Tuesday, June 11, 2013

I Know My Address, However Does Your Child?

This time of year marks a spike in community events, and here at CRESA, we are always happy to share important information in regards to better preparing  for  emergencies  or what you need to know when you have to call 9-1-1.  Over the past couple weeks, CRESA Public Educators have been out in full force, as we share information  during our partners Open House events.

At one of these events I recently worked, I had the opportunity of chatting with a couple hundred  young kids.  As I shared 9-1-1 stickers, temporary firetruck tattoos and coloring pages,  I would ask them the question, "What number do you call in an emergency if you need help?"  Almost all of them knew the answer of "9-1-1." This usually would be followed by,  "Do you know your address?"  Sometimes I would get a shrug of the shoulders or a nodding of the head, sometimes "yes", sometimes "no."  I had several parents urge their kids, asking them, to tell me if they knew.  As they would respond, I would hear telephone numbers rattled off or perhaps a house number, but very few times did I hear a complete address. During our little discussions in the few minutes I had before their attention was distracted by a shiny fire truck or the Law Enforcement K-9's,  I would share why it was important for them to know their address, and the importance this plays in helping  9-1-1 dispatcher's know where to send the help!

As the day went on, it got me thinking.  Little things like learning our phone number and address easily slip through the cracks with all the technology we have at our fingertips.  I can tell you from personal experience, there are very few phone numbers I honestly still have memorized. They are all conveniently stored in my smartphone.  To this day, I still glance each time I give out my work cell number.  Its just one of those numbers I take for granted.  Yet if you ask me my childhood phone number or address, I can rattle them, along with my grandparents numbers off with ease. No matter where we keep these important pieces of information, to have them handy, nothing replaces having them stored to memory when you need them.  For me learning needs to be interesting and fun.   Doing a little research, I found some great fun ideas for you to use with your child in helping them learn their address. I hope the following ideas are useful in teaching your child important information that could be invaluable in an emergency.  I know I may practice a couple of these myself.

Step 1

Point out the numbers on the side of your home and the street signs in your neighborhood. Say your address so that your child hears it and sees the street name and numbers together.

Step 2

Cut out a house shape from a piece of paper. Write the address in large print so it's easy to read. Hang the house picture in your child's room so he sees it every day and becomes familiar with it.

Step 3

Hand your preschooler a stack of envelopes so he can practice writing his address. Writing down the information may help it stick because he gets the repetition along with the visual of the numbers. If your economy friendly side cringes at using all that paper, laminate an envelope and use a dry erase marker so he can write, erase and repeat.

Step 4

Rhyme the address to make it easier to remember. For example, for the address 321 May St., say, "I have fun at 321; I play all day on a street called May." The rhyme doesn't have to make sense as long as it gets your child excited about learning his address.

Step 5

Belt out a tune about your address. Like rhymes, songs make it easier to commit the address to memory. Make up your own tune, or use your child's favorite song. Don't worry if you're off key. Your preschooler won't notice, but he will have an easier time learning his address.


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