We are very pleased that Melinda Tripp, author of “What Should you Do? Helping Children Protect Themselves in the Twenty-First Century” has agreed to be our guest blogger this week.
Melinda is an American teacher, writer, mentor and child safety advocate. She has taught children, aged from 2 to 13 since 1979 and taught parents, teachers, and students through Abduction Prevention Education and Safety assemblies since 1994. Over 100,000 children have been touched by her message of safety and empowerment.
We begin teaching children, quite early, how to stay safe. We tell children, “The fire is hot, keep back, you could get burned.” We teach them to use a railing when walking down steps, so they don’t fall. Later it is necessary to begin teaching a more general safety plan, with tailored life lessons in safety. This will give them an umbrella plan that they will use to help them through the situations that will confront them during their lives.
The lessons taught will be repeated, honed, added to, and practiced for ages 5-13. For parents and teachers situational safety will continue to be a necessary part of teaching as their children and students grow. They can teach children the skills they need to take on the bad behaviours of others (from young bullying on the playground through the underworld of human trafficking) and situations that are potentially threatening, allowing them to use their plan to act quickly and safely. If a child is constantly aware of their surroundings, they will be on the lookout for situations that can be avoided.
A child who is in a safe place with their trusted adults is on what I call green light, and can relax and safely “tune out” the world around them. All people, of any age, who are out and about in the world need to be aware of the world around them, people and the behaviours around them. This is what we call yellow light, a time to be on alert, and prepared to act. What then does Red light look like? This is when someone is actively getting to a safe place. They have acted quickly and used their observation skills, so they can tell a trusted adult; are able to describe, people, areas, situations and objects readily, so that the trusted adult.
Buy some peace of mind today, we can’t control everything, but we can be in charge of teaching our children to become safer people with, What Should You Do? Helping Children Protect Themselves in the Twenty-First Century , Tate Publishing 2010. You can be empowering your child with simple, and easy to use strategies tomorrow.
Turn a child’s “fight time into flight time,” making your child just too much trouble to take.