Considering how traffic has burgeoned, especially in cities, the streets are a dangerous place for children. So whether a passenger in a car, riding bicycle or walking on the pavement, your child is always vulnerable. There are many exercises that can teach your child to negotiate traffic safely. The important thing is to set a good example because children learn mainly through imitation.
Demonstration is best
Young children learn by imitating their parents. It is therefore very important that you exhibit exemplary behaviour: So always observe the traffic rules yourself.
Here’s some advice.
- Stay on pavement as far as possible and tell your child to walk on the inner side
- Look at both sides of the road before walking through a zebra crossing. Teach your child to do the same.
- At a traffic signal, wait till the light is green and proceed only after checking for oncoming traffic to the left and right
At what age can you trust your child?
* 3 to 4 years
Now your child remembers first his traffic rules – staying and waiting their turn; looking left and right; waiting at the curb. Tip: Ask your child how to proceed. This cements his decisions.
* 5 to 6 years
Now allow your child to go short distances alone, perhaps to the shop around the corner. Tip: Make test runs – make your child walk in front of you while checking to see if he’s got the rules down pat.
* 7 to 8 years
Now children cope can with larger distances – crossing busy streets and orienting themselves in a familiar neighbourhood. Tip: Send your child off on time.
* 9 to 10 years
The cycle was thus far a means of enjoyment. It can now be used as a means of transport (I have deleted the ‘tip’ as it does not apply to India)
* 11 to 12 years
City kids can now use public transport such as a bus or autorickshaw. Tip: Practice using a map with your child. This hones their sense of direction.