When we first moved to this particular suburb, we talked about keeping our connection to the nearest city. In our first couple of years, we made it a habit to take the kids into the city once a week for a museum outing, then dinner with Dad. It was really great. I don't want my kids to be afraid of the city, and I want them to know how to "be" in a city.Over time, however, our city outings have dropped off. As our family has grown and our life has become more entrenched in suburbia, activities and schedules have precluded those regular outings. I miss the city - and I think my kids are missing something, too.
A friend of mine lived her whole life in the big city until 9 years ago when she moved here. She was born, raised, went to college, got married and had three kids in the city. Only her oldest remembers living in the city, and, when they go back to visit her mother there, the youngest (born in the 'burbs), has no concept of staying close on busy city streets, or any other little element of street smarts that my friend feels are inherent for her. No matter how many times she called for him to stay close, or explained, he didn't. He just didn't get it.We talked for a bit about that. It seems to us that street smarts are as much about experience as about intellectually knowing that you need to be aware of your surroundings at all time. We can sit at home and talk about such a concept all we want, but unless there's some experience and leading to go with it, it's abstract, especially for kids. What you see and experience on a regular basis becomes a part of instinct, and hence, far more practical.
The thing is, "street smarts" isn't just for city streets, it for everywhere. It's at home, at school, at the mall, in the city, in the suburbs, in the country - everywhere. I think I got a little lax on the overall concept here the the relative safety of the suburbs, but it's time to step it up a bit. Alfs, as he becomes a teenager, is likely to be away from us even more, and needs to refine some of these skills.
The trick in all this, is helping kids learn safety rules without scaring them unnecessarily. There can be a variety of ways to do this, but one I like best is going out and doing things with my kids - city, suburbs, or country - and pointing out how I might handle a situation as part of our ongoing outing dialogue. "Hey, that exhibit was really great. I noticed they had a lot of guard around to help people, or I could have walked to the ticket desk to ask for direction. Did you see the chart about poison dart frogs?" It's kind of a way to remind them of the rules without the kids necessarily realizing it.We'll be increasing our visits to the city and I'll be reiterating these guidelines for everyday, every place. I want my kids to feel comfortable, make good choices, and be aware, in all kinds of environments. I can't protect them from everything, but I can help them protect themselves.
And you'll see personalized content just for you whenever you click the My Feed .
SheKnows is making some changes!