Self defense for kids isn’t always learning how to kick and punch. It’s also learning how to think, how to be aware, and how to keep a street-smart mindset.
But how do parents teach kids self defense in the middle of a hectic home and work life?
Why not make it a game?
The following set of activities tune your senses to avoiding danger by discovering how to better scan your environment. As you and your children do these (adapt them for your children’s varying ages), try to stay in code yellow. Take your time to do each activity at your own family’s pace over eight days or so. The more fun you make these activities for yourself or your children, the better they are remembered.
Day one – take a new look
Pull your mind away from the usual ways of eating, working, studying, shopping, and observing your environment. Instead, Think Like A Black Belt. In teaching self defense for kids, get them thinking about changing their normal patterns to ones of curiosity and awareness:
✦As you take a new, fresh look, what do you notice differently?
✦ Slow your hectic pace and notice what you often take for granted.
✦ Take a second look at cashiers and other faces you often ignore. After you leave, try to recall the color of their hair and eyes. What were they wearing? Were they new or could you even tell?
✦ What is down that alley or hallway you always pass?
✦ Take new –but safe — ways home after work or school.
✦ Does your school or work place have a roof or basement you have never seen? Explore your world — safely and with permission if you are a child — as if for the first time.
Day two – see with new eyes
Try to look at your world through the eyes of another – through the eyes of a pet, criminal, movie producer, alien, superhero, or an adult if you are a child, or child if you are an adult – anything to make you witness the world through a fresh set of eyes. Pretend you are an undercover FBI agent looking for the world’s most wanted criminal.
✦ How does the world look with these new eyes?
✦ Does anything new, odd, or surprising pop out?
✦ Does the change in perspective tell you anything about your usual view of the world?—
Day three – listen closely
✦ Can you hear how sound vibrates and voices echo in a room as you or someone else moves around in it?
✦ Do you notice how someone standing in your bedroom doorway can affect the sounds filtering in from the rest of the house?
✦ How do machine noises, such as the washer or dryer, diminish your ability to hear what else is going on in ear shot?
✦ Could you hear a window being broken?
✦ How about the neighborhood — can your neighbors hear you if you were to yell for help? Could you hear them?—
Day four – see around corners
Pay attention to what you can and can’t see – notice reflections in car windows, glass doors, windows, and framed pictures.
✦ What metallic objects in your house reflect images? Even if they are distorted images, reflections reveal motion.
✦ What areas around your car can you see with mirrors? Where are the blind spots?
✦ How about areas outside your home – what can you see or not see from your windows, from the front door?—
Day five – have a nose for danger
Notice how scent enters and fades into the environment – could you smell a would-be attacker who is a heavy smoker hiding in your car’s back seat?
✦ Can you smell cooking odors around the house in differing levels?
✦ How does it smell different in your house or workplace with a window open?
✦ What does your workplace or school smell like?
✦ How quickly could you smell smoke if a fire erupted in the staff lounge microwave or in the school kitchen?
✦ Does a smell that greets you coming home through the front door let you know someone has fixed a snack?—
Day six – find escape routes
Look in your home and at school for possible escape routes in case of fire or attack.
✦ Where could you hide from an attacker?
✦ Where are the places of concealment (hiding) and cover (protected from weapon’s fire)?
✦ Also, remember where fire extinguishers and telephone land line are located.—
Day seven – note your outside environment
Take the time to look more closely at your neighborhood and the world outside your workplace or school.
✦ Are there people nearby you could make friends with or on whom you could call, in case of emergency?
✦ Where are the dead ends? How about the best places to run if attacked?
✦ Go look at night as well as in the daytime — how does your neighborhood change between morning and night?—
Day eight – put it all together
Let all your senses drift to other rooms while at school, work, and home. Try to guess what is going on by visualizing in your mind’s eye where different people are standing or sitting based on what your senses are saying along with the wisdom of your past experience.
✦ Can you picture how people are facing each other by how their voices sound or echo about the rooms?
✦ Does a sudden whiff of perfume or a familiar cough let you know a certain coworker has entered that other room?
✦ Can you recognize which of your family members is treading across the floor in the other room?—
Now that your senses and those of your children have been aired out and fine tuned, feel free to repeat these activities and to enhance them with your own special touch that will help your children learn self-defense thinking as a life style and mindset.
Thank you for visiting!