Essential Safety Games To Play With Preschoolers
Susie E. Caron 5/6/16*
I posted this blog first in *2014, but it’s so important to keep kids safe, that I re-post it at least once each year.
If you have young children play these three games with them until you are sure their responses become automatic. Play each game at least 3 times the first week you introduce them. Then repeat occasionally just to ensure their responses.
Children need to play! Did you know that games also benefit their development?
Playing these 3 games with your young children may also help you keep them safe.
Everyone enjoys playing Peek-A-Boo with babies because it makes everyone laugh. This also helps to generate your baby's feelings of health and safety, but there are more reasons.
Peek-A-Boo builds your baby's awareness that objects continue to exist in their environment, even when they cannot see them. This includes YOU. This awareness is also the foundation for the next two safety-based games for young children. So go ahead! Play Peek-A-Boo with baby.
2. Quick! Run to Mommy (or Daddy) Game*
In this game you teach your child to quickly run to you! (Note: see * below for suggested titles to call this game with your child.)
If you make your child's "Run to Mommy" response automatic and the child is rewarded for running fast to you, your child will be more likely to respond quickly, in situations that could be dangerous. For example: You can use this when your child gets out of sight in the grocery store.
How to teach Danger! - Run to Mommy!
I learned this game from a friend. She taught her toddler that when she said certain words,
"Poo Bear", he was to respond, "Tigger too!" and he would immediately run to her to be safe.
As you practice at home, with a toddler, it's best to offer a treat, like stickers, or a small cracker, for running back to you. This makes the game more fun and rewarding for the toddler to play correctly and to run fast!
Consistently using key words in this game can help keep your child safe. Your child's words help you to locate him/her. Your child's words also triggers action: running to you quickly.
*NOTE: If you don't like the words my friend used, you and your child can come up with your own words and responses. Pergaps you could select words from your child's favorite Twee' book. You could say "Twee' Means" and the child says "You and Me!" and returns to you immediately. [I couldn't help myself.]
3. Automatic - Hide and Go Seek
In this game you must find your hidden child.
Note: Play this game ONLY AFTER your toddler has a rapid response to Run to Mommy (or Daddy etc.). Then play Automatic - Hide and Go Seek often.
Reasons to play:
When children actually become lost, they FREEZE while they LISTEN for you to come and find them. The result is they don't know to call out to you, even if they hear you searching nearby. You child doesn't realize that you cannot see him all the time. He also doesn't realize that if you cannot see him, you won't be able to find him unless he calls out to you.
How to teach Automatic - Hide and Go Seek.
Tell you child, " I can see you most of the time. However, when you hide behind a couch, chair or in another room, I cannot see you.You are very important to me, so I always want to find you. So when I can't easily see you, I will say "Where Are You?" then I want you to call out "Here I am." Practice this in the house at first. Remember to reward your child as soon as you find him/her.
After you've practiced for a few minutes a day, over a few days, then tell your child, "Now that I know you will say 'Here I am!' to help me find you, I will let you hide longer. Remember when I say "Where are you?" I want you to yell out nice and loud "Here I am!"
Play these games with you children to instill some safety skills, for a little peace of mind and always share some fun!
I want to read your thoughts about this post, so leave me a note below.
Remember Twee' means You and Me,
Playing games with young children for safety.
Why are Birthdays Important?
by Susie E Caron (c) 1/30/16
Happy Birthday to Me!!!! That's what each of my family members sing for about a week prior to the actual date of their birthdays. This week it was my Birthday, and as I hummed the familiar tune, I got to thinking about how and why birthdays are so important.
I think everybody loves to celebrate their birthdays. But why? Every person born, didn't actually have anything to do with that event. Instead of giving gifts to whomever's birthday it is, why don't we give gifts to the parents and thank them profusely for going to the trouble of giving birth and providing a life for us?
Most parents are so excited and happy about their babies that when that first birthday rolls around they throw a big bash, and invite all their friends and relatives. We spend a lot of money to throw birthday parties and we spend a lot giving gifts to our kids on their birthdays. How did this practice begin?
