I checked out The Safe Side Stranger Safety video, produced by John Walsh of America’s Most Wanted and Julie Clark of Baby Einstein.
I recommend this to every parent of young children. Both my kids, one and six, were mesmerized by the over-the-top Safe Side Superchick who teaches the kids the way to “be on the safe side.”
Rather than the word stranger, which is confusing to children, they use Don’t Know and Kinda Know.
Mom, Dad and Grandma are Safe Side Adults. Parents give children a list of 3 Safe Side Adults who are always trustworthy and on their Safe Side List. These are the people who can pick them up from school or take them on outings.
Don’t Knows include anyone they don’t know. Ice cream man, nice stranger in a store, another parent in the park – everyone they don’t know. Children are not to speak to them or give them information unless they are in the presence of their Safe Side Adult.
Kinda Knows are anyone the child recognizes, but who are not on the safe side adult list. Kinda Knows include coaches, teachers, church acquaintances, extended relatives, family friends, neighbors and friends’ parents. Kids kinda know them, but sometimes people we know might harm us. Kids are told to stay on the safe side by not being alone with them or going anywhere with them without parental permission.
I particularly liked the personal space concept. Too often we don’t teach children that they have a right to their own personal space. If someone gets too close on the playground or in a store – the video tells them just to run away. Viewers are taught that they have a right to their personal space of about 10 feet around them. One great example was a car pulling up too close. The children didn’t wait to find out why, they just ran.
The focus is on safety over being polite. Which was a great reminder to me, because I often encourage polite interaction with strangers in stores. Children are only expected to be polite if their safe side adult is with them and give permission.
It’s a shame, but it’s appropriate and necessary for children to be clued in that some adults could hurt them. The information was presented in such a way as to not scare children, but to make them feel more powerful when making quick decisions in the face of danger.
I admit I vacillate like crazy on the issue of allowing Ainsley to have Barbies. It’s a grey area for me. I allowed Barbie for a while, then when I found a decapitated and limbless Barbie massacre on Ainsley’s bed I silently cheered for joy and vowed not to replace her.
Some people give me crap about it and think I’m being too extreme. I admit, I’ve been thinking What’s the harm in letter her play with those dolls, really?
Then the universe sends me a message to remind me.
First, I was flipping channels and came across Say Yes To The Dress. A wedding dress consultant asks a full grown woman, what do you want to look like on your wedding day?
Like Barbie, the woman says. She wasn’t kidding. Click this link to see her say it.
Discovery Girls is a magazine created for girls, by girls ages 8 and up. I reviewed a couple of issues with Ainsley, who is granted only 6, but precocious.
It’s full of about fashion trends, beauty and style, crushes on boys, and teen movie stars. I don’t know why I expected that girlhood today would be different than girlhood when I was growing up. I guess I thought there would be more evolution in girlness.
That said, I totally love it and can’t stop reading. I am even taking the quizzes. I totally forgot how much fun magazine quizzes are.
All the talk about boys and crushes would seem premature and inappropriate, if Ainsley hadn’t already informed me who she’s crushing on (I’m so not telling) and if I didn’t remember being completely and utterly in love with a boy myself at her age. I would be incensed about the focus on boys if she hadn’t opened the magazine and said, Oh wow, Zac Efron is in this. I was comforted when the advice column told a girl that the 5th grade was way too young to have a boyfriend. Fwhew.
The articles about Frenimies and Mean Girls are particularly useful.
Discovery Girls also recently released a series of books which I thought were entertaining and gave relevant advice.
The Fab Girls Guide to Friendship Hardship seems like a gold mine for mothers – oh, right and daughters too. At the beginning of the book girls take a quiz about their friendships and see whether they rank as good or bad. If you’re friends with Poisonous Patti, she’s mean, untrustwrothy and may actually be trying to make you feel bad. . . Nope, it’s not your imagination, this girl is not your friend — she’s a frenemy wearing your BFF necklace, girls are advised to find better friends.
The book lists 8 frenemy behaviors: The User, The Gossip, The Part-Time Bully, The Cling-On, The Snob, The Drama Queen, The Hidder, and The Backstabber. Ah, brings back memories – not the good kind. The book tells girls what they’re getting out of being friends with her.
It doesn’t stop there. It addresses what to do if the girl, herself, is the mean girl. Yeah, you!, it says.
The book defines what you should expect out of a true friend and outlines how you can be one. It gives great advice on how to find friends when you are in need of new ones.
The Fab Girls Guide to Sticky Situationsis both helpful and hilarious. The really funny part is that you’ll relate to lots of these sticky situations.
What should you do if your friend’s mom bursts into the room and starts screaming about her D – time to slip out of the room.
What should you do if you’re at school and you get period on your pants? Make a temporary pad out of toilet paper or a sock, tie a sweater or jacket around your waste and see the school nurse. Don’t worry, this has happened to every girl.
The sticky situations include relevant information about what to do if you’re approached by online predators too.
Other books in the series are Fab Girls Guide to Getting Your Questions Answered and Fab Girls Guide to Getting Through Tough Times.
You can buy the whole set of Fab Girls books for $29.95 or separately for $9.95 at discoverygirls.com.
You can win a set of the books right here by posting a comment. If you share a sticky situation you found yourself in, you will be entered to win. The winner will be the one who made me laugh hardest. I will post the results next Tuesday.
In a focus group carried out by toy manufacturer, Martin Yaffe, where children were invited to put this year’s top Christmas toys through their paces, seven out of 10 girls chose to play with toys designed for boys over the girls’ alternatives.
Around 70% of girls under six admit that boys’ toys are what they really want, according to a press release put out by the manufacturer of Bob the Builder toys.
Kristian Johnson, Marketing Manager at Martin Yaffe, said: It seems that stereotypes applied to toys in the past such as dolls for girls and cars for boys no longer apply – opening up a whole new element of choice for parents when shopping for their daughters this Christmas!
We wanted to hear directly from children exactly which toys will be at the top of their Christmas lists this year, and surprisingly found that the majority of girls preferred playing with the toys designed with boys in mind, from Bob the Builder to Fireman Sam.
The girls were given their choice between Bratz and Barbies and Bob and other toys marketed to boys. The study was done in the United Kingdom, but it stands to reason that American girls might feel similarly.
The top five picks were:
No.1 – Bob the Builder Snaptrax Garage & Car Wash set (picture of electronic sounds vehicle wash) – Girls loved working the working car wash and dryer.
No.2 – Oddbodz – The girls enjoyed playing with the colorful characters and vehicles that could be dismantled to create crazy new ones.
No 3 – Remote Control Scrambler – Girls particularly enjoyed mastering this easy to operate Scrambler, from hit pre-school TV show Bob the Builder.
No.4 – Bob the Builder Tool Bench – This was a surprising favourite with the girls who enjoyed emulating their hero Bob.
No.5 – Fireman Sam Remote Control Jupiter – This toy held its own, proving that kids still love traditional role models such as fire-fighters.
Read the whole press release. Keep in mind, this study was conducted by the manufacturer of Bob the Builder, so the boy toys were all made by Martin Yaffe.
I think we should test the theory though. Giving traditionally male toys to our daughters certainly can’t hurt them.