We have been using Smart Choices for about 6-8 months now. I love having a resource that helps with communication prompts between my tween son and I. We start with all cards in its burlap sack. And my son pulls cards out one by one. We do this by hanging out on my bed. This is absolutely a “nonjudgmental time.” It’s simply a time that we can both communicate using Arlo to guide us into creating a safer ending in these different situations.
The first time my son pulled out the tourniquet card, he asked “What’s this?” I went and got our house first aid kit and pulled out our tourniquet. And proceeded to show him, how to use a tourniquet and more importantly why. Every time we cycle thru our cards, I am always listening to how much information he has retained from previous times. BTW, he is almost ready to take a basic first aid course.
As a mom, I/we always talk to our children about “Stranger Danger.” But do you talk about finding a stranger “unconscious?” On the back of Smart Choices Card’s, Arlo has helpful hints to help guide you and your child to discuss various bulleted points for this situation. Would your child feel comfortable shaking the foot of an unconscious stranger? Would you feel comfortable with having your child shaking the foot of an unconscious stranger? As a mom, I would like my child to be safe. And I want him to still take care of a someone in need of help, but from a safe distance. To do this, you have got to have a plan. And Smart Choices give you the opportunity to create a plan.
The other night we were trying to pick our top 4 cards. My son picked out the “Peer Pressure” card. And I picked the “Safe Word.” As we were discussing a situation that happened over at his friend’s house. I could tell by my son’s body language and his tone; he was not entirely comfortable relaying the conversation. I gently reminded him this was our nonjudgement zone and time. He relayed the conversation, and it really struck a chord with me. So together we came up with a plan that helps him to have a “out.” Up till now, in our house, our “safe word” has been used as a spoken term. Now, our safe word can be used in a text message. And If I receive our safe word in a text message, that means my son needs me to pick him up asap. And we wait until we are home, to discuss the situation.
In closing, I am extremely happy that I purchased Smart Choices for my family. They give us an opportunity to communicate and grow our family safety plan. And to create a new family safety plans as we grow. “Thank You to Shelley Hill,” for creating these! They give us a reality check of what our children may or may not encounter in today’s world. And some of these cards are straight up fun to talk about! Thank you so much Shelley and Arlo! We are very excited to see the expansion packs!
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!