When I was six years old, you could find me roller skating in the street, unsupervised, on any day of the summer. Or maybe you'd have seen me walking my four-year-old brother to the neighborhood swimming pool. Afterward, I'd cook up some pancakes or walk the dog on my own. Let's just say that my own kids do none of these things without an adult by their sides.
Living in a hyper-protective society, I've been wary of allowing my children to wander independently, though I do want to give them the doses of freedom. I felt like I needed a roadmap to transition them into independent teenagers in a way that we could both feel good about, so I sought help.
Kidpower aims to teach children awareness and safety skills with a focus on confidence and fun, and I wanted a piece of that. I attended a Kidpower Safety and Self-Defense Workshop (directed at ages 6 to 12) with my seven-year old, based on strong word-of-mouth among my parent friends.
My child and I were both were engaged and learning for the entire four-hour session, though one of us did get fidgety a few times. I understand that since we attended they've pared the sessions down even further to be shorter. Though there is a ton of important info, I'm certain the shorter sessions are easier for kids to absorb and retain the lessons.
We came away with key learnings that we can remind each other of on a regular basis, in hopes that they become routine. A good one for both kids and adults: put your technology away, be aware, and look around. Kidpower sent us home with an activity book stuffed with more tips that we might have missed during class.
Though our workshop involved punching a heavily-padded adult and learning a few cool fighting moves, the majority of our session was spent learning proactive safety skills and how to avoid dangerous situations and people. Kids are encouraged to use their voices to be ambassadors of safety in the home and at school. (Kids is your grown-up ignoring your constant pleas? Tell them, “It's about safety,” so they'll pay attention)
The instructors didn't accept any audience questions so the topic is tightly controlled to stay positive and educational (and not veer down any unexpected paths).
The Starting Strong Kidpower Workshop helps kids as young as age three to help recognize helpful adults, identify dangerous choices, and practice their new skills and power using puppets and games. Instructors help parents learn the techniques for building more skills over time.
Safety and self-defense classes are taught in an age-appropriate way for teenagers and adults, too. Our children need the tools to move from heavily supervised to complete freedom.
From their website, the Kidpower mission is to “prepare people of all ages, abilities, and walks of life with training, resources, and skills to prevent and stop bullying, abuse, kidnapping, prejudice, and sexual assault.” They help build good safety habits into our families.
Workshops are offered for various age groups in Berkeley, San Francisco, and Palo Alto on a periodic basis. Find a future class in Berkeley on their website >>
I attended a Kidpower safety workshop with my seven-year old. We paid full price. This review was not compensated in any way.