You’ve baby-proofed everything in the house, invested in the proper car seat for your youngster and got him his very first bicycle helmet. Now he’s old enough that you can start to introduce some basic safety lessons. Before you know it he’ll know all them all by heart and you’ll be naming him safety chief of the house — if only you could get him to stop climbing trees like a little monkey!
Introduce fire safety with a friendly fireman craft. Start with a toilet paper roll covered in red construction paper and make construction paper cutouts of a face, arms, legs and a fireman’s hat for your youngster to glue on the roll. Voila — his first little fireman craft. You can help him make a fire truck from a cardboard box for his fireman to ride too. Now that you’ve introduced him to firefighters, teach him about home fire safety to help keep him safe. Since kids love loud noises, start off by testing the fire alarm so he can hear the noise it makes and then work together to make a fire escape route for the home. Practice your escape route as a family on a regular basis so you know he’ll be prepared for action if the need ever arises.
It’s important for youngsters to begin to recognize strangers but it can be difficult for young children to understand this concept on their own. To help, make up some flashcards with pictures of family members, friends and strangers and help your toddler identify which pictures are of people he knows and which ones are considered strangers. To reinforce the stranger lesson, read the story of Little Red Riding Hood and talk about how the main character could stay safe. Make the lesson light with a puppet craft so your kiddo can play along next time you read the story.
Teach your youngster about the importance of staying safe in a vehicle with some simple coloring activities. Pull out a car safety coloring book and talk about car seat safety while he turns the pages into his own artwork. He’s still in a car seat right now, so you’re the one doing the buckling up, but you can still introduce him to the importance of safety belts so he understands why he has to wear his seat belt. Once you’ve covered seat belt basics, it’s time to take the lesson out of the car and onto the sidewalk. Start with a walk around the neighborhood and do the “stop and look for cars” routine at every crossing. It’s sometimes difficult to remember, but keep it up every time you’re out together because he’ll learn best from your example. Before long, he’ll show off what he’s learned by reminding you to stop and look on your walk.
Youngsters are usually fascinated with police officers, which gives you the opportunity for an exciting safety lesson. Start off a police officer lesson with a friendly policeman toilet roll craft to join his fireman friend. If he’s not ready to put away the glue sticks and crayons just yet, that’s OK. Turn a piece of blue construction paper into a police officer hat for your little guy and make a matching badge from a yellow sheet to complete the costume accessories. Now it’s time for a simple discussion about all the important jobs a police officer has, from helping lost boys and girls find their way home to catching bad guys and enforcing the rules of the road.
While he loves to splash around in it and it makes mud pie-making so entertaining, he probably has no idea just how dangerous water can be. You certainly don’t want to scare him but now is the time to explain the importance of water safety with some simple activities. Start by making a chart of different water related pictures, such as a child swimming with a life jacket with his parents, kids playing near the pool by themselves and a child playing with the hot water tap in the bathtub. Help your youngster circle the good activities and put an “X” through the unsafe ones. Talk about each activity so he understands the reasoning behind each choice. Make a day trip to a local recreation center for an open or family swim and introduce your kiddo to all of the flotation devices used in pool safety. Bring Dad along on the trip for some one-on-one time with your youngster while you take a leisurely soak in the hot tub to reward yourself for a job well done.