Certainly long ago, infant mortality rates were so high that the first birthday must have come as a huge relief to parents. So of course they wanted to celebrate the milestone. Mortality rates for children continued to be high in places where families farmed, mined, worked timber and so on. So perhaps, each birthday was treated as another milestone and celebrated. Maybe parents celebrated while secretly thinking, "Whew, this child made it another year."
I checked on the web for something about the origins of birthdays hoping to assuage my curiosity and infuse this article with more 'cake.' I did find a little bit of history on an article by the Huffington Post, "This Is Why You Celebrate A Birthday Every Year." But it didn't answer my questions exactly.
What ever the reasons birthday celebrations began, (and people could argue about this forever) we do celebrate them, with our children, with each other and with our elders. It actually makes sense to celebrate lives well lived, of those we befriend, our parents, and others. It even makes sense to celebrate features about the lives of people we don't know. I enjoy a moment of heart felt celebration when Steve Hartman, a news reporter on CBS, interviews and presents characteristic of the lives of interesting people as he travels all over the USA . But why do we celebrate children's birthdays?
Some of the 'history' I found on the web wasn't very encouraging about the history of birthdays. Some bashed celebrating birthdays as coming out of 'pagan' traditions. Others linked Biblical birthday celebrations to simultaneous tragedies. (remember Job?). Even today we can find people who disdain birthdays, some for religious reasons, some because they believe it has caused kids to feel entitled. Whether they are true or not, these things certainly cannot explain our enthusiasm for giving children's birthday parties.
Perhaps we celebrate because birthdays are fun. It's fun to prepare favorite meals, bake cakes, wrap presents and play games. We enjoy them and we love watching our kid's faces light up. We celebrate even the tiniest baby's birthdays, right on up into their adulthood. We go to a lot of trouble for birthday fun, so could there be a bigger reason we celebrate birthdays? Maybe when we celebrate birthdays to celebrate LIFE.
I celebrate Life, every life, all lives, everyday. No one is an accident, or a mistake.
God didn't 'accidentally' drop your lump of clay and wonder,
"Now what in the world am I going to do with that?"
Nope you were born on purpose, with purpose and birthdays are good for celebrating that.
So here's my take on birthdays.
Birthdays remind me of a special gift of Life.
Because on one special birth-day, a baby named Jesus brought us a new life,
and the promise of living our lives with meaning and purpose,
and life everlasting, for those who believe.
That's why I celebrate birthdays and I that's why I continue to celebrate You.
Today is my birthday, and I'm happy I shared it with you.
Twee' means you and me
Celebrating birthdays and every day of our lives.
It’s the week before Christmas
by Susie E. Caron (c) 12/19/15
It's the week before Christmas
And what do I know
I’m ready to party
With gifts in a row
My grown kids are coming
To visit and eat
I love when they’re home
For us it’s a treat
My daughter’s away now
With a home and career
My son’s just engaged
His Fiancé's - a Dear
We’ll all eat too much
And exchange gifts til’ we’re done
We’ll enjoy many presents
But that’s not all of the fun
It’s about being together
To talk, laugh and share
Our hopes, lives and dreams
With loved ones who care
I’m glad I’m their Mommy
And Daddy is too
Without kids for Christmas
What would we do
Christmas and every day
Is about family
I thank God for each of you
And pray that you see
We're gifts to each other
Like that first Christmas Day
When we give ourselves
To each other and pray
That we'll have some more time
To hug, talk and see
We’re gifts to each other
Love means you and me
Have a very Merry Christmas. However, you celebrate, remember the most important gift you can give is being yourself in loving relationships. Thank you for being you. Please share this post with your friends on your favorite social sites.
Twee' means you and me.
Pumpkin Carving: A Must Have October Family Tradition for Building Happy Childhood Memories
by Susie E. Caron © 10/17/15
One of my favorite family activities, which became a yearly tradition, is pumpkin carving. We began carving pumpkins when our kids were toddlers and continued right into their adulthood. Building a family tradition is fun and important for lots of reasons.
