Oh no… what had I done?
I emerged from Ross only to realize the shoes I had bought for Joshua had actual laces. Man, I really needed more sleep.
I didn’t want to return them… no time for that. I had to rush home to get ready for something else that evening.
Now I HAD to do the deed.
I HAD to teach my first-grader how to tie his shoes.
The next day, I joined millions of other parents who had reached the same crossroads and asked myself, “How does one *actually* teach someone else ‘how to tie their own shoes’?”
I did what any self-respecting parent does and I YouTube’ed it.
Wow. What an education. I found a way that looked way easier than how I was taught. So I thought to myself “Shoot… I HAVE to learn this because they’ll totally thank me later for shaving actual seconds off of their shoe-tying game.”
Has anyone ever thanked their parents for teaching them how to tie their shoes?
Giving birth, maybe… tying shoes… nah.
I had pushed out the shoe-tying for as long as possible because I knew it wasn’t mission critical. Just slap some velcro on that nonsense and call it a day.
But there are some things that I can teach my preschool to early elementary kids that will be not only extremely useful in their everyday lives, but especially helpful in an emergency situation:
Basic Home Information (Data)
- Mom & Dad’s cell phone numbers
- Home address
- Emergency contact
How do I get my LITTLE kids to memorize all that information? By doing what I’m best at and being a little silly. I don’t have the time or energy to make an organized flash card system for this stuff and I’m convinced they don’t learn best that way, anyway. We make up raps. I give out prizes for who can say it fastest. You get the point. Use the time they’re all trapped in the car or walking to school to bust it out.
Why would they need to know who to contact for emergencies? In a very real scenario for us where I may become injured or incapacitated in a car accident and Dave may not answer his phone because he’s in the operating room, the kids can at least tell an officer who we trust as a family to come handle things.
Who Gets to Know the Home Information (Data Protection)
Because we are raising “savvy” kids who understand that this is privileged information and only trusted people should hear it.
You can go over a short list of people like:
- School teachers or administrators
- Certain close friends and family
- Police officers or firemen
- Any mom you find (if you should become lost)
Emergency Procedures (Data Glitch)
I pick a few age-appropriate scenarios to go over with my kids. The point is not to scare them or make them stew about what can go wrong in life, but even small kids need to know that things do not always go as planned. Raising strong, wise kids involves facing that fact early on and helping them prepare to protect and care for themselves. We live in Arizona so we’ve gone over what to do when encountering rattlesnakes and other crazy desert animals. Other scenarios are:
- What to do if mom doesn’t show up to school to pick you up
- How to dial 911 and keep calm if there is an emergency
- How to be “body-aware” and raise the alarm if someone crosses their boundaries
We also created a family “password.” For example, if a person outside of the above list of people approaches our kids to say “Your mom/dad said you need to come with me,” we have instructed them to ask for the password. If the person doesn’t know it, run like the wind.
Character-Building Affirmations (Programming)
A huge part of building confidence and creating kids ready to take the world by storm is helping kids believe they “Can” rather than “Can’t.” Kids believe what they hear and every second at home, they hear our voices. And every second at school, they also hear our voices. A parent’s voice will actually become your child’s “inner voice” and the way they talk to themselves.
That’s some powerful responsibility.
I use the time in the car (or if you walk them to the school bus, while they eat breakfast, etc.) to go over affirmations. We do Bible scripture memory and I call out what I love about each child. Whatever way you do it…. your kids will absolutely see your intentionality and internalize that positive self-talk.
You are a huge reason they will believe they CAN be self-sufficient and confident when they need to step up.
Farewell without Fear
As you wave goodbye to our little loves on their first day of school and you feel the familiar sting in the corners of your eyes– it won’t be tears of fear… it will be tears knowing that they are growing up and you have given them basic tools of how to succeed when things go awry.
Tying shoes? Just go with the velcro. Their feet are pointed in the right direction and that’s all that matters.
#readyforbattle #responsiblekids #thingsgowrong #thingsgotweird #amwriting #momswhowrite #momsnot #intentionalparenting #firstthingsfirst #velcroshoes #momlifewins