The swimming pool:
I love this card for the obvious. It’s a swimming pool, and for many young ones this symbolizes fun, even if they have never played in one. Media presents pools in video, cartoons and imagery as a place where groups of children play, laugh and have a great time.
So far I have had no surprises with this card.
This card is really for the parents as well. They often feel like having this conversation once is enough. It is not enough. It can also leads us to have conversations on the importance of swimming lessons and not giving false trust to their children by putting on a flotation device and feeling like they have warded off a future situation.
We discuss the helpful hints:
-Do not swim alone , if you needed help no one would be there, it is not safe
-Get a parent or guardian, you must have a trusted adult with you at the pool.
-Drown=Death, we discuss this hard subject in several different ways, depends on their ages. In these discussions, I have learned about the drowning death of family pets and relatives than I care to admit. I try and use their stories, my stories to help them understand the seriousness of Drown=Death.
***I have 5-10 "go to" cards in the Smart Choices Image Card deck. As of late, most of my students have been between the ages of 4 and 10. I like to think ahead so I usually pull a secondary set of images to prepare for conversations they may be come in handy to think outside of what my original plans are.
The process in which I teach, plus the images, are approved by the parents/grandparents. I like to ask the parents before our meeting where THEY see a concern and they almost all say "firearms". It’s not until I show them my pre selected stack of cards that ”light bulb” goes off, and the realization that they are not guiding their children through as many opportunities as they thought.
Recent tragic events brought out this article by Robyn Sandoval of A Girl & A Gun. Robyn dives into topics to Initiate the Conversation, Make It Age Appropriate, Calm Their Fears, Invite Them to Help, Help Them Make Good Decisions, Give Them Equipment and Training, and then Revisit the Conversation. It is a MUST read, she did an excellent job communicating helpful points to discuss w your kids. Thank you Robyn for choosing Smart Choices as an avenue to help parents communicate and help children make smart choices.
When a tragic shooting takes place at a school, many parents struggle with how to address it with their children. It is a challenge to reassure your child that school is a safe place, and at the same time review emergency protocols so that they feel safe that they have a plan in place if something happens.“For the majority of students, school is a safe and supporting environment,” Dr. Robin Gurwitch, a licensed clinical psychologist and professor at Duke University Medical Center, told ABC News in 2018, after the Parkland tragedy.
In this article, parents learn how to discuss the news with your children and some ideas for age-appropriate training that can help them stay safe.
I just finished working with one of my students using the Smart Choices Image Cards. I use them as a jumping off place that creates space to talk about hard things.
I’m a tutor in Minnesota and like to incorporate Smart Choices in my writing exercises with my students. I give them time to look at the card, formulate what is happening in the picture on the card and then ask them open ending questions about what the card means to them.
I use the Five W approach with my questions….Who, What, Where, When and Why to explore the possibilities of each scenario on the card. Then I ask them to write paragraph describing their response to the card.
Today my 7th grade student shared about how hard it is on social media at his school. “we see things that just aren’t meant to be seen”, he told me today as we talked about sending or receiving inappropriate photos on our phones.
Thank you to Smart Choices for giving my students exposure to real-life scenarios that prepare them, just enough, that when the time comes, they may think, “Hey, I’ve seen this before and already know what I am going to do!”
Attention parents, grandparents, or anyone who has a relationship with a child, I ask you to look at this post and really “think” about what I’m expressing to you.
There was a shooting last week that was only 3 doors down from our home, mid-morning, in our well established neighborhood. Thankfully, my teen-aged son has been well versed in “what if’s.” But after that day's event it brought some additional serious questions FROM HIM and which provoked serious answers FROM US, his parents.
#1. What do I do if I see a stranger in our house?
#2. What do I do with our dog?
#3. Many more questions.....
First, my husband and I discussed, and decided, on a "game plan" for this specific incident. Second, we talked with our son. Now we have a family game plan. I highly suggest YOU have a game plan for your family.
How can you get started? SMART CHOICES!
How does Smart Choices work? You pick the cards that you want to use as a "conversation starter". When you seriously just listen to what your child tells you, then the deep and honest conversations will follow.
