Having a plan and being prepared for the worst are extremely important. We never know what will happen, and it’s best to be prepared ahead of time so that we don’t have to make last minute decisions that may not be the best ones. In order to start a discussion about this with your child or children, the story of Hansel and Gretel is a great starting point. After reading it, go through the following talking points with your child.
Hansel and Gretel first find themselves wanting to go into the woods alone to play. The logic of that decision aside, they make the decision to drop breadcrumbs along the way so that they won’t get lost. It’s better than going into the woods without any plan at all. However, their trail gets eaten up by an animal. A better situation could have happened had they discussed a plan beforehand with their father. He may have told them not to go into the woods at all, or he may have told them that if they decide to go into the woods to play then they should leave a trail of stones that can’t be eaten by animals. Instead, they only come to this realization after it’s too late and they’re already lost.
The second point at which they could have planned ahead relates to the issue of strangers as discussed in a previous blog post. Make sure your children know what to do in a situation in which they’re lost and what to do if they come upon a strange adult that they do not know. Also important is knowing which adults they can feel safer about trusting, such as a police officer or a firefighter, or even a parent with kids. Check out the post entitled Hansel and Gretel and Stranger Danger for more tips.
Ask your children to think of some situations I’m which they may find themselves and where they don’t know what to do. Together, come up with a plan for what is best to do in each situation. Agree as a family to follow that plan, and go over it periodically to ensure everyone remembers it. Many situations kids may come up with will involve situations where they are alone and don’t have an adult there to help them make the right choices. However, remind them that even adults need to plan ahead for situations in which they may find themselves. Natural disasters are a very good example of a situation the whole family needs to prepare for ahead of time, especially the adults. Make sure your kids and you know where to go and what to do in situations of natural disasters that have occurred or can occur in your area. There are many great disaster preparedness websites that can help with formulating your plans.