I happened across this site today called The Inklings of Life and as I was scrolling through skimming the page, I saw The Most Important Thing You can Teach Your Toddler. I read the story about her 2-year-old getting lost in a store (heart attack for any parent!) It has a happy ending, don't worry. ;)
This article got me thinking, though, about the things we teach our toddlers. There are obvious things: ABC's and 123's, first names, ages. But what about the not-so-obvious things? Things like last names and, maybe more importantly, names of those who care for them. My MIL started teaching Fuss my name as well as Hubby's before we did. I think that was mainly because she calls Hubby by his first name as she does me. One day, Fuss just asked who "Michael" and "Tara" were. Now she knows our names very well and if asked she will tell you. She also knows the names of MIL, FIL, my Mom and Step-Dad. She gets a little confused now and then, but has it pretty well down-pat. I think, though, in addition to teaching names, a toddler also needs to know WHAT to do if they are lost.
I actually told Fuss that if she ever loses Mommy or Daddy in the store that she is to find a grown up and ask for help. I always tell her if she is lost she needs to tell someone, "I have lost my Mommy and Daddy. Please help me." Oddly enough, I had the occasion to test this out in Target one evening. She happened to be dragging behind and I slipped around the corner before she noticed. I listened and I hear, "Oh no! I've lost my Mommy! Please help me!" (I actually chuckled when I heard this, but it made me proud at the same time.) At that point, I peeked around the corner and she ran to me. She then says, "Mommy, I thought I lost you! I'm glad you're back!" I then received a HUGE hug!
It only takes a little bit of repetition to teach them things like names. And, generally, if they start calling you by your first name and get no response (or a "Who?") they quickly correct themselves to Mommy or Daddy. I am really glad Fuss knows our names and knows what to do if she gets lost. Fingers crossed we never have to actually go through the motions of finding out how effective it is.
The only other thing I am trying to slowly teach that could help in the future is 9-1-1. We are not practicing it and she doesn't fully understand the idea of an "emergency" but I know she will get there.
Do you teach your kids your real names and the names of those who care for them on a regular basis? Why or why not?