Does your child know their way home?
As parents, we often think of the worst scenarios that might endanger our children in order to prevent them. What if their school bus dropped them off four streets away? Or if they got lost in the shopping centre and need to make their way back to the car?
It is important to teach our children navigation skills from an early age, not just for their own safety, but to give them a sense of familiarity and affinity with the area where they live.
Parents on Reddit have shared fun ways to teach children navigation and memory skills through everyday tasks.
“Super effective way to build kids independence, confidence and navigation skills,” parent yourmamasgravy wrote. “I do this anytime I take them hiking, fishing, shopping, etc. Can you find where we parked? Can you get us from this spot on the hiking trail back to our home?”
“My mum used to play a “game” with me when I was a kid,” added another Redditor, mocachinoo.
“Whenever we were driving she would randomly ask “how would you get home from here?” I was young and obviously couldn’t say street names but I would always tell her things like “left and then you go by a street and take a right…” Didn’t realize until later in life that was so if I ever got lost I’d know how to get home.”
“It’s helped me navigation-wise so much too. Since I always wanted to “win” the game I’d pay attention to things and landmarks. I can usually always get back if I go somewhere without GPS (still use it obviously) and I learn new cities quick.”
Another parent, Happy_Camper45, added a fun element to the game:
“We did this with my mum and now I do the same with my kids. If we have time, I’ll obey every turn, even the wrong ones. We have some laughs, learn different areas of the town, and I’m always there to help them/us get back on track when needed.
“We also wave at the police station, fire stations, the town hall, schools, friends’ houses, and other places that I consider safe places. They don’t know I’m pointing out places on purpose, they just like to wave. Sometimes the firefighters are outside and will wave back, that puts a smile on everyone’s faces!”
Even children of preschool age aren’t too young to benefit from knowing their whereabouts and where their house is located on their street. And we are never too young to learn how to give and take directions — it is an important life skill that is undervalued and often overlooked.