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Thursday, May 30, 2013

The buddy system

The Boy Scouts teach it.  Firemen use it.  Policemen use it.  Teachers can't take a class on a field trip without it.  Parents would be wise to implement it too.  Do you know what I'm talking about?  If you said the buddy system, you're right!  (maybe the post title gave it away  :)  )

When kids have a partner (or buddy), they are more likely to be safe in unfamiliar or public places.  Especially if you have more than two children, it makes it easier to keep track of them.  I can't think of any place where it's ok to let children go off on their own.  It's just not that safe of a world any more.

This morning I went on a walk/hike in a beautiful wooded canyon with two kids (ages 7 and 11) and their mother.  The kids were assigned to be buddies.  They could go on ahead but not out of sight.  Let's just say that they will need additional practice being buddies  :)  Maybe that's because they're brother and sister but even then, they can be taught to stay together, stop when their mother says "stop", and be aware of their surroundings.  Failure to learn could result in someone getting hurt or lost wandering off the trail.

Teaching them will take some practice and time.  Be patient but let them know that having a partner is for their safety and you expect them to cooperate.  You might try the following...
You can start off with short walks where you practice with your kids and teach them how to be buddies. 
You can teach them how firefighters and policemen work with a buddy for their safety.   Have them think of other people who work together.   Even Mom and Dad are partners!
You can give them incentives for staying with each other.

There are amazing places to visit and explore and you and your children will be able to enjoy them so much more if you implement the buddy system.   Enjoy the adventure!


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