It isn’t easy to teach children about something like household safety. With so many dos, don’ts and warnings to listen to, they can easily get bored and become distracted by the first toy, cartoon or other alternative within easy reach!
It is worth persevering though, as one million children under fifteen are admitted to A&E after accidents in the home every year, and you can’t always be around to prevent them. Your child could potentially wander off and get themselves into a sticky situation if your back is turned for even a second, so teaching them how to avoid hazards themselves is essential.
But how can you make these lessons fun and engaging?
Use interactive activities
What could be more fun for a child than an interactive activity that reacts to their actions? Things like our interactive kitchen safety tool aren’t just engaging, but encourage independent thinking by letting children click on the things they perceive to be dangerous. With a little guidance and explanation from you, the facts incorporated into these tests will sink in in no time.
Download educational activity packs
The internet is full of educational materials and great activity packs centred on child safety that you can either send off for, or print off straight from your computer. They can include everything from mazes and checklists to quizzes and colouring in sheets – things that feel more like rainy day activities than boring old learning materials!
Invent safety games
Children love games, so why not turn household safety lessons into them? This removes the perception of safety lessons as boring and makes them much more enjoyable. For example, you could create cards with pictures on them of common household hazards, and get your children to tap a card every time they think it depicts a potential danger.
You could also create a kind of ‘Safety Detectives’ game, giving your children a scavenger hunt-style checklist of hazards that they need to find around the home. Accompany them along the way, asking them why they think each thing is a hazard and filling them in on why each one is dangerous.
Let them play ‘grown up’
Children love to mimic their parents; it’s partly why they love trying to plug things into sockets without plug covers! You can turn this mimicry to your advantage though, especially when it comes to smoke alarm testing.
In a recent survey we discovered that just 9% of respondents tested their smoke alarm once a week, as recommended, so getting your little ones involved could be as beneficial to you as it is to them! Designate a day of the week and time of the day to be ‘Testing Time’ (showing your child that it’s an important event) then let them press the smoke alarm button. This schedule and involvement gives them something to get excited about and, you never know, they could even end up reminding you that it’s Testing Time.
Don’t forget to tell them what the smoke alarm is for and why they need to test it too. If you do, they will know exactly what is happening if it goes off and will be able to make much safer decisions.
Utilise their toys
Children’s’ toys are more useful than you might think – play phones are a great way to teach children about dialling 999, while fake kitchens are perfect for teaching them about hazards like pans, hot drinks and ovens. By using the toys as props you can show your curious children exactly what you mean, and even place red stickers on each hazard to serve as reminders.
Don’t skimp on praise
We love being praised for good behaviour even as adults, so it goes without saying that praising your little ones for their efforts and progress is a must-do. When they show that they are learning and making a conscious effort to steer clear of household hazards, reward them with plenty of congratulations. You could even create a chart, place a gold star on it whenever your children demonstrate their newfound knowledge, and reward them with a little something special when they reach a certain number of stars.
We hope these suggestions have been helpful in giving you an idea about how to make safety super! With your little ones on board, there is double the chance of making your home as safe as humanly possible.
Photo by Juhan Sonin / Copyright