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Teachable Moments April 2014
A Newsletter for radKIDS' Parents and Families
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Mission and Vision
"Stranger Danger"
It's a Problem
not a Solution 
Surely you remember being told as a child "Don't talk to strangers!" Perhaps you have even shared this with your own children. In the minds of many adults, Stranger Danger is in fact the cornerstone of safety education. It is succinct and to the point, the words are simple and direct and it even rhymes so it's easy to remember and lends itself very well to the tip sheet concept. man in grocery store

Very often in the course of everyday life, we will introduce our children to somebody new, perhaps the nice man at the grocery store, and we engage in conversation with him often time even including our child in the conversation when we can. We encourage our children to respond to the gentleman in a polite way as we work at building social skills in our child. We encourage our children to engage in conversation with the "stranger" even though the child has never met the man---- breaking our own rule.
So, as you can see, when we TELL children what to do, like Don't Talk to Strangers, we are in fact creating a problem for our children. They think they know what a stranger is. We think they know what a stranger is, but in a real life situation where a stranger befriends (grooms) a child, at what point does the stranger become a non-stranger? When friendly conversation begins? Or is it when the person this is befriending them asks them for help or offers them anything without your permission?

If YOU are feeling confused or finding it difficult to find the answers to the question "At what point is a stranger not a stranger anymore?" imagine being 5 years old and having precious seconds to make the right decision and react.

This confusion, this mixed message causes the brain to stop (FREEZE) and look for the context -more information to make a determination of how to react.

That FREEZE Moment
hands the advantage of the encounter over to the predator.

The preditor can then make his next move and the child has to process even more information and search for the next "Tip." radKIDS know what to do next... a radKID knows to use physical skills when grabbed and how to do it. A radKID knows to Yell LOUD, Hit Hard, and Run Fast

Resources for Parents
Teaching radKIDS Plans.

Instead of rehearsing safety tips with your child, start your child thinking about what his/ her plan would be IF...
We have created two tools for you to assist you in beginning these important safety conversations with your child:

radKIDS Plans
A 2-sided card for parents to learn more about radKIDS plans.
radKIDS plans

radKIDS Origami Game
A craft/activity you can play with your child focusing on radKIDS plans.
Origami game
Origami Game Folding Directions
by our very own Tino
Origami Game Directions
Origami Game Directions

 radKIDS Inc.

9 New Venture Drive
S. Dennis,
MA  02660
(508) 760-2080
April is Child Abuse Prevention Month
San Angelo radKIDS planting pinwheels for prevention
to raise awareness of child abuse.

Child Abuse Prevention
The problem with Tip Sheets (Telling your child)

Very often you will see Tip Sheets for parents, complete with bullet points, outlining specific tips that parents and caregivers can do to ensure the safety of their children and reduce the possibility of child abuse. The Tip Sheet approach to children's safety is essentially a list of "DO's and DON'T's" (Can Do's, Can't Do's, Should Do's, Shouldn't Do's) that a parent can easily discuss with children. They are lists designed to deliver quick easy-to-remember safety rules. They are so succinct that the child can even recite them back to you on demand.

Ask your child this: "So what do you do in case of a fire?"
Ninety nine percent of the time the answer will be STOP-DROP-AND ROLL- a very well rehearsed fire safety response that has been ingrained in most elementary school aged children in this county.
Ninety nine percent of the the time parents will be very pleased with this answer and reinforce the child with an approving look.

But is that REALLY what you want your child to do in a fire? I don't! I want my child to GET OUT of the fire, as I am sure you do too. (I want them to Stop, Drop and Roll when they are ON FIRE - a very different situation.

What we have done is TELL the child what to do in a situation... In a fire you stop, drop and roll... and that is exactly what they will do because they haven't been allow to think it through or act out the scenario so they really have no other option.

In radKIDS we discourage the use of lists of expectations for children to follow when learning safety education skills. "The traditional Tip Sheet approach is not only restrictive but contradictory and confusing for children when facing a potentially dangerous situation... especially when quick decision-making is critical and can mean the difference in the outcome of the encounter." says Stephen Daley, Executive Director, radKIDS, Inc.

If faced with a real life fire event, what would your child do? Stop, drop and roll? or would his logical brain take control and get him/her out of the house. The truth is you can't really know the answer unless you see him/her respond. That's why in radKIDS do our Drills on the Fly--so they (and we) can be sure that the  instinctive response will match the actual circumstances facing the child. We are eliminating the confusion.

Teaching not Telling  
radKIDS Plans eliminate confusion and
teach children to think quickly and decisively

radKIDS encourages an approach based on creating ownership and plans that the child can feel confident with and rely on when faced with a dangerous scenario whether it be potential for abuse or abduction. We call them their radKIDS Plans. A radKIDS Plan is a discussion between parent/caregiver/educator that talks about a specific scenario and allows the child to develop a solution to avoid or escape a dangerous situation.

The conversations often begin with "What could you do when...." as the child thinks through the situation they begin to develop plans based on their own self value and self worth. The adult is important in this process to guide the child and ensure a realistic and achievable plan is developed.
And as you know, in radKIDS classes we go one step further... we say "show me"! and work with them to practice their radKIDS plan. This is what we mean by TEACHING children safety education, not TELLING them.

Resources for Parents
We encourage you to work with your child as you and your children develop your radKIDS plans. See our Resources for Parent section in the left hand column. You will find an information card and conversation starters for use with your child as well as an origami game that you can make and play with your child that will help talking about serious topics a little easier and more fun. Lastly, if you need help folding the origami game, Tino can help as he demonstrates how to fold the downloadable paper game.

Effective Communication
Safety education requires more than conversation. It is essential that both parent and child know what is expected when danger is presented.

Often we THINK we are communicating effectively a
nd both parent and child are on the same page, when in reality the real time application ends up having a very different result. Take a look at this video when radKIDS instructors THINK they have good quality communication with their student and the student does too.
What it is

This adorable student did his very best and wanted nothing more than to please his instructors. He listened and did exactly what he was directed to do. So whose fault was it? It was the instructors (grown-ups) who in their attempt to teach, instead told him exactly what to say and he did exactly that. They did not anticipate that the student would take them so literally. When everyone began to laugh, the child was confused until the Instructor (grown up) said, "It's my fault, not yours. You're doing great" (empowering the child). Then the child repeats the drill with his own answer, empowered with success rather than trying to imitate the instructors words. Now both instructor and student are happy but more importantly the child has his own answer, skill and plan.

In training this is easy to fix with clarification and do-overs (activity based training)...but in real life there just isn't time or the opportunity for a do-over. So Teach your children, don't tell them. Guide them to construct a plan for situations that fit their mindset. You both will be much happier with the result and it paves the way for your child to develop problem solving skills for the future.