Category Archives: Pre-K

Protecting Small Children from Lack of Impulse Control

WARNING: this content deals with the subject of harm and potential harm to children – while not graphic, I just wanted you to be aware.

I worry constantly about my 4yr old twins.  They’re like small, cute, friendly, chattering squirrels.

And no matter how much I role-play and drill them about “stranger danger” or even potential danger from someone they might know, they still cozy up to every stranger we meet.

This is why I generally don’t let them out of my sight outside of school hours, and the list of people I trust their little lives and safety to is a Very.  Short.  List.  And even then, I make sure it’s for as short a time as possible.

And I’m sure you’ve read the recent news reports: a politician molests the sleeping slumber-party guests of his elementary-school age daughter, a Texas father having to repeatedly put the smack-down on the filth molesting his 4-yr-old daugher to rescue her when the piece of garbage just won’t stop – resulting in the creep’s death,

and

the recent Dateline report that showed that even a police officer’s own child was susceptible to the blandishments of child-luring.

We try and try, and tell them over and over again.  We practice scenarios, we role-play, we repeat ad nauseum.

But do I have any faith that that would be enough in the face of someone pretending to be nice and offering candy to my kids in the hopes of luring them off?

Hell no!

Because no matter how well you prepare them, they are still very young, and anything resembling impulse control is practically non-existant.

Let me make this very clear:  Small children primarily act on their Lizard Brain instinct.

Desire pops up and they’ve gone chasing it faster than you can say ‘Don’t get into cars with strangers offering candy!’ or ‘Don’t go into the street after a ball!’

You cannot depend that if it ever (God forbid!) comes down to crunch time, that your little sweetie will have the emotional and mental wherewithal to remember the lessons you’ve drilled into their head, let alone the gumption to stand up to whatever emotional pressure some creep is putting on your child to get them to go along with whatever horrible crap they’ve thought up.

I’m sorry to be so negative about this, to rain on your parade, but let me tell you a little (true) story:

Waaaay back when, Little Lara (me), age 6, gets out of school for the day.  Her friend – let’s call her ‘Sophie’ – says “I’ve got a great idea!  How about you come home with me today and we’ll play at my house!”

Little Lara thinks this is nifty and follows Sophie home (this was in the dinosaur days when little kids walked to and from school even at such young ages – but it could just as easily have been Lara’s own backyard the kids wandered away from).

After a couple of hours playing, Sophie’s mom sticks her head out, tells Sophie it’s time to come in and that her little friend has to go home.

So off wanders Little Lara obediently, with no idea how to actually get home, and compounding this problem – she’s very navigationally challenged on a good day! (I still am, actually!)

By this time, Little Lara’s mom has gone beyond insane with worry, and has notified the police and gotten the neighborhood somewhat organized into search parties.

They eventually find the child in an abandoned construction site – luckily alive and unmolested.

Little Lara did not stop and think that her mom should be notified BEFORE she goes home with her friend.  She did not think of mentioning to Sophie’s mom that A) she did not have her mom’s permission to be there, and B) she had no idea of how to get home, and C) It never occured to Sophie’s mom that the small child her daughter was playing with WASN’T from their neighborhood and didn’t have permission to be there.

Everyone just sorta ‘went with the flow’.  You can’t assume that other ‘responsible’ adults around will catch things that ‘slip thru the cracks’.

Kids just don’t think.  And not all situations are cut-and-dried, with some obviously sinister stranger practically advertising his/her intentions, menacing your child.

These days perpetrators – whether strangers or someone known to the child – work to make an environment that the child feels comfortable with and lulls the child into complacency.

Here’s another true story:

Little Lara (my, she had an exciting childhood!) age 4, gets on the schoolbus after Pre-K.  The bus takes off, but doesn’t actually stop to let any kids off.  Instead, Ernie the bus driver goes off on a joyride with about 10 small children riding shotgun.

He even stops to buy them all candy, which they happily eat – never thinking that it might be poisoned (relax, it wasn’t – luckily!), not questioning that they weren’t being taken home.  Nope, they were all singing “The Wheels On The Bus” and otherwise having a very fun time with their new buddy Ernie.

And when, at last after several hours, he returns the bus to the school – and gets taken away by the police – every one of those children were quite bewildered at their parents’ hysterics.  (It turned out that Ernie had been mentally ill and later committed homicide.)

Point is:  a situation that may give any right-minded parent the heebie-jeebies from hell, may seem to be ‘situation normal’ to a small child – no matter how informed that child may have been by conscientious parents!

