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Last week I talked to a group of preschool educators. They were energetic, devoted to teaching, dedicated to their pupils, and concerned about their pupils’ safety and well-being.
Their question to me at the workshop was how they could best tell children’s parents about the safety and health lapses they observed.
I admit I was shocked at some of these lapses.
Some parents drop off their children at preschool without a car seat. Others use a car seat but it is improperly installed. And some of the parents have alcohol on their breath when they pick up their children.
Then there are those parents who reek of cigarette smoke. Often their children have repeated colds or asthma. Of course they do–we know that secondhand smoke, in the home or car, is a cause of repeated respiratory infections and asthma.
Telling parents about critical safety and health rules is easy. You just tell them. Reinforcement with printed material helps but you still may have to keep repeating yourself over and over again. The problem is that it is difficult for people to change a habit.
The real question is how do you MOTIVATE parents to do the right thing so that their children are not in any jeopardy.
I am convinced that 99.99% of parents love their children and want to be the very best parents they can be. They want to keep their children safe and healthy.
This means they have to change some habits. They must always buckle up the kids and themselves. They must never drive after drinking even if the kids aren’t in the car. After all, who will bring up your kids if you are killed in a car accident?
I’m not a preacher but I simply have to preach CHILD SAFETY. I’m pleased the teachers I talked with understand their important role in helping parents parent right.
Let me urge all of you out there who are interested in children and parenting take the time and make the effort to remind every parent whose safety and health reflex isn’t working what should be done. Don’t be sarcastic or judgmental. Just quietly say, “The car seat isn’t installed right, let me help you.” Or, “It’s dangerous to drink and drive.” Or, “Smoking hurts children’s lungs.”
Sure some parents may tell you to mind your own business but take the risk. I feel that parenting is everybody’s business because healthy children are everybody’s future.
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