I've started doing what I call, "Common Sense Building Activities" with my children each night. I use a few different variations to start good conversations with my children about how they would react to real-life situations.
Green Fish: If they pull a green fish we discuss it all together. The green fish have low-level everyday problems that don't require an immediate decision.
Yellow Fish: Pulling a yellow fish would require that they think and come up with an answer on their own. The yellow fish have a mid-level problem on them that would require social interaction or a quick decision.
Red Fish: A red fish means they only have 5 seconds to answer. Red fish have emergency high-level scenarios on them that would require making a decision in just moments.
Another game we play and discuss real-life scenarios and solutions is with bowling pins. I tape my scenarios on the bottom and when they bowl and knock them down, we pick up the ones that were knocked down and talk about the scenarios on the bottom.
Our family has had several experiences where the scenarios we discussed have actually happened, and our children have been able to respond appropriately because they've practiced their response. I'm so grateful that I took a few moments to talk with them, those conversations have really paid off.
Here are a few examples of scenarios we discuss:
- “I can’t find my shoes. I took them off in my room yesterday....”
- “A stranger took my hand....”
- "I'm feeling grumpy when I wake up...."
- "I have $500 to pay for rent that is due today but I want to spend the money on something else..."
- "My little brother took my favorite book without asking and tore the pages...."
- "Someone asks to touch me in a private area...."
These conversations offer opportunities to talk to my children about important subjects and offer parental advice in a relaxed positive setting. I feel more comfortable knowing that my children have some strategies for dealing with the world and are used to thinking through tough situations.