Sunday, 8 September 2019

Street Smart - Raising Street Smart Kids

We are lucky enough to live in the big city of Toronto.  This means amazing access to transit, public services, art, entertainment, and more.  It also means that there are some unique challenges and things our kids need to be aware of, and that we as parents need to teach them to help foster independence and safety.

The other day, when I was on the bus with the minions, I overheard a dad repeatedly asking his kids if they knew what number bus they were on, where it was going, and other steps on how to get to their destination.  It made me think of all of the little things we teach Molly & Jack to help them gain independence in Toronto.

via Imgur

Here are 15 things you can teach your kid to help them become more street smart, no matter where you live.

  1. No Horseplay On The Subway Platform or Bus Platform, Period. 
  2. The Subway separation rule: if you get on a train your guardian doesn't, get off at the next stop and wait in the red designated waiting area until they come retrieve you.
  3. Pick meeting places in all public areas (from amusement parks to malls and anywhere else you might get separated).
  4. Teach them what to do if they ever come across a needle or weapon (i.e. don't touch it and tell a trusted adult right away).
  5. Teach them your street name, address, and phone number.

    via Web Fail
  6. Talk to them about the adults in your life who are permitted to pick them up from school etc. so they know who may come to them in an emergency (and who wouldn't).
  7. Teach them which neighbours house they can run to if there is ever an emergency at home.
  8. Work on test family fire drills to help them know what to do in case of emergency.
  9. Teach them how to dial 911, and how to know when it is necessary to make the call.
  10. Teach them about traffic signals, right of way, and set a good example yourself (no jaywalking).

    via IMG flip
  11. When you walk with them to routine places, like school, let them lead the way and show you how to get there.
  12. Teach them the names of bus routes and subway stations in your neighbourhood and talk to them about the journey so they can get familiar with reading signs at stations and knowing where to go.
  13. Teach them awareness, when it comes to cars backing out of driveways, a stranger who is sitting in a car in front of the house, and how to note and describe how a person looks.
  14. Teach them where to look for strangers they can trust in an emergency (i.e. person who works at an information booth at a mall, security guard, shop owner etc.)
  15. Talk to them about rules for adults and kids they know and trust (like when should they call a parent to ask permission anyway, when it's okay to keep a secret (when it's a surprise), and when they should tell a trusted about something even though a friend has asked them not to and how it's best to tell when someone's safety is involved.

What rules are you teaching your children to help them navigate their journey from little kid to big kid status?

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