Sunday, September 3, 2017

An Ounce of Preparation...

So along with our math and reading and writing, this year, I made sure to make a note that I want to work on life skills. Some of those are things that any parent, no matter how they school, are teaching. But other things can be avoided. If you have kids who are worriers, talking to them about potential issues can be tricky. Fires. People who may want to hurt them in some way. Getting lost. Getting trapped. When are you scaring them, and when are you preparing them?

I was chatting with a few people in a mom group online about how to approach these topics, and some were adamant that not all of them were really necessary (to be fair, this particular contingent were parents of babies who are facing none of these actual issues). Why talk to them about getting lost if you can't imagine letting them out of your sight? Why talk to them about "tricky people" if you will always be close by? Why teach them how to unbuckle/get out of the car on their own if you can't fathom ever leaving them there?

I remember talking with my Dad once about insurance. I forget why. I think I was still in high school, which makes me think that it probably stemmed from the expenses of owning a car.

Basically, he told me that insurance is something you invest in with the hope of never "getting your money's worth". You have homeowner's insurance even if you lock your house. You have car insurance even if you're a safe driver. You have medical insurance even if you're healthy. You faithfully pay those premiums, all while praying that you never get any money in return - in fact, you take an active role in ensuring that you won't need to. You secure your house, you follow the rules of the road, and you take care of your body.

But when it all falls apart, you have a safety net.

Sometimes the best parenting is planning for when something falls apart, even while doing your very best to make sure it doesn't.

I've started talking to the girls about what happens if they lose me in a crowd or don't know where I am. At a store, in a crowd, wherever. I've taught them my phone number, and I've taught them who to approach (someone in a uniform or a mom with kids).

I've talked to them about what to do if I get hurt and they need to help me. I don't intend to fall down the stairs and knock myself out, or for anything else to happen, but I recently knew someone who was my age, healthy, and just had a mini stroke. That's scary. They know how to call 911 and where on my phone to find the other numbers to call.

They know how to avoid fires, but they also know to get out of the house if there's a fire and get help.

I certainly don't plan for them to be in the car without me, but we had a scare where Reagan misunderstood directions, got in Adam's car and buckled, and then couldn't unbuckle when she realized no one else was following her out. That taught us to teach the girls what to do if you're trapped in the car.

Schools do fire drills and lockdown drills. They aren't practicing, thinking that they'll use them and all that time will be "worth it". They teach it because of that teeny tiny chance that that information could save lives. It's pretty simple really.

Who do you look for to help? What do you do?

This doesn't mean you're planning to forget them, leave the stove on, or let go of them in a crowded situation. You're giving them tools to help themselves.

Because when you think about it, having a plan makes the scary stuff a lot less scary.
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