I still use Smart Choices, was honored to be apart of a review many months ago, and I am happy to write this short BLOG for you now. We don’t want to make our children afraid to leave the house, we just need to teach them how to be more AWARE and how to "read" a situation. If you don't teach them, I can promise you...the world will.
PS. I liked these images so I chose these pictures from my previous Smart Choices BLOG.
I am so excited to announce that Smart Choices was in USCCA's magazine called Concealed Carry. We made it into their BIG January 2022 edition called THE PREDATOR PROJECT that launched in VEGAS at SHOT SHOW this year!
SHOT SHOW is the largest trade show of its kind. The Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade ShowSM (SHOT Show®) is the largest and most comprehensive trade show for all professionals involved with the shooting sports, hunting and law enforcement industries. It is the world’s premier exposition of combined firearms, ammunition, law enforcement, cutlery, outdoor apparel, optics and related products and services. The SHOT Show attracts buyers from all 50 states and more than 100 countries. SHOT Show is the only event for retailers, wholesalers and distributors that brings the industry’s most innovative technology, products, manufacturers, education and regulatory leadership together to create one comprehensive and fully loaded experience. You’ll find the people, the passion and the answers you need to stay successful, competitive and knowledgeable. The SHOT Show is restricted to members of the shooting, hunting, military and outdoor trade industry including commercial buyers and sellers of military, law enforcement and tactical products. It is a trade show not open to the general public.
The USCCA helps responsible Americans prepare for what happens before, during and after an act of lawful self-defense. In addition to offering education and training, the USCCA has purchased an insurance policy that provides the association and its members with self-defense liability insurance. Whether you’re looking for concealed carry training, facts about firearms, gun laws, shooting ranges or self-defense information, the USCCA has compiled everything you need to know to legally and effectively protect the ones you love. Browse the selections in their website to access their most popular and comprehensive concealed carry resources to help you become a safe, knowledgeable and confident first line of defense.
Smart Choices is a well thought out deck of 84 Image Cards that focuses on IMAGES that will help parents/teachers/educators teach children to recognize danger and to make smart choices ahead of time. Smart Choices will aid in having a plan for the whole family so you AND your child will know what to do when presented with some difficult decisions.
Smart Choices Image Cards was designed to focus on your child processing primarily in pictures rather than words, so ideas are interconnected, and your child can see the relationship between elements (verbal discussion plus visual learning) in the whole.
Here are just a few advantages of this style of IMAGE BASED learning:
Smart Choices is not about dumping knowledge into your child’s brain; it is about carrying on a conversation with them. WE SUPPLY THE IMAGE AND YOU SUPPLY THE SUBJECT MATTER, with plenty of "helpful hints" from us.
The powerful images on the front of these cards plus the "helpful hints" on the back provoke incredibly important two-way conversations with our children, our grandchildren, our students, and our small groups around potentially dangerous situations and how to maneuver around them.
Having already talked though the dangers that each card elicits puts our kids in a position of preparedness, where they can draw on knowledge from a past experience, or in this case, a past card conversation. They know what to do!
We recommend picking one age appropriate card to discuss with your child about every 2-4 weeks. That could breakdown to 48 - 84 months of deep and meaningful conversations.
Smart Choices Image Cards are meant to be revisited as your child grows so you can test what they remember and continue to instill your parenting lessons throughout the years.
Smart Choices supply 84 two-sided Image Cards:
ANYONE can get involved!
Parents/guardians know their children best and "how to speak their child's language". Each parent has their own rules and teaching style so we are focusing on setting you up for success to help your child learn while you supply the "meat and potatoes" for each image.
I don't know about you guys but it sounds like a match made in heaven. Thank you USCCA for including Smart Choices Image Cards and finding value in our learning system.
Shelley Luehder Hill
*Some information was copied directly from UCSSA and SHOT SHOW's website
I love the flexibility of Smart Choices. The concept works for a variety of topics and is universal. On previous mission trips to Peru, I have covered situational awareness for teens and adults. On my October trip the folks with Make A Miracle ( https://www.makeamiracle.net/) wanted me to talk to younger kids in our Star Kids program. With the Smart Choices concept of using images, I was able to cover examples of dangers that kids everywhere share as well as some unique to their environment.
