Teaching your child to be aware of his or her surroundings is key to keeping them safe, especially when you’re not around. Situational awareness is an important skill for every child to learn. The Mace website shares this advice:
- Don’t give kids a long list of things to watch for. They won’t remember it, and may ignore it because it’s too overwhelming. Focus on the basics—strangers, cars, and so forth.
- Try some activities. Pick out something to look for when you’re walking or driving, like out-of-state license plates. This gets kids in the habit of looking around and noticing things.
- Watch people. When you’re at a mall or amusement park, ask your child to pick a person and describe him or her. How tall are they? What are they wearing? How old do they think the person is? What kind of work might they do? Again, this helps sharpen their observational skills.
- Teach contact information. Make sure your small children know basic information—their address and phone numbers, their parents’ full names, and so forth. Also, establish who they should and shouldn’t share the information with—a teacher at school, for example, but not a stranger on the street.
As a parent, one of your top priorities is keeping your children safe. Situational awareness is the key to this. Situational awareness means recognizing potential risks in any given situation and taking steps to avoid them or mitigate their effects if necessary. This important skill isn’t something that can be taught by just anyone—it needs to be learned from parents who are committed to teaching it correctly over time, with patience and understanding. Teaching your child situational awareness will help keep them safe when you aren't around!