Saying “be careful” to your kids isn’t always enough. You don’t explain what they need to “be careful” of, which isn’t beneficial to their learning. This article will look at some of the best alternatives to saying “be careful” to your kids and how to help them learn.
What Can I Say Instead Of “Be Careful” To My Kids?
There are plenty of ways we can say “be careful” to our kids without using those words. This article will look at the following:
- Notice how
- Do you see
- Can you hear
- Do you feel
- Try moving
- Try using your
- What’s your plan
- Where will you
- How will you
- Who will
The preferred version is “notice how” or “do you see.” We can use these both effectively because it encourages a child to use their senses to understand where a specific danger might come from. Both of these beat “be careful” because they allow for specificity.
“Notice how” works well because it gives your child a chance to think for themselves. You can point out a specific danger and say “notice how” something might happen if they were to take certain action without thinking about the object or the danger.
Remember, you will have much more awareness of the current situation than they do. They will need a little extra guidance, which is where “notice how” comes into play.
Here are some examples to show you how it works:
- Notice how this floor isn’t stable.
- Notice how there are a few loosened boards over our heads.
- Notice how nobody else is doing what you’re doing next to the riverbed.
Do You See
“Do you see” appeals to a child’s sense of sight. We can use this because they are aware of how their eyes work, and it can help us to draw their attention to specific problems. While they might not think about the danger for themselves, if we can point it out, it can help them.
Allowing a child to figure out danger on their own doesn’t work. However, if you can first make them look specifically at the danger and explain what makes it dangerous, then you will be setting them up to understand you a lot better.
Check out these examples to see how it works effectively:
- Do you see that waterfall up ahead?
- Do you see the other people are playing down there?
- Do you see your friends nearby?
Can You Hear
“Can you hear” is another great way to allow a child to use their senses. This time, they will be using their sense of hearing, which they also know how to use. It allows them to stop for a second and think about their surroundings, which helps to build awareness.
Building awareness is what is most important here. It’s useful to allow your child to build their awareness from a young age. The sooner you can get them used to visual and audio cues, the better off they’ll be when they’re left to figure things out alone.
These examples will show you how it works:
- Can you hear the rushing water close by?
- Can you hear the wind is picking up?
- Can you hear that someone is making a lot of noise down there?
Do You Feel
“Do you feel” is another way to help a child understand their senses. This time, we use the sense of touch and feel. It often allows a child to think twice about what they are currently doing (or what they’re about to do).
If you know that your child is close to danger, you might want to ask them what they can “feel.” It might be wise to draw attention to slippery surfaces underfoot or heat coming from nearby fires.
There are plenty of ways we can play with a child’s sense of feel. And again, it will help them to develop awareness in dangerous situations later on in life.
Have a look at these examples to help you understand it:
- Do you feel the heat coming from the oven?
- Do you feel safe walking across that moss?
- Do you feel stable next to those rocks?
“Try moving” is a way to encourage a child to move in a specific way. Rather than panicking and saying “be careful” without any indication, we could use “try moving” when we want to help them out of an already tricky situation.
Typically, a phrase like this works best when we know our child is in danger. We can use “try moving” to encourage them to take the appropriate steps or movements that will get them out of danger.
It can be all too easy to forget this tactic and panic, but we encourage you not to. If you can give your child a chance to move on their own without stepping in, you’re helping to develop their awareness and maneuverability for good.
These examples will show you how it works:
- Try moving your left foot up on that rock in front of you.
- Try moving across the chasm quickly, and don’t look down.
- Try moving the other way. That should help you get out.
Try Using Your
“Try using your” is similar to “try moving.” This time, you don’t have to refer to the way they move. Instead, you can encourage your children to use their bodies in other ways or use an instrument that we know they have available.
Again, this phrase works best when they are close to danger. It works as a great learning tool, which is ideal if we want them to figure out how to get out of dangerous situations.
Check out these examples to see how it looks:
- Try using your hands to help stabilize yourself.
- Try using your arms as well as your legs.
- Try using your feet to secure you in place before trying again.
What’s Your Plan
“What’s your plan” is a great way to ask your child to formulate their ideas. This gives them a chance to talk you through what they want to do, often encouraging them to understand where they might be going wrong.
If they want to do something that might be foolish or dangerous, asking them a simple question like this might be all you need to talk them out of it. Once they’ve realized their plan won’t work or that you don’t agree with it, they’ll move on to another thing.
These examples will show you what you need to know:
- What’s your plan once you get to the top of that cliff?
- What’s your plan on getting down once you’re up there?
- What’s your plan here, Steven?
Where Will You
“Where will you” uses a simple question to ask what the child is thinking about next. Again, this encourages them to think about a plan or solution to a problem actively. It’s better than a simple “be careful” because it gives them more reason to think about something.
Questions like this are useful because it gives your child a chance to think about the situation. This could help them to interpret any potential dangers that might arise if they had not previously thought about them.
These examples will help you understand its usefulness:
- Where will you put that rock now?
- Where will you move to if you can’t get across there?
- Where will you find your friends?
How Will You
“How will you” is another question we can use. This time, we’re asking them for their method or plan in a situation. Again, it helps them to think for themselves rather than having you try to tell them what they should or shouldn’t do.
There are plenty of ways we can use this:
- How will you get down now?
- How will you get across that pit?
- How will you find your way back without me?
“Who will” is the last question we want to show you. This time, you use “who” to find out who your child intends to do something with. This often shows us their plan or ideas, and we will also know who they are planning to do those things with (and whether we can trust them).
Check out these examples to understand it:
- Who will you go with, then?
- Who will help you get out of that situation?
- Who will help you if I’m not there to supervise?
Why Shouldn’t I Say “Be Careful” To My Kids?
Your kids aren’t as experienced in the world as you. They have not come to understand how the world works fully yet, and they have not understood the danger to the same degree as you.
Saying “be careful” can overlook the simple fact that kids might not know what to “be careful” of. While you can see the danger clearly, your children might not be aware of what you’re trying to point out, and it doesn’t give them enough time to react.
If you want to correctly warn your child of danger or tell them what to do in certain situations, you should use one of the recommendations in this article in place of “be careful.”
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