Parents of toddlers often wish they had a dollar for every time they say, “No!” Then again, parents of youngsters, preteens and adolescents probably feel the same way. “No!” is an ageless word that comes part and parcel with parenthood.
Still, this curt, no-nonsense command comes in handy as a toddler is about to chomp on a plugged-in cell phone charger or a youngster with wet hands stands ready to plug in a toaster. As your child's best and most influential teacher, you have much to impart. And electrical safety should be part of your “syllabus.”
But how do you know which concepts to introduce at what age? And what about those concepts? What should they include? Allow Experts in Your Home to shed some light on the subject of electrical safety by beginning with some general tips that can help you every step of the way.
Teaching Aids Will Serve You Well
You know your child better than anyone and so know how he or she learns best. But teachers of students of all ages say that some instructional tips are ageless, too:
- Become a subject matter expert yourself (or at least something close to it) on electricity safety. Unless you're an electrician, you probably could benefit from a comprehensive primer such as “Teaching Some Basic Concepts of Electricity” from the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute.
- Err on the side of introducing a concept sooner rather than later. A toddler doesn't have to know why you're saying “No!” when he reaches to unplug a lamp cord. He will benefit by making an important association that you can build upon later. Children of all ages are like sponges – eager to absorb information.
- Employ visual aids so that concepts become tangible and easier to grasp. Dismantle a flashlight to demonstrate how current flows through a battery. Demonstrate how a lamp should be fitted with certain-sized bulbs. Unscrew an outlet to reveal the wiring. Explain your home's electrical panel by pointing to the breakers and what they correspond to. Most children (and adults) are visual learners, and visuals can help make a foggy concept such as “electricity safety” concrete.
- Steer your child toward hands-on projects in which they bear responsibility for their learning. Middle school, junior high and high school teem with science class projects (and science fairs). Home electricity portends a literal house-full of study topics.
- Augment your instruction with kid-friendly activities, games and videos. Some engaging ones include:
Coach Kids Down Their Learning Curve
As individuals, children can defy hard-and-fast rules about “age-appropriate” learning – and behavior. But science teachers generally agree that children often respond well to:
- Forceful, attention-getting language (including “No!”) when they're very young
- Consistent words and phrases (so the message sticks) from preschool age to third grade
- Explicit instructions about home electrical safety in about third or fourth grade
- How to avoid electrical dangers outdoors in about fifth grade (when they might be spending more time playing outside without constant supervision)
- Practice drills about how to put out a home electrical fire when you decide they are mature enough to be left home alone
Important Topics to Cover
Certain home electricity topics are important for children to understand when they're ready. These topics include:
- Electrical outlets
- Unplugging cords
- Damaged cords
- Extension cords
- Light bulbs
- Electricity and water
- Kites and fences
- Utility poles
- Downed power lines
- Climbing trees
- Treating an electrocuted person (whom they should never touch)
Call Experts in Your Home if we can help supplement any of these topics. Before you know it, you may have another electrical expert in your home: your child. And you'll certainly have a better educated and safer child – no matter how many times you have to say, “No!”