fit into almost everything they must stay away from. Safety must not be learned only from mistakes. Parents (who are educators) and teachers must keep a watchful eye.

  • Always keep a very observant eye
  • Help to inculcate sound judgment
  • Teach them but don’t order them
  • Help them learn by your example
  • Respect their exploratory instincts
  • Always be willing to guide them

Our goals for children

This workshop on safety education is designed for kindergarten and primary school children to help them internalize safe practices

  • An interactive learning experience
  • Common safety issues discussed
  • Children ‘teach’ the other children
  • Experiential tasks are encouraged
  • Specific goals are set for children
  • Past results have been promising