When I was a little girl, so the story goes, my mom was trying to teach me how to stay out of harm’s way. She explained, for example, that if a stranger came up to me and asked me to come look at his bunnies in the bushes or offered me candy, that I should say “no” and run away. I listened and nodded, making my mom feel like this was another job well done. That is, until she asked if I understood. I replied with, “Yes. So if Aaron [a friend of mine at the time] comes up to me in a bunny suit and offers me candy, I should run away.”
It turns out explaining safety to little kids with wild imaginations — and a questionable grasp on reality — is no easy task. As parents, we desperately want our kids to make good choices, but we don’t want to scare them with the what ifs. Worriers like my boys come up with enough of those on their own.
I’ll admit, I haven’t been great about being sure my kids know how to handle potentially scary situations. I haven’t been quite sure how to. Which is why I was thrilled to hear that The Mother Company — a company focused on raising socially and emotionally intelligent kids — released a new DVD called The Safety Show. (My family and I have loved their previous DVDs, The Feelings Show and The Friendship Show, as well.)
The boys and I watched it the other day, and, no surprise, it’s really well done. The “teacher” in their shows, Ruby, has a lovely way of interacting with kids and making complicated lessons simple and understandable for little ones (their target age range is 3-6 years old). The video is made up of a bunch of mini shows within the big show that cover different lessons — getting lost, trusting your uh-oh feeling, etc.
When I asked my boys if they’d learned anything when the credits started rolling, both were quick to answer yes. (In Little’s case, it was thanks to the fun, catchy rap called “Boss of My Body”.) I was surprised, because many of the things they said they learned, I assumed they knew. It was really eye-opening for me to discover that I haven’t talked as extensively or clearly about safety as I thought I had. I was so grateful that the show opened that dialogue in a proactive, non-threatening way.
Beyond the DVD, we’ve also been reading their new book, One For All. This book is based on one of the boys’ favorite segments of The Friendship Show (likely because the characters are sporting equipment). Bullying is such a hot-button topic these days, and for good reason. With each of my boys, I’ve witnessed incidents that certainly fall into the grey area of this category recently. One was on the receiving end (we’ve done a lot of talking about how to not only respond, but step up to defend others), and the other was the aggressor (luckily I was there to nip it in the bud immediately and I’m constantly following up to be sure it’s not continuing). This book has been so helpful because we can objectively refer to the characters as we talk about what’s going wrong, rather than replaying their own, highly emotional situations.
If you have young kids (up to the age of 6), I encourage you to get to know The Mother Company. Their site is filled with wonderful articles with expert advice, as well as essays written by moms based on their experiences. And their products are consistently great tools for raising thoughtful, kind children.
*Giveaway*– I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to give away a gift pack including these two items — The Safety Show and One For All. To enter for a chance to win, please leave a comment on this blog post by Tuesday, December 3, 2013 at 11:59pm PDT. One winner will be chosen at random.
Disclosure: The Mother Company sent me The Safety Show and One For All at no cost for review purposes. All opinions are my own.