How to Ask “Do You Have Guns in Your House?”

Where ever you stand on gun ownership, safety is every parent’s top priority.  One tip Kidpower has for parents is before you allow your child to go to someone’s house on their own, ask if they have guns. Kidpower suggests asking, “Are there guns in your home? If so, what kinds of safeguards do you have so that children do not get hold of them? Too many tragic accidents have happened with kids playing with guns, so we want to be aware of this hazard.” With constant news of gun violence, it may feel more important than ever.

However, asking this question can be tricky.

Depending on where you live, guns may be very prevalent in your community. Where I live, many people own guns.  Responsible gun owners may want to keep this information private for a couple of valid reasons. It’s a volatile subject that carries a lot of judgement and it’s not necessarily safe for people outside the family to know that there IS a gun in your home.

If you ARE comfortable with your child being in the home of responsible gun owner, what can you say to protect your child without casting judgement, or appearing to do so?

A friend recently shared a wonderful phrase she uses. “Are there any unlocked guns or guns that are accessible to children in your home?”

This gets the important question answered-i.e. is my child safe from guns in your home, but allows people to keep a measure of privacy.

I also teach my children that if they see a gun or are shown a gun BY ANYONE, adults or children,  they say, “Guns are dangerous. I’m not allowed to touch them.  I have to go now.” and to leave and call me right away.

Read the rest of this article on fun and safe play dates.


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Make This Halloween All Treat!

The anticipation of Halloween is upon us! Being outside after dark, Halloween parties, and of course candy are on the minds of millions of children. Adults also have the concerns that go along with the excitement.

Here are eight tips for enjoying Halloween safely – The Kidpower Way!

  1. Stay Focused on Your Children’s Needs: This often means making things simpler and separating adult celebrations from children’s celebrations. Things that are funny to adults and older children may be very frightening to younger children. Make it against your rules to tease anyone about being nervous or scared.
  2. Costume Safety:  Costumes can become uncomfortable real quick! Watch for costumes that are too hot, make it hard to move or see, or get in others way.
  3. Car safety: Use reflector tape or glow sticks to stay visible. With a lot of kids, have an adult in front and one at the end to keep track of all children.
  4. Keep dogs and cats inside. People can be afraid or allergic, and dogs can act out of character in unfamiliar situations.
  5. Before going out, make a special Halloween Safety Plan in case your child does get lost.
  6. Stranger Safety: Remind children to let you know when they talk to strangers, not to give out personal information, and we aren’t visiting so we won’t go inside.
  7. Avoid Meltdowns: Keep your routine. Make sure to give children some time to wind down before trying to get them to go to sleep.
  8. To avoid disappointment and upset stomachs, make a plan ahead of time for what to do with that bag of goodies!

For the full article go to Halloween Safety

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When bringing my children into new situations I make sure they know how to get help. But how can I be sure they people in charge know what to do? I TELL THEM! I frame it in a way that lets the person in charge know my expectation of them as well.
I introduce myself and my child to the person in charge and say to them, “I wanted to make sure she knew that you are the person to ask for help if she needs to go to the bathroom or doesn’t understand the directions.”( Or whatever else your child might be worried about). Or I might ask, “Are you the person my child should come to if she needs…?” Tone and wording is so important! I don’t want them to feel I don’t trust them, but that we are partners.
This works well for play dates, summer camps and anywhere I leave my child without me.  I find this particularly calming for both me and my child!
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Teach Your Children HOW to Talk to Strangers…

As parents, one of our greatest fears is having a stranger take our child. While we are trying to protect them from danger, when we teach children to “never talk to strangers” we are not making them any safer. What we really need to teach our children is how and when it is safe to talk to strangers.

I was recently sent this video that demonstrates how ineffective it is just to tell our children not to talk to strangers. A man with a puppy asks different parents for permission to approach their children with the puppy to see how they handled it. All of these parents said they have consistently told their children never to talk to strangers. Much to their horror, it took him about 30 seconds to draw their children away from a park.

Helping children practice what to do  when a stranger talks to them is much more effective. If your child has practiced “checking first before talking to a stranger” then they are more likely to do so in real life. The beauty of practicing safety skills with your child is that you get to see what they really know!

For more practice skills, download the Kidpower 30-Skill Challenge free online library or purchase a Kidpower comic book.

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