Kids benefit from practicing happy family traditions.
Traditions are those activities you repeat year after year with your kids. They create the things that kids remember long into adulthood. If enjoyed, grown up kids will often continue these activities with their own children. That's why it's important to make traditional activities memorable by making them fun, with family, food, and even friends.
3 reasons to carry on happy traditions with your kids:
Here’s how you can begin Pumpkin Carving for a yearly family activity that becomes a happy, memorable tradition.
How to Carve pumpkins with Kids.
Get your pumpkins anywhere from 2-4 weeks before Halloween. Part of the traditional fun is taking the kids with you to pick out their own pumpkins. Each one gets one, even adults. When you get the pumpkins home, an adult can rinse the outsides with a mild bleach and water solution to remove any bacteria or mold and slow down the natural rotting process. Let the pumpkins dry or wipe with paper towels. Set a date with your kids to do the actual carving and put it on the calendar. It will be a special event. (I explain more toward the end of this article.)
How to carve pumpkins with kids of every age.
You can begin when your kids are very tiny. Provide them with cut outs of facial features to glue or tape onto pumpkin surfaces. Preschool aged youngsters can draw faces or designs onto pumpkins with markers. These may be left on, as is, or the features may be cut out by an adult. Later, with adult supervision, older kids may begin to cut out features directly on the pumpkin themselves.
It’s best to do pumpkin carving outdoors on a picnic table. If you don’t have one, you can use the ground or set up a board from your steps to something solid for carving ease. If it becomes too cold to do this outside, just put newspapers or even towels all over your kitchen table.
Get out a good sharp knife and a strong spoon, so you can cut off the top and scoop out the seeds and remove the stringy pulp. An adult must do this until the kids are older. However, even teenagers should be supervised for safety. Some people separate the seeds from the stringy stuff and roast the seeds in the oven with a bit of salt. Others, put the messy stuff into the compost. It’s your choice.
Let the kids do their artistic expressions of anything they want while you also do your own. My kids loved this. We each had our own pumpkin and engaged in a little light competition. They often told us that their designs were better than ours, and they were usually right.
How to make it memorable.
Plan ahead to have a special lunch together. After lunch, do the messy business of carving. When everything is cleaned up you and your kids can decorate a place to set up the pumpkins indoors. That evening, light up the pumpkins with candles inserted in the middles or use tiny portable LED lights available for this purpose. Turn off all the electric lighting in the house and sit close together to ooooo and ahhhhh and talk about your creations. In a day or two put the pumpkins outdoors in a special spot, off the ground, where you can watch them change as the days go by. The ‘faces’ will change as they ‘age’ throughout the fall, and into winter. It’s funny and fun! (In the spring, any residue can be put in the compost.)
What traditional family activity do you practice with your kids?
Please share it with us in the comments and share this article with your friends on social media. Thank you.
Remember Twee’ means you and me
making memories with our kids.
Susie E. Caron MA,
Author, Blogger, Podcaster,
Christian, Wife, & Mother, helps build parent-child relationships, 1 blog, book & podcast at a time.
Welcome! I recently retired from combined careers in teaching, psychotherapy, and parent coaching to spend more time writing.
When I'm not busy creating books or articles, you might find me looking for dark chocolate or riding my beautiful horse Apple in the woods and fields of Vermont.
These articles are for educational and self-help purposes only and are not intended as psychotherapy.
If you experience unusual symptoms or discomfort please see your medical or mental health practitioner.
No patent liability is assumed for use of the information contained. The author disclaims any responsibility for loss or risk for use or application of this material.
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Blog Reviews & Thank You!
July 13 at 7:17pm ·
Just wanted to say that I love your posts about the different ways to connect/relate/understand your child. It has given me a new approach towards understanding my daughter and allowing HER to tell me how she feels instead of me suggesting to her how she should feel. Thanks Susie!