It’s no secret that the world we live in holds myriad threats to a child’s safety.
Even normal, daily activities can sometimes be dangerous.
A child could get hit by a car in a parking lot. Snatched by a stranger while shopping with mom. Injured by an animal while biking around the neighborhood.
Any number of things can happen to our kids both inside and outside our care.
My goal here is not to cause anxiety or lead you to imagine all sorts of horrible, unpreventable scenarios. You already know about the dangers that exist. You’ve probably even talked to your kids about making safe choices.
What I want to do is suggest a skill that could improve your child’s safety. This skill can give them the opportunity to make safe choices for themselves and for others.
Let’s talk about the power of observation.
An observant child (or adult) will notice the world around him.
An observant child is alert, not distracted by a hand-held screen, for instance. She’s not on edge but is aware what’s going on in her surroundings.
An observant child pays attention to details.
A habit of alert observation develops an ability to recognize association (make connections) and differentiation (notice dissimilarities).
Over time, this allows a child to understand context, what is normal and appropriate (or not) in a variety of situations.
Like any skill, observation and the qualities that accompany it require practice.
Thankfully, practice may be easier and more fun than you expect!
Games & Activities To Practice Observation
Hidden Picture Puzzles – Amazon link to books for a variety ages and interests
Word Search Puzzles
Play “I Spy . . .” while you sit and wait. Find more games to play when you have to wait HERE!
Spot It! – the original is still our favorite, but you sure have a lot of choices!
. . .
Poring over books and games like these can increase observation skills. Being more observant can improve your child’s safety because they’ll notice potential dangers more quickly.
How about some more ideas . . . practical, 3-dimensional, real-world observation opportunities are important too.
. . .
Neighborhood Walks – know the area where you live. Be familiar with what’s normal, so you can spot what may be unusual.
Observation Walks – look for something specific while you walk – how many kids are out playing, everything orange, American flags, whatever you think will get your kids looking around them, noticing details. Another option is to take a walk without focusing on observation; then ask questions once you get home to see what they did notice.
Observation Drives – do the same thing when you’re driving, in both familiar and unfamiliar places. Ask the kids if they notice anything unusual or out of place. Do this when you recognize something and when everything is normal. Ask what they notice about the people around. Would they be comfortable walking in this area? Why or why not?
Nature Walks – natural outdoor spaces are great places to practice observation; listen for sounds, their source and location. Try to identify smells. Feel bark and moss. Look for animal tracks or other sign (feathers, fur, etc.). Observe color variation. Collect differently shaped leaves. What are animals and birds doing or not doing? Think about why.
An important note about your child’s safety . . .
We won’t ever be able to ensure our children’s complete safety.
We are certainly responsible to teach them valuable skills like observation.
But we must remember,
Unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman keeps awake in vain.
When all is said and done, we must trust God with our children’s lives. God alone is aware of ALL that is going on around them.
When we trust God to look after our kids, we know, whether protected or in danger, safe or harmed, He will take care of them in the best way possible.
Even when we don’t see, understand or like His ways.
How will you and your kids practice your observation skills this week?
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