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Saturday, March 12, 2011

5-Minute Courage Workout: Playing with Fire

Why a 5-Minute Courage Workout on Playing with Fire?  Cavemen and women needed it to survive:  our kids need to know about fire so they can enjoy it and not burn the house down or themselves! 
 
Fire can be magical and provide necessary warmth.  It can also be hazardous. Our children need to be prepared to deal with emergencies in life.  Talking about and preparing for emergencies are not meant to be activities to create fear.  Preparedness helps reduce anxiety (anxiety being defined as "the fear of something threatening, uncontrollable, and/or unmanageable").  Being proactive and preparing yourself and your child to deal with any number of expected, unexpected, tragic, and/or otherwise disastrous events, like those happening this year in Japan, is meant to build the necessary confidence, skill, and courage needed to cope. 

One of the most effective ways to conquer a fear is to face it.  Henceforth, we offer frequent courage workouts by age range to help you and your child develop the necessary courage muscles to handle both the expected and unexpected, tragic and heroic, events that shape our lives.  We take small steps with these workouts and hopefully make learning to be courageous educational and fun.  Here's more on why to teach your children how to use dangerous things.

Grab Some Lion's Whiskers Today!
  • Toddler: make dinnertime magical tonight.  Find a candle for the table.  It could even be a used birthday candle hiding at the back of the utensils drawer. Light it, and like your lesson about the kitchen stove, say "Hot" and pull your hand quickly back.
  • Preschooler: show your child how you light a candle.  Hold their hand and have them help you light a candle.  Teach them to feel the heat and respect the power of fire.  Move your own hand closer to the flame and say "Ouch" when it gets too hot.  Get them to light one candle from another, so they get to see how fire can spread.  Then, blow out the candles together.  Now, make sure you store your matches or lighters in a safe place, higher than your average toddler and preschooler.
  • Early elementary student: build a fire together.  Experiment with different fire-building techniques. Learning how to strike a match can be scary at first, but a useful skill.  Start with wooden matches and work your way up to a lighter.  Find a special, easy to remember, place together to store a flashlight (or 2) for any power outages. 
  • Upper elementary student or 'tween: by now your child is likely comfortable enough to light a match and blow it out or shake it out before it burns their fingers.  Now might be the time to look out for an outdoor education course or summer camp, experiment with a flint, or review your home fire drill procedures whilst changing the batteries in your smoke detector(s) and consider purchasing a fire extinguisher to keep in your kitchen.  If you have one already, make sure to teach your child how to use it and ensure that it is visible and accessible.
  • High schooler or teen: make your teen the fire pit boss at your next cook-out, camping trip, or bonfire.  Perhaps they already take care of your family fireplace?  Do they remember what to do if a pot is absentmindedly left too long on the stove and the house subsequently fills with smoke?  Can they teach a friend or younger sibling what they now know?
Learning how to use and respect fire from you is much safer than with a friend in the attic, under the bed, or in the closet.  Fire-making skills may even someday save your child's life.  Fire is something children are often very curious about and it can also be frightening.  We, as parents, need the courage to teach our kids to use it safely.  For example, asking some children to light a match may call upon physical courage, and for others it might take emotional courage to do the same task.  Review the Six Types of Courage to figure out which types your child needs to complete this workout.

We send our care and concern to our readers in Japan and all those affected by the recent earthquake and tsunami around the world...courage dear friends!

Here is are two useful links: "What every child care provider needs to know in case of an earthquake" and teaching your child the Drop, Cover, and Hold On technique.

Here is another 5-Minute Courage Workout on Navigating the Neighborhood. 
Here's a 5-Minute Courage Workout: Talking Dirty about getting down in the mud!
Here's a 5-Minute Courage Workout on public speaking or A Fate Worse Than Death 

2 comments:

  1. I am sharing this comment from my friend Mioko, with her permission. She and her family (including three adorable sons) are currently living on the Sendai-side coast of Japan:
    Lisa, Thank you. We are fine. My parents are in Sendai but in the mountain side. They don't have power yet. But they are fine. What we need now is courage, strong mind (calmness) is what we need now. And hope, normal life. I am trying to live as normal as possible so that children will not be affected so much. And preparing for the time when my family can join us. Although we are in a safe area for this earthquake, there are small quakes happening throughout the day. And they have to go under the table. I agree to the link you sent me about Drop, Cover, and Hold On.
    Especially what you write about "prepare", was just what we experienced. Kenji was walking home from school when the big quake happened. I was so scared and went to get him with other children. And we were able to meet him because he was taking the route we discussed to use.
    There are so many routes he could have taken, if he walked home with friends, which he did so the other day. But we discussed that then there will be no way to meet IF something happens. And it DID happened. I am glad he listened to me and understood me.

    Mioko

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  2. For readers who would like to read about teaching your child to navigate the neighborhood, like Mioko refers to in her comment, check out our posts "The Journey our Kids Are On" (/2011/02/journey-our-kids-are-on.html) and "5-Minute Courage Workout: Navigating the Neighborhood" (/2011/02/5-minute-courage-workout-navigating.html)

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