- Toddler: make dinnertime magical tonight. Find a candle for the table. It could even be a used birthday candle hiding at the back of the utensils drawer. Light it, and like your lesson about the kitchen stove, say “Hot” and pull your hand quickly back.
- Preschooler: show your child how you light a candle. Hold their hand and have them help you light a candle. Teach them to feel the heat and respect the power of fire. Move your own hand closer to the flame and say “Ouch” when it gets too hot. Get them to light one candle from another, so they get to see how fire can spread. Then, blow out the candles together. Now, make sure you store your matches or lighters in a safe place, higher than your average toddler and preschooler.
- Early elementary student: build a fire together. Experiment with different fire-building techniques. Learning how to strike a match can be scary at first, but a useful skill. Start with wooden matches and work your way up to a lighter. Find a special, easy to remember, place together to store a flashlight (or 2) for any power outages.
- Upper elementary student or ‘tween: by now your child is likely comfortable enough to light a match and blow it out or shake it out before it burns their fingers. Now might be the time to look out for an outdoor education course or summer camp, experiment with a flint, or review your home fire drill procedures whilst changing the batteries in your smoke detector(s) and consider purchasing a fire extinguisher to keep in your kitchen. If you have one already, make sure to teach your child how to use it and ensure that it is visible and accessible.
- High schooler or teen: make your teen the fire pit boss at your next cook-out, camping trip, or bonfire. Perhaps they already take care of your family fireplace? Do they remember what to do if a pot is absentmindedly left too long on the stove and the house subsequently fills with smoke? Can they teach a friend or younger sibling what they now know?
Learning how to use and respect fire from you is much safer than with a friend in the attic, under the bed, or in the closet. Fire-making skills may even someday save your child’s life. Fire is something children are often very curious about and it can also be frightening. We, as parents, need the courage to teach our kids to use it safely. For example, asking some children to light a match may call upon physical courage, and for others it might take emotional courage to do the same task. Review the Six Types of Courage to figure out which types your child needs to complete this workout.
We send our care and concern to our readers in Japan and all those affected by the recent earthquake and tsunami around the world…courage dear friends!
Here is are two useful links: “What every child care provider needs to know in case of an earthquake” and teaching your child the Drop, Cover, and Hold On technique.
Here is another 5-Minute Courage Workout on Navigating the Neighborhood.
Here’s a 5-Minute Courage Workout: Talking Dirty about getting down in the mud!
Here’s a 5-Minute Courage Workout on public speaking or A Fate Worse Than Death