Parenting Coach

Practical ideas for social, emotional and behavioral challenges

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Teach safety ABCs: Always Be Careful.

What you can do

Talk to your child about basic rules of safety for such things as always looking both ways when crossing the street, staying within your sight at the playground and not talking to or going anywhere with strangers. Explain why these safety rules are important and review them regularly.

Keep a short list or picture chart by the front door to help remind you and your child of “outside rules” before you leave the house. Praise your child when you see him following the rules.

What you can say

“Jacob, I know you love to kick the soccer ball around with your brothers and your friends, but I just saw you chase the ball into the street before looking to see if there were any cars coming. That is dangerous. I love you very much, and my most important job is to keep you safe.”

“That’s why from now on, you are only allowed to play soccer in the backyard, not in front of the house. It will be much safer, and you will still have plenty of room to run around back there.”

Why this will help

Pointing out how your child’s impulsivity might put him at risk will help him become more aware of his actions. Reminding him frequently about safety rules will help him learn to internalize them. Hopefully, over time, these skills will become automatic for your child.

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