How To Teach Your Children First Aid That Instills Responsibility

We love tray learning for all the around-the-house training that the Bug needs.  I was cleaning out my old Cub Scout box the other day and realized that she is about the same age and has had no formal first-aid instruction.  Bad scout leader!  

Teaching first-aid to a child is important for many reasons.  Proper first-aid is important, obviously, in case of an emergency.  Safety is important to teach, and teaching first-aid helps reinforce safety procedures around the house.  First-aid instruction also helps create a sense of responsibility in a child and challenges them to be responsible for themselves and others.

Before you start creating your learning tray, you should carefully consider your child's developmental stage.  I am obviously not going to teach full CPR to my eight year old daughter.  She would not be ready to handle herself in that type of emergency . . . I'll give her credit for being a bit tougher than I probably think she is, though.  You will want to choose first aid training with a couple of other essentials in mind for your own student before beginning:

1.  Age appropriate first-aid skills
2.  Ability to handle emergency situations
3.  Child's learning style
4.  Need for challenging instruction

My child needs to develop in her auditory skills and needs help in following verbal instruction.  Give her something to read or allow her to write it down, no problem, but tell her . . . forget it!  This is why I typically only provide verbal instructions when giving her a learning tray, and not written instructions.  She needs no stretching or discipline in the area of reading or writing, FOR REAL!  The trick is actually how to keep her nose OUT of a book. She needs challenging in the area of verbal instruction . . . it is seriously in one ear and out the other.  You can, however; write instruction cards or directions for your child to work more independently with the learning tray.

Here is the First-Aid Tray we prepared:

Materials needed:
Bandages (various sizes)
Triple Antibiotic Ointment
Antiseptic Wipe
Burn Cream
Sting Relief Product
Cotton Swabs
Instant Cold Pack
Rubber Gloves 

Lesson Steps for First-Aid Tray:

1.  Discuss the "Be Courageous" discipline of First-Aid from the BSA Cub Scout handbooks - Be Strong. Be Calm.  Be Clear. Be Careful.  This opens up great discussion about the importance of being brave in times of need or emergency.  I had the Bug document the 4 steps of "Being Courageous" and then we discussed each step and it's importance.

2.  Discuss basic first-aid in regards to self-care.  You will not want to encourage first-aid application on anyone other than family, until a later date.  (5th or 6th grade is more developmentally appropriate for this type of instruction.)  Here we discussed what to do in the case of a scratch on your own finger.  
{I used a red pen to make a "scratch" on the Bug's finger.}

{Then we reviewed the steps to applying first-aid on herself beginning with washing the wound. . . looks like her hands needed some washing anyhow.}

{I then allowed the Bug to choose the appropriately sized bandage and apply it to her finger.}

3.  Review steps you would like the child to take for each first-aid procedure and item to be used.  Example:  When someone else is bleeding and it cannot be stopped you would . . . "Go get mommy or daddy to help."  Then you could add extra steps like, "Yes, and you could also get a gauze or the first-aid kit for mom or dad to use."  Now, review all the items in the first-aid kit, specifying which can be used by the child and which items are only to be used with an adults supervision.

{The Bug is reviewing the instructions on the Instant Cold Pack}

The Squeaker had a nice little boo-boo that the Bug was allowed to practice first-aid on.  She really enjoyed using the gloves and "doctoring-up" big sister.

4.  Discuss location of first-aid kits in your home and when to use them.

5.  Review and Discuss emergency phone numbers.  This is a great lesson in alphabetical order.  I had the Bug look up all the numbers in the phone book and list them to post on the refrigerator. 

Happy Homeschooling!
The Joyful Socks Mom     
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