The car pulls up and as soon as the car doors open, the boys are out, running into the street! Scary how carefree they are. This is super dangerous and for many parents, they have no idea how to stop it.
When the child is off and running into the street, it’s too late to train them. It’s a sign they need training.
So how do you train children not to run into the street?
I have some suggestions.
During lunch or passive time together, ask your child the following questions.
“Why should we not run into the roads?”
“If you get hit by a car, what would happen to you?”
Go deep with detailed questions and be super curious.
“Would daddy need to leave work and come back to Japan? Would he be sad for you?” Etc.
“What would happen if you needed to stay in the hospital for a long time? Would you be able to play in the parks? Meet your friends? Play with all your toys at home?”
Maybe you think this will scare your child and you don’t want to do that. Well, fear is still the great human motivator. We will do twice as much not to lose something than to gain something. I suggest using fear in a highly strategical way.
My rule for teaching children is to seed plant and the behavioral change will emerge from this. Trying to teach a small child by lecturing never works and only leaves parents frustrated.
Leading your child to paint a picture in their mind of an image that will teach them the lesson you want them to learn, is seed planting.
Now it’s time to state what the rules are.
“When you get out of the car, you need to hold my hand. We need to look both ways and be slow about it to make sure there are no cars coming. Once we make it to the sidewalk, you can let go of my hand.”
This is not a one-time conversation. We must have them over and over but not in an angry, scary way, lecturing way, etc. These conversations grounded in curiosity work best.
Here are tips for whoever is driving the car. If possible, park where the child or children will be removed on the sidewalk side, not the road. As you remove the children, you remind them about the rule by saying the following:
“You need to hold my hand until we are safe from the road, thank you.”
Notice this is a command and the structure is not looking for approval or agreement. You can even say this as you drive to the location. The “thank you” part of the command presupposes agreement. I’ve tested this countless times. It works.
If this does not work for you the first time, second time, etc., it’s not a sign to give up or make me wrong. It’s a sign to figure out why it’s not working and course correct.