Have you ever tried training your toddler to handle a situation of emergency?
My two-year old twins enjoy pretend play a lot and we spend most of our evenings either enacting a doctor or a teacher. One such evening while enjoying a regular pretend play, something unusual happened that actually came across as an eye opener for me. The pretend play went wrong and I as a parent realised I have to start thinking on certain lines on which I have never thought before.
Sharing more about the pretend play first
It was a regular evening. A&A were enjoying the usual pretend play session where they were cooking and preparing tea for their guest (me, ofcourse). We all were having fun when Mr A suddenly threw the not-so-light plastic container in his excitement and it came flying right up to my head and I got hit quite bad. (yes, whether excited or angry, throwing things is common with my boy).
So as I got hit, I just bent my head down and covered it with hands. The pain was severe for two minutes and subsided thereafter. I was about to act normal when I heard something which stopped me, and I was curious to see how my kids would react in such a situation of an ‘emergency’.
For a few minutes both the kids were silent and kept observing what happened to their mom. Then I heard Ms A running to the kitchen at the light speed calling the domestic help. I heard her saying ‘Didi chalo, Mummy ko dekho kya Hua hai’. (Didi come, see what happened to mom). She literally dragged her hand to bring her to the room. While the domestic help came to talk to me, Ms A then ran to her brother angrily, with the aim to hit him ! Well because, he had hit her mumma 😉
Mr. A, saving himself from Ms A, went running in another room where we keep the medicine box. He brought the entire box to me saying. ‘mumma, medicine kha lo’.(Eat the medicine). As I looked up, I found him all teary eyed, trying to caress my head. I was then bestowed with endless hugs and kisses from both for the next ten minutes.
I was touched and felt guilty for stretching the entire scene, but then also felt glad to see that both A&A tried to act on the situation instead of just sitting there crying. We don’t realise but even two years old have a presence of mind and can be effective in such a situation.
Training Your Toddler To Handle A Situation Of Emergency
The particular incident was an eye-opener for me. Though A&A handled the situation pretty well, far better than the way I expected. But I also happened to realise that I have never actually told them about what to do, whom to contact, where to go, etc in such a situation. I always felt they are too young to be trained this way but I guess kids show their readiness in some way or the other. We just need to follow their cues to know when to start.
We live in a nuclear set-up. Though I have a domestic help around but there are days when she is on leave and I am eventually all alone taking care of two kids. So God forbid, if ever I get hurt or go in need of help, I have no one to rely upon but these young kids. Hence I realised it’s quite important to train them how to deal with such a situation.
So, I decided to start taking a few measures to make A&A learn what is an ‘emergency’ and what they should do. Sharing here what all I have started doing and what all you can do too to train your toddler this way.
- Using role play to make them understand what’s an emergency – The first thing is to let kids know what is a situation of an emergency. They need to identify the situation as serious to be able to act immediately or seek some help. So via role play, I have started explaining A&A that any situation where they are hurt or I am hurt and we need help from a third person is a situation of emergency.
- Training them how to reach to the neighbors– Neighbors are the first ones we can reach out to, in any situation. So as a next step teach kids how to unlock the door and reach to the neighbors. I have taught A&A how to open the main door, reach to the neighbour’s door and ring their bell. If the hand doesn’t reach the bell, then how to bang the door and ask for help. (This wasn’t very difficult to teach as kids love banging doors anyway).
- Help them know how to use the intercom/phone – We live in a housing society which has an intercom system. So I tried training A&A how to reach to the society guard using the intercom. Of course pressing the intercom keys is a game for them right now. So most of the time, we disconnect the device and learn this via role play. Once they’ll learn how to use it appropriately, I will ensure to keep the device within their reach. In case of no intercom, try telling the kids how to use the landline and reach to 102 for Emergency.
- Ensuring they learn the name and phone number of parents – We haven’t reached till here yet. So far A&A only know the full names of their parents. For a little older kids, make sure they learn the mobile numbers of their parents by heart. Most kids these days anyway know how to unlock and operate the mobile phone. So setting a speed dialing option and telling them how to speed dial would be a wise idea too.
- Reaching out to the first aid kit– Now this is tricky. As parents, we usually keep the medicine kit out of our kids’ reach with the obvious fear they they may just spill a syrup or gulp down an unwanted medicine. But to think of it otherwise, kids should know how to access the basic first aid kit. What I have done for now is set a smaller kit which includes basic bandaids, doctors tape, cotton roll etc and kept at a place reachable to the kids. And I have told them about the main first aid kid that includes all the relevant medicines and where it is usually kept. They can’t access it but certainly know where it is and can easily point out to it if asked.
Training your toddler to handle a situation of emergency could be tough. As a parent, facing such a situation is the last thing we would want on earth. But we can’t possibly control things that are bound to happen. And so it’s imperative that we and our children know how to deal with such a situation in the right way. Apart from the basic steps, we also need to teach them how to remain calm and act promptly. In a way, these skills prepare kids for life. So the sooner they learn, better it is for them.
Coming back to my previous question- Have you tried training your toddler to handle a situation of emergency? Do you have any tips to share?
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Also read: Repetitive Questioning By Toddlers
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