Just because you have the home-front decked out with custom cabinet locks, outlet covers, baby gates, table corners and furniture straps doesn’t mean that your little one shouldn’t learn about safety. Older toddlers and preschoolers are ready, and able, to follow your home safety rules. Teaching the keep-safe laws of the land can help your child to avoid unwanted incidents and dangerous situations.
Visual Safety Lessons
Your 2 year old probably isn’t ready for a lengthy lecture on in-home safety. While these lessons are vitally important, many young children just don’t have the patience or attention span to hear your full-on monologue about the dangers that lurk in every corner. Instead of talking at your little one, make the lesson short, sweet and to the point. Give your toddler a mini-list of the rules, starting with the most important. Use simple language that she will understand such as, “No touching the stove” or, “No touching the TV cord.” Preschoolers are able to understand consequences for actions as well as more complex rules. Add in a “This is what happens” section to each rule, leaving out the graphic details. For example, tell your preschooler that if she touches the stove she could burn her hand and have to go to the hospital.
Don’t count on your little learner to remember each and every rule that you give him about home safety. While your safety rules read no-brainers to an adult, young children can quickly forget what they should and shouldn’t do. Make a few visual reminders to keep your child’s safety learning on track. Download and print out stop signs or other similar pages from the web. Have your child color them in with red markers or crayons. Hang them on cabinets and other areas around the house that your child shouldn’t go into. When he sees one of his signs, start up a discussion and ask him if he can tell you why it is important to stay away.
Supervision and Modeling
Supervision is a must, even with the most super of safety lessons. Never assume that your toddler or preschooler is a master of safety rules and leave her unattended. Take your supervisory duties as an opportunity to act as a model for the child. Instead of only telling her safe ways to behave, combine it with a show. For example, if the oven is on, avoid going near the appliance. Add in a simple statement such as, “I don’t want to touch the oven now. It’s hot and I could burn my hand if I get near it.
Slip a safety lesson into your child’s at-home coloring projects. Choose a home safety coloring book or look for free downloadable coloring pages online to print. Look for pages that include different areas of the home such as the kitchen, bathroom, bedroom and living room. Don’t forget about specific dangers such as fire safety. Visit a fire safety authority’s site such as the U.S. Fire Administration for quality kids’ templates. Encourage your child to color in the pages. After he is done coloring, hang his artwork around the house to keep the safety discussion flowing.