One of the first lessons in safety we, as parents and caregivers, try to instill is how to be safe around cars. This means looking both ways, following crosswalk signals, and staying far from the curb while holding an adult’s hand. But there is always the fear that a child will run out into the street or not notice the crosswalks while chasing after a ball that got loose or simply because they are excited. So, how do you make road safety for kids stick and become second nature? Our preschool in Raleigh is sharing some tips and tricks that can help everyone stay safe.
Make Learning Safety Feel Safe
Trying to scare a child into being safe pretty much always backfires. While it’s important to explain how cars can be dangerous, consider focusing on how they are only dangerous if your child isn’t following the rules. For example, a car isn’t dangerous if you wait until they pass to cross a street or if you stay far away from the curb. Think of it in a way that you’re empowering your child to choose safety rather than being scared of cars and traffic.
Model Pedestrian Safety
If you want to teach pedestrian safety to preschoolers, first you have to make sure you’re acting as a good role model. This means that you cross at crosswalks and wait for the signal, you make it a point to look both ways when crossing, and you walk on the sidewalk facing traffic rather than with it at your back. As your baby gets older, even if they’re in a stroller, tell them what you’re doing so they are aware, like “Mommy is stopping, and we are going to look left, look right, and it’s all clear, so we can go.” Your child will begin to pick up on that very early on.
Road Safety Games for Toddlers and Preschoolers
We want to share some of the basic road safety lessons and how you can incorporate teaching them into fun games that your child will love.
Know Your Signals
Stop signs are one of the first things you can teach your child. Knowing that when they see one at a crosswalk, they stop immediately and that cars need to stop when they have one is incredibly important. The same applies for stoplights where, of course, green means go, yellow means slow, and red means stop.
The good news is that you can turn these safety lessons into fun games!
- Consider “Red Light/Green Light” in which your child starts at a starting point and has to reach a finish line but they can only go forward when the Green Light (a green circle cut out from construction paper is fine) is visible. As soon as they see the Red Light, they have to stop, and if they go while the Red Light is up, they have to go all the way back to the beginning. You can also hold up Walk/Don’t Walk (or your town’s crosswalk symbols) too.
Walking Safely on Sidewalks
Children should always walk on the sidewalk, in the direction of oncoming traffic (it’s easier to get out of the way of trouble if you see it coming toward you), as far from the curb as possible. Model this behavior and then when you walk together hold hands to help your child avoid running.
Stop, Look, & Listen
When crossing the street, it’s important for your child to understand how important it is to stop, look both ways, and listen for oncoming cars before crossing the street.
How to make this a road safety game:
- Set up a road using toy train tracks or simply draw a road on paper. Then, have your child use a toy, like an action figure, to wait to cross the street as you run cars by. This lets them practice what it means to stop, look, and listen until it becomes more second nature.
- Make a game at stopping when out on a walk where your child has to stomp their feet at the corner before they cross. This teaches them to come to a complete stop.
Learning to Use the Crosswalk
The crosswalk can be scary for kids as well as parents who are afraid their children will forget the safety lessons. Fortunately, they already know to come to a complete stop, look, and listen. Just because the crosswalk is safer for pedestrians doesn’t mean drivers don’t make mistakes so the rules still apply.
Learn How We Teach Safety at Our Raleigh Preschool
At Primary Beginnings, we teach age-appropriate safety rules and guidelines in a way that prepares children for going out and about, whether it’s how to avoid strangers or how to teach children how to stay safe in the kitchen. If you’d like to learn more about Primary Beginnings or schedule a tour, we’re here to help! Contact our Spring Forest Rd school at 919-790-6888 or North Hills Drive at 919-785-0303, or fill out the form below today to get started!