It’s What Mamas Have to Say Monday! Each Monday, our panel of mommy bloggers weighs in on wacky questions that we – or you – think up. Have a question you want our panel to answer? e-mail it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll notify you if your question is selected!
Here’s what mamas are saying today!
Question: What is a great piece of parenting advice for keeping kids safe that you think is worth sharing?
I’m sure it’s the news about Jessica Ridgeway – the 10-year-old Colorado girl who was abducted while walking to school, but my tip has been top of mind. You see, they recently identified Jessica’s body. This tragedy has renewed calls to teach kids about “stranger danger.” My tip is that according to the experts, the “stranger danger” line we were fed as kids and that we have been diligently feeding our own kids doesn’t work. In “Child Safety Is More Than A Slogan” by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, it states that “When questioned, children will often describe a ‘stranger’ as someone who is ‘ugly’ or ‘mean.’ They don’t perceive attractive or friendly people as ‘strangers.’ And if someone talks to a child or is even around a child more than once, that person may lose his or her ‘stranger’ status to the child.”
Instead of teaching our kids about stranger danger, the NCMEC recommends teaching children “to be on the lookout for certain kinds of situations or actions rather than certain kinds of individuals.” Adults asking for assistance and adults asking children to touch them in the areas of their body that would be covered by a bathing suit are just two of the red flags that fall into these categories.
There are so many things parents can do to keep their kids safe on this front. Go to the NCMEC’s website and read through their material. And don’t just do it once. Do it every so often to refresh your memory. Chances are, you and your kids won’t need this information, but nothing could be more important than having it if you do.
*Shannon Hembree is the co-founder of Mamas Against Drama. Her tip is an excerpt from an article she wrote on this subject in April of 2011. You can follow her on Twitter @shannon1hembree.
I will say the same thing to any friend whenever we talk about kids and safety. ‘Listen to your gut’. If you have that feeling that something just isn’t ‘quite right’ from a person, to an illness, to a situation- LISTEN TO IT. You’re not crazy- and you’re not going to be a bother to the pediatrician’s office if you call. You have a doubt? Have a nagging feeling? Check it out. Call your kid. I’m not talking about being a super over-paranoid mama bear- but you KNOW that feeling when something just doesn’t sit well.
That voice has happened to me twice since I’ve become a mother- and both times something was wrong- and because we acted quickly no harm was done. People told me I was being paranoid- but when B was sick I called the pediatrician and was diagnosed with swine flu at just a few months old back during that spring of ’09 when people were dropping dead from it. I was so thankful that I caught it when I did. He immediately went on medicine and they told me that I caught it so early he probably wouldn’t be very sick for long. He wasn’t. Lesson learned.
*Farrah finds sporadic moments to jot down her adventures at The Three Under. Her 3.5 year old and 21 month old twins are all boys. Someday she will own nice furniture again. Catch up with what she’s dealing with on Twitter as @momofthreeunder and Facebook.
I heard this advice back before I even had kids. A mother I knew said she always told her child, “You don’t keep any secrets from mom.”
That’s different from “no surprises,” of course. If you want to help Daddy plan a surprise party for Mama’s 40th, go right ahead and keep the plans hush-hush. But there shouldn’t be anything you can’t tell your parents, and that includes anything another adult might say you have to keep secret.
I don’t know if that advice works in the teenage years; I’m not there yet. But I really like it for young kids.
ML has a son and daughter who are both, thankyoujesus, past diaper age. She is a freelance writer and editor, as well as the author of the humor column, I Miss You When I Blink. Follow along on Twitter (@wheniblink) and Facebook.
My advice to new moms is to always trust your gut. If you think your baby is ill – take them to the doctor. Don’t worry about what others think. I knew my daughters had ear infections before they showed real “signs” of them because their behavior was off. If for some reason you feel you need to get up and check on your baby – do it. My friend found her daughter had rolled out of bed and was stuck under her crib. The only reason she went in there was a strange feeling in her gut. If you think someone is creepy – get away from them. You may be wrong – but it’s always better to trust your instinct because you will feel better in the end. You know what’s best for your kids. What works in other houses may not cut the muster in yours. Take lots of pictures, you can’t “spoil” them by holding them too much and enjoy all the snuggling time you can. And, stock up on caffeine. You’re going to need it!
*Tracy Winslow is one of the top four funniest people at her address. She lives with her husband and two daughters in California. You can read more of their hilarious antics at http://www.momaical.com and follow her @Momaical and http://www.facebook.com/momaicalblog
I fell into this advice by accident, but it has helped me out tremendously. If you’re going anywhere that there will be large crowds (parades, amusement parks, etc.), dress your child distinctively. My kids like bright clothes anyway (think neon green and bright tie-dyes), which makes them easy to spot on the playground, or anywhere else that I might lose track of them. And on the ride there, or in the parking lot before we go in, I take a good look at what they’re wearing and tell them to do the same for me, in case we get separated.
*Jennifer Griffin is the mother of two very active and very adorable little boys.
That’s all the mamas have to say this week. Check back next Monday for another wacky (and yet profound and insightful…) round of answers from the mamas!