Despite a scheduling conflict that forced us outside and no way to project images we found printed pictures passed in front of them worked effectively and it was very gratifying when the kids started asking “what if” questions. Child abductions have been increasing in the area, so we spent extra time on dealing with strangers. When I showed one picture and discussed that bad people can often look nice one of the young boys asked, “can I hit them in the head with a big rock?.” I had to suppress a laugh and take the time to discuss the difference between can, may and should. It kept my translator busy as we worked to convey the concept, but we eventually got to where he understood that given the choice of running or trying to bash a much bigger person’s head in that avoidance would most often be the Smart Choice.
Most importantly the Smart Choices concept will continue as an ongoing part of our work with these children, and we have added another saying to use at the beginning of their weekly sessions: Los Star Kids toman Decisiones Inteligentes! (Star Kids make Smart Choices!)
I have attended The Complete Combatant’s Image Based Decisional Drills (IBDD) class with Brian and Shelley Hill at their beautiful range in Dahlonega, GA. It was fantastic and unlike any other self defense class I had ever taken before! One by one, Shelley presented students with a single image card, then based on the scenario depicted on your card, you had 5 seconds to interpret the image and then act in response to that image.
Sometimes the appropriate response was to apply a tourniquet and call 911. Sometimes it was to draw your firearm and stop a threat. Sometimes it was to simply flee the scene and run to safety. Sometimes it was to pepper spray an aggressor or to attempt to verbally de-escalate a situation. It was quite challenging and it revealed some shortcomings in a lot of students’ attitude, skills, and plan as self defenders. That was the best part about the entire class in my opinion – that even when a student didn’t respond to the scenario on their card in an ideal manner, the entire class talked through what actions might have been more appropriate instead and we all learned from each others’ mistakes. It was a phenomenal and unique learning experience for all!
I was so impressed with how eye-opening the class was that when I heard that Brian and Shelley were expanding on their IBDD class and developing a similar product geared for children, I was thrilled and knew that I wanted a set for my kids! That product is called Smart Choices.
Like the IBDD cards for adults, Smart Choices is an image based training tool for kids. However, instead of the time constraints, cognitive load and pressure testing integrated into the IBDD class, the Smart Choices cards encourage critical thinking and problem solving in a very calm, controlled environment. Smart Choices is intended to stimulate deep, thoughtful, age-appropriate conversations with kids. Each card is an opportunity to really connect with your kids about important issues and potentially dangerous situations they could find themselves in, and gives you a chance to be proactive in helping them know how to make smart choices when you aren’t around. You are supposed to take your time to discuss the image on each card in depth, and together you come up with wise safety practices for your whole family.
Smart Choices comes with an in-depth instruction booklet and 84 different image cards. Each image has been carefully selected, the images are professionally produced, and the cards are very high quality. You can even laminate them to make sure they will really last. On the back of each card are several helpful hints to help kickstart the discussion if needed. According to the Smart Choices website and booklet, the deck is designed for children ages 4-13, but even our adult son benefitted from it greatly!
As a homeschooling mom, I love that Smart Choices is so flexible and customizable, and I really appreciate how the cards allow parents/guardians to be in the driver’s seat to steer conversations. You get to decide the pace, which cards to introduce to your kids and when, and how deep you want to take the discussion on a particular topic.
With our youngest, for example, we approach Smart Choices as a sort of game. We keep it short and fun so that she doesn’t lose interest. With our older kids, though, we are able to take a much deeper dive into each topic. The conversations usually go off on multiple tangents and we often end up reviewing practical skills like verbal de-escalation, how to do CPR, how to properly apply a tourniquet, or the when/why/how of using pepper spray.
Smart Choices has helped us finetune and shore up holes we didn’t know we had in our family’s safety plan and practices. Our children get to explore different scenarios in the safety and comfort of their own home with the supervision, support, and guidance of the two people on the planet who love them more than anyone else does! It’s such an ingenious tool! If you want an effective, economical, adaptive, and durable product to introduce your children to safety education, a resource that you can visit again and again as your children grow, Smart Choices is exactly what you’ve been looking for!
