If you are involved with shooting sports but didn’t grow up in a household that kept guns, you might be wondering when the best time to introduce your child to basic gun safety is.
Even if you did grow up with guns, it can be difficult to determine when you first began to learn basic safety and responsibility in their presence and when handling them.
Plus all children are very different, so it can be hard to determine exactly what to teach and when. This article briefly introduces some tips to help you decide what is best for your family. It explains the benefits of why it’s never too early to model and practice good firearm safety.
Benefits Of Gun Safety Classes For Kids
Irresponsible use of firearms results in hundreds of tragic accidents every year and unfortunately some of these happen in the hands of young children.
Simply hiding away or pretending guns don’t exist has proven to be an ineffective measure as it is impossible to control every aspect of every household your child may come in contact with, but what can you do to ensure your family is not a victim to firearm misuse?
The answer is simple: education.
Of course, you want to always keep guns locked away safely if you have them in your house, but educating children from a young age on how to recognize and report a gun to an adult is a good first step, and as they grow older, teaching them proper respect and use of one is a responsible- and safe choice.
Use the beneficial skills that can be taught surrounding gun use in conjunction with the regular school curriculum to help strengthen various skills.
A Gun Is Not A Toy
Remove the mystery of the firearm that can be so alluring to young children, and teach them what a gun is and what it can do.
For many preschool-age children, once their curiosity is satisfied, they aren’t as interested anymore.
A Gun Is Not Scary, But Is Dangerous
A lesson in caution surrounding firearms is important, and can even be extended to other situations.
Learning respect from a young age may help give them pause if they ever come across a gun in an unexpected setting, or while visiting friends or family. It also will help them use one responsibly when they are old enough to handle one.
What To Do When They See A Gun
It is important for a child to be able to recognize and communicate when they see an unsecured gun.
First and foremost, knowing what to do (stay away and find an adult) and say (there is a gun and children near it) is a good building block of responsible gun use and future ownership.
What Guns Are Used For
Shooting sports, hunting, and self-defense are all reasons why a person may own firearms, and teaching a child why guns are used is as important as understanding how they are used.
Lessons On Basic Gun Safety Rules
Basic gun safety and handling can be started at a young age as well with BB guns, or even nerf guns designated specifically for practice uses.
Simple basics such as never looking down a barrel, keeping your finger off the trigger, and never pointing it at anything you don’t want to shoot are things even a young child can understand. These skills work with fine motor skills as well as following basic directions.
Learning How To Recognize Different Viewpoints
There are MANY different viewpoints surrounding firearm use, and young children are in tune with the adult world – more than we want to admit.
Having conversations about why people may have a different view than you do is important to build communication and relationship skills. It also helps foster respect for differing views and the ability to disagree without becoming emotionally upset over a topic.
Where To Start Educating Children
Even if you are adept at firearm use and responsibility, knowing how to effectively communicate this to your child can be difficult. This is especially true of children who would rather hear new knowledge from a source other than a parent.
Despite this, education always begins in the home with proper modeling of responsible behavior such as firearm use, cleaning, and storage. But having more in-depth conversations may need some additional resources.
Online Gun Safety Classes
A popular online curriculum concerning this is the Eddie Eagle Program. This program began over 30 years ago and is a popular choice to help educate parents on how to introduce gun safety in a way that children can remember. Not only does it provide resources for parents. It offers excellent materials for children to help drive home the importance of this subject.
Another popular course is the Kidwise Firearm Safety Course for Children. This also helps highlight the importance of the 3 basic rules of when you see a firearm and offers an interactive video and materials to use.
Supported by Canadian conservation and hunter education, this is a course used to help support the ethical and humane use of wildlife, as well as furthering education and instruction development. It has been in use since 1984.
In-person classes are often more effective than online courses or can supplement an online course to help make the point more poignant for curious little minds.
Taught by trained firearm safety instructors, these may be offered through various shooting clubs, concealed weapon instructors, hunter’s safety courses, and local police stations.
Gun Safety Classes For Kids
Even though this may be a topic that is uncomfortable, it has long been proved that mastering what makes you uncomfortable and becoming educated on the subject allows you to better understand it.
Modeling learning behavior for children and approaching subjects such as firearm safety and use head-on takes away the mystery- and helps children have the responsibility in their own safety concerning it.
Thanks for reading our post on gun safety classes for kids – you might also be interested in chainsaw safety for kids!