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Is Today's Child Safe?

By Linda

With society continually changing, how we teach our children to be safe is always changing too. No longer are the days when are parents told us to stay out until the lights came on outside. Those were the days before cell phones, personal computers and the ability to reach someone with a simple press of a button.

Long ago, one of my Sensei's told me that as we as humans became smarter, we lost some of our animal instincts. You remember what those are. That nagging voice in your subconscious that alerts you to the fact that somethings wrong or there's potential danger ahead. Now, most of us have no idea what's going on around us because we're too busy taking selfies or posting funny quotes on Facebook. Not only are we more oblivious to the dangers around us than before, we have lost even more of that animal instinct. Unfortunately, I'd like to say there's going to be an app developed to warn us of potential danger but of course that's a bit far fetched even for this techie world.

So what hasn't changed?

The good news is that we can still teach our kids to be safe even if technology is not available to them. I don't know how many 5 and 6 year olds are running around with cell phones but I'd have to bet the margin is pretty nonexistent. So what can we do as parents to teach our kids some safety basics?

Teach them that in case of an emergency, they know how to spell their full names, they know their home address and their parents cell phone numbers. Surprisingly, I ask children under the age of 8 to recite this all the time and I can honestly say that many don't know this.

Kids should be taught who to call if their parent isn't available whether that's grandma, the next door neighbor or the trusted family friend.

Tell them NEVER to go ANYWHERE with ANYONE at ANYTIME! If someone approaches them, tell them to turn and run. Yell something like "Fire" or "Your Not My Mom or Dad". Telling them to yell help unfortunately makes many people turn away nowadays. So the important issue is to have them yell out something effective.

Predators look for victims. Teach your kids to speak up if they're afraid. If a child just starts yelling, it will scare potential predators away or at least make them think twice about approaching your child.

Have children always travel in groups. Children are less likely to be approached if there is more than one child present.

NEVER approach a car. If someone from a car calls out to them, tell them to run home and tell you immediately. This is important because it may prevent these people from doing the same thing to some other child a few blocks away.

Tell your kids that adults should never ask children questions unless their parents are present. Many times predators try to strike up conversations with their intended targets. Once again, tell them to run and tell a responsible adult what happened.

Teach your kids to protect themselves! Martial Arts lessons are a great way to empower your children, help them find their voice, and of course defend themselves if needed.

There are many other ideas for parents to teach their kids safety but the main point to remember is that if we teach our children to listen to that inner voice and trust those instincts that we're born with, they will be much safer in the long run!

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