"I watched as the parent's faces shifted to show pleasure, and even concern, with their child's answers". CF
Life has been a whirlwind. It has been crazy and many of us have been moving fast trying to find our place to land. We all have been doing what we can to survive day to day, often just checking things off the list and feeling successful when we wake up and our world is not crashing down around us. For many of us that “making it” mentality means we are putting aside important things, that at the time seem like they can wait.
In the firearms industry we work hard and do a really good job of sharing our message our impact, better human functionality, faster to the bang and the best gear. I love to shoot, I love helping people learn to be successful in the task of shooting, you know the reward of hitting the mark, but it has never fully satisfied me. I have always been one to encourage positive mindset and confidence and have connected that with my firearms instruction through the Situational Awareness message. Recently, I was able to fit into my busy schedule a weekend with Shelley and Brian Hill at The Complete Combatant and take their IBDD (Image Based Decisional Drills) Coaching Course. Every good Coach or Instructor has the innate ability to read into their students. By the second day of the course, I was all in and my energy was so high that I remember Brian looking at me and saying “Relax, Take a Breath”. This course changed everything about my plan and process as an adult for adults…and then Shelley showed me the Smart Choices Image Cards for Children.
Smart Choices Image Cards are created for children 4-13, but do not let this fool you. I recently worked with a family and everyone, young and old gained from the cards. On one side there is an image, on the other Helpful Hints to help guide the Coach or Parent on how to engage with the child on the subject. It is up the parents interpretation as to what the best answer, choice and reaction is for their family.
Let me share a little about my adventures with the Smith* family. We planned to meet up so that I could practice working with the cards and children, and that the parents could see and hear their children’s responses, but also to show them as parents how the Smart Choice cards are a great tool for the whole family. They have three boys 4,9 and 15. I choose 6 cards that I felt were important topics, including my favorite…. The telephone Image Card. Other cards we focused on included a firearm card, pill bottle card, swimming pool card, fireworks card, and the driver “drinking” card. With every answer and conversation, I was empowered. Just like in some other families, you could see that they had previously discussed some part of of these subjects. but there were pieces and subjects missing. I watched as the parents faces shifted to show pleasure, concern and sometimes pain in their children’s answers.
After we finished, I spent a little time with the parents. The first words out of their mouths were “We have some work to do”. They immediately recognized that over time and with additional children they had stopped having some of the “important” conversations. They could also see the areas and subjects they needed to revisit with the assistance of the Smart Choices Image Cards Helpful Hints on the back as a guide. We have since had discussed creating learning time with parent/teacher coach/guides for their homeschool group.
My outlook on how and what I teach has been impacted by IBDD and Smart Choice. I encourage you to investigate and invest, not only for your students, but for yourself and your family. We can train on all the tools around us, but if we don’t train the one tool that was given to us to help make the ONE BEST FIRST CHOICE, then we are truly failing ourselves and those around us.
Just as I stated in the beginning life is a whirlwind, lets don’t let our compliancy in guiding and coaching the next generations come back to haunt us. Its up to all of us to help them learn how to make the ONE BEST FIRST CHOICE.
Mom, Wife, Instructor, Guide and Student
*Name changed for anonymity and images approved by parents.
Statistics: It is not the odds, but the stakes
The statistical problems in real life consist of sampling, inferential statistics, probability, estimating, enabling a team to develop effective projects in a problem-solving frame. For instance, car manufacturers looking to paint the cars might include a wide range of people that include supervisors, painters, paint representatives, or the same professionals to collect the data, which is necessary for the whole process and make it successful. What are uses of statistics?
Statistics is used in every aspect of life, such as in data science, robotics, business, sports, weather forecasting, and much more. There are various other fields where statistics concepts are applied like running, calculating the budget, calories count, and much more. Additionally, statistics help in learning mathematical concepts better. This is how statistics can be used in each aspect of real life. What is the use of statistics in real life? Statistics is used for graphical representation of the collected data.