So please don’t take it for granted that your child’s safety awareness under controlled circumstances may translate to the same level under (God forbid!) actual field conditions.

Shh…It’s a secret – don’t tell!

Here’s the latest letter I’ve written to my twins’ Pre-K teachers:

Dear Mrs. G and Mrs. K,

I just wanted to let you know that in addition to our ‘Stranger
Danger’ role-playing that we practice at home, we also teach the girls
that “Secrets” are not ok.

Private things and surprises are fine because those are things that
are shared in the family, or that are only meant to be kept quiet for
a short time, but “secrets” or “something you can’t tell to someone
else at all” are dangerous.

I’m sure you are aware that one of the earlier stages of predators
grooming a child is testing to see if they can keep a secret.

I’d rather it didn’t even get as far as a ‘test case’ for any predator
– that as soon as the “s” word is mentioned, our girls will inform
them that “secrets” are bad.  That right there should be enough to let
any creep know that these are informed children, with watchful parents,
who are not good targets and they shouldn’t even try.

I understand that from time to time, lesson texts or storybooks
mention “secrets”, and I’m teaching the girls that the characters in
stories or shows are not real and don’t know everything.

So please don’t be surprised if one of the girls announces at that
point that “secrets” are bad.  And please don’t give them conflicting
(and potentially life-endangering) messages like “Secrets are fine.”

Just a simple “This is a story that is not real, they use the word
“secret” but they really mean a “surprise”.” should suffice, or
something similar.

When the girls are a little older they will understand a little
better, but right now they are so vulnerable, so we prefer to err on
the side of caution.

Thank you for your understanding.

Sincerely,
Lara N.
TwiceBlessedLife.com

May your life be doubly blessed!

Save the bees and Mother’s Day Tea

My girls came home from Pre-K last week, merrily singing about smashing baby bumblebees.

Needless to say, I was aghast and horrified.  Shocked, stunned and appalled covers it, too.

So I carefully explained to Halle & Zanna that bees are very important – they fly from flower to flower collecting (and distributing) ‘yellow flower dust’ called pollen, and that makes many plants grow fruit and veggies for us.  If we didn’t have those things, we’d starve and die.

So it’s a Very Bad Thing to hurt our helpful little honeybee friends.

The girls were very dismayed by this and felt a bit indignant about this.

Halle insists, therefore, that I email her teacher and explain these things to her and insist that she not have the kids sing it anymore.

Or, in Halle’s words: “Can you write her that’s a mean song, she should not tell us to sing that!  We should be nice to the poor little bees!”

and Zanna chimed in, “Then we can have lots of fruits and veggies!  Those are healthy foods!  Right, Mama?”

Well, today was the Mother’s Day Tea party for Zanna’s class, and apparently it’s one of the songs the children have been practicing to sing to the mommies.  At the point in the song where the children are to sing and mime themselves killing the baby bumblebee, all the other kids were smiling, but Zanna looked mournful.

Sigh…now I feel a little bad having said anything about the song, but still – killing insects gleefully is really Not Good to teach children.  What’s a mother to do?

#Earthday with a tired mommy of twins

I’ve got twins.  I’m tired.  It’s Earthday.

As if it’s no bother at all, BOTH of my girls’ Pre-K teachers expect me to just nip right down to the store, buy plant pots, seed packets and soil, for an Earthday project.

Oookaaay….

Except it’s pure torture to take the girls with me, and when they’re in school, I’ve got doctor’s appointments and/or “Mommy Naptime” (which, believe me I DESPERATELY need! ok?)

So, in the spirit of Earthday, I decided to do things differently:

Plant pots – after digging around a little, I found some old ones – still with a bit of dirt clinging to their insides – from last year’s attempt to start seeds indoors.

I figure – why WASTE water – a precious and valuable resource on our planet, to wash them out, especially when they’re just going to get filled with dirt again?

So into our recycled shopping bag they went.

Next, some seed packets.  After more rooting around (pun not intended – really!) I found a couple of seed packets from this past year that I got for FREE after signing up on Facebook pages.

And really, why on earth (really these puns are SO accidental!) should I WASTE money to actually BUY dirt?  Plenty of it outside!  So I grab a couple of ziploc baggies and a trowel and while the girls are eating breakfast, I skulk around our apartment complex and dig up a little soil from the already-bald spots on the lawn.

There!  All components of the Earthday project accounted for, I didn’t have to WASTE precious water, gas for driving, or money!

And best of all, I saved alot of my own precious resource – energy!  And believe you me – that is truly in short supply!

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