parent and teach safe kids

Is Your Child a Free Range Child? Were you one?


Years before she became a celebrated speaker, author Lenore Skenazy learned that I was writing about teaching safety, and actually wrote and called me, or maybe I called her…can’t remember…. She was in a hot debate
As the World’s Worst Mom for letting her son take the New York Subway alone.

Since then I have stayed in communication with her, not always agreeing but totally supportive of the outcome we both believe in, empowered healthy kids, who know how to take care of themselves, given basic safety guidance.

We both believe that it is the parents who have become afraid, and then affected their children with the same fears. It reminds me of the parents of students I had over the years
Who were not allowed to have pets, because they could bite or scratch them.

Things I worry about.
Children sitting in front of a screen, your pick, tv, iPad, computer, video game, etc.
Children not playing in a group, riding bikes, running around with squirt guns, and water balloons, and basically laying outside, until they are really tired.
How many of us played outside? How many obese kids did you know who played outside?

I went to camp for 3 months , a whopping three thousand miles from home, when I was 8,9, 10 and 11. There was some supervision you bet, but I was not under constant surveillance. I learned to swim, ride a horse, raise a calf, feed the cows, new games, adventure, learned to Bail hay, camped and sang around a campfire…made homemade peach ice cream…picked blue berries in the White Mountains…..the best summers of my life.

I was always hungry at supper time , always happily tired at night and skinny as a rail.
I never once felt unsafe or afraid.

Even at home, we always played till dark or until our Mom whistled.

So why am I telling you all this?
I wrote a book to teach children how to be alert to behaviors, what to do if faced with bad behavior and what I had hoped to gain is empowerment for parents as well as children.

I have not seen the study Lenore discusses, with Forty year low in kidnappings,
But safety is so much more than that. It is teaching kids common sense and resourcefulness.
Think about the girl and boyscouts. Don’t they end up earning badges in being resourceful?
Knowing what to do when faced with situations, commonly called, life?

Yes, there will always be bad behavior with humans, from the playground to the grave.
But keeping a child locked up, or in a parade of careful scheduled activities is not the answer.

When you give my book, WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?, 20131228-075925.jpgto a teacher, a new parent for a baby shower, to a friend, you are not just hoping to help their children become safe people, but the actual teaching of the kids then allows that parent to allow their child to become “Free Range.”
If parents each felt they have helped to develop a child into an empowered
Human being, you will see more children, emerging from their air conditioned homes,
Asking each other to go and play!



Just add a few minutes of safety each week, make time for what matters most


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Safety Book Give Away

For Valentines Day this year I will be sending as valentines, ten books across the country to bloggers who are interested in reading, and sharing my book, What Should You Do? Helping Children Protect Themselves in The Twenty-First Century, Tate Publishing 2010
One writer is sharing this book with her education administrators in Connecticut….everyone wants to give children a safety education that will be useful rather than scary.
Every child needs empowerment, having a safety plan , in their “back pocket, ” means that in an unsafe situation children will have a plan to fall back on. Teach all children, tweens and teens, they have the power to say No to a bad situation, Go, quickly….run if necessary, and TELL!

You can message me your address on Facebook, or email me at tripptalkca@yahoo.com before February 8th, so that I can send you your copy, for Valentine’s Day.

If it turns out you have friends in “High places,”‘we can arrange further distribution of books to you.



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Run, Hide, Fight


As parents and teachers we watch the copy-cat
Crazy folks commit further atrocities and ask,
“What Now?”

Man killing Bus driver and taking five year old hostage…..
Junior High children, bringing guns to school……shooting with terrifying accuracy.
” What now?”

I have outlined all the ways children can stay safe in my book, What Should You Do? and for 99% of instances, this game plan works when they have a way to get to a safe place.
Say No to bad behavior, Go to a safe place and person, and Tell.

But what if this is not enough? Your child will have safety drills at school. Run, Hide, Fight- They will be told to lie flat or run to a safe place….check with your school superintendent’s office and get a copy of their safety drill format. That way you can streamline your parent-child-teen discussion to include what they teach at the preschool, elementary, jr high and high schools.


Sandy Hook School

Sandy Hook School.

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