Statistics can compare information through median, mean, and mode. Therefore, statistics concepts can easily be applied to real life, such as for calculating the time to get ready for office, how much money is required to visit work in a month, in education, and much more. Besides this, statistics can be utilized for managing daily routines so that you can work efficiently.
What are our plans with the Statistics page? This page will focus on 1 Smart Choice Image Card (scenario/subject) per BLOG and will eventually be listed in CATEGORIES so you can find your subject with ease. The data collected on each subject will be geared towards children ages 13 and under. These are not opinions, we will not offer guidance on any subjects and the Statistics page will not be full of "fluff". This page is intended to supply basic national/regional/local stats on some of the Smart Choices Image Cards that have been chosen as one of the 84 important discussions between you and your child. Please research this subject extensively. Stats are subject to change on a daily basis. Remember, it is not the odds, but the stakes.
A picture is worth a thousand words. We hear it all the time. Images are so powerful and our reactions to images are so much stronger and more realistic than our reactions to mere words. As a firearms instructor, images are what lured me to Dahlonega, Georgia in late July. I jumped on the opportunity to take an instructor class called Image Based Decisional Drills taught by Shelley & Brian Hill of The Complete Combatant, LLC.
During a break on the first day of this incredible class, I was discovering the kid’s version, called Smart Choices. As I was skimming through the 84 image cards, my mind was racing with ideas. So many of us are visual learners but in my homeschooling household, multisensory learning is especially important. All three of my grandchildren have different learning abilities and struggles. This was going to be a game changer and I knew it the minute I had Smart Choices in my hands. I couldn’t wait to drive the 6 hours home and dive into my Smart Choices kit to get started.
I’ll admit it. I was very tempted to bypass the adorable purple Arlo The Ant covered stickers, magnet and “Setting You Up For Success” booklet to pull out the 84 image cards and pick the first one for my oldest grandchild to get started. I had to reel in my enthusiasm and make myself slow down to read through the booklet. I’m so glad I did because it really is a guide on the best ways to use this incredibly effective tool.
Choosing the first card was the hardest part for me. Since my oldest grandson is 11, severely dyslexic and has auditory processing disorder, he doesn’t learn as easily unless he gets a multisensory approach to whatever skill we’re asking him to learn. I chose a card with a vibrant palate of colorful vegetables laying on a cutting board with a rather large knife between two halves of an orange bell pepper. Once the card was chosen, I called my grandson into the room and the rest was just magical.
I showed him the image and used the helpful hints on the back of image card to have a lengthy discussion with a great back and forth conversation that flowed so naturally… all from this image! We talked about safety when working with knives in the kitchen, which knives he was allowed to use when we aren’t with him, what to do in case of an accident, where the Band-Aids were located, when it might be more than a Band-Aid type wound, and so much more. He asked questions. I asked questions. The beauty of this image didn’t stop there. We continued talking while I allowed my grandson to cut the vegetables up for our dinner, showing him the correct way to hold the knife and how not to accidently cut the hand holding the bell peppers. The verbal exchange continued as we made dinner together and sat down at the table to enjoy the meal we had created.
There are images for every age range and a variety of discussions can take place for each of those images based on the needs of your family and your experiences. The possibilities are limitless. I can easily see how these images could be used years apart for the same child and cause different learning experiences each time. The helpful hints on the back of each image help the adults steer the conversation or offer insights into topics we might not think of when we look at that image with our adult eyes.
On the front of the Smart Choices “Setting You Up For Success” booklet, it states the definition of success as “prepare your child by developing critical thinking & problem solving to help them make smart choices when you are not there”. With each image we share with the kids in our lives, we take a step in the right direction by opening the lines of communication on subjects that can be difficult to discuss without the aid of powerful images to get that ball rolling.
Home Schooling/Special Education
Shelley is the creator of Smart Choices, a public speaker, and a supporter of THINKING AHEAD. Smart Choices BLOG is a mixture of stories, Q & A interaction, new thought provoking ideas, guest BLOGS/videos, and MORE!