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Parking Lots and Kids

Updated on May 4, 2013

Safety in those parking lots!

When was the last time you went shopping with the kids? Assuming you have some younger kiddos, you park the car, jump out and grab hands. I guess if they aren’t under 4, you probably just have them walk beside you (because we respect their freedom, right?). During this walk to the front doors of the store, do you ever talk about what you’re actually doing?

Just yesterday the kids and I went to Target to pick up a birthday gift for a party this weekend. We get out of the car and start walking toward the doors and I immediately start quizzing my kids. You see, my kids have been through this questioning since they were able to walk; parking lots freak me out because of the risk they can potentially pose to my kids. Distracted soccer moms jumping in their minivans with their phones up to their ears and a backseats full of little crumb snatchers can be quite a distraction.

Which side of the isle should we be walking on? “Dad, we know” Tell me then. They go on to explain that we walk the way the cars drive, as close to the parked cars as possible while still being able to see the white lights. Yes, the white lights. Why are we looking for the white lights? “Dad, because the white lights mean the car is in reverse”. Good, but what else are we looking for? They tell me that we are also looking for people sitting in their cars so we can anticipate a quick start and back up. We are also looking behind us for cars approaching from the rear and always watching the cars toward us. We have to be cautious when we pass open spots for that person who is only focused on grabbing that spot up close and not the pedestrians walking.

Ok, so you are doing really well today, so lets cross through these parking spots. Impress me, how do we walk through these spots? “Dad, we know!” Of course they do, but what a wasted opportunity not to make them think of something besides TV, boys or fighting with each other. My kids get an ‘A’ for coming up with the right answer. We walk the white lines when we walk across parking spots. The lines are the cleanest spots in the lot. Oil soaked asphalt in the center of spots can and will ruin some shoes and also follow you back to your car and eventually home. I don’t know about the rest of you but I don’t want to have to shampoo the carpet in my vehicle and house every month.

Bonus points for can whoever can identify what I’m doing (I’m rotating my head back and forth). “Your head is on a swivel!” Correct, and yours should be as well. You can have five extra minutes sleeping tomorrow. “That’s not enough”. Well, no extra time sleeping then.

This process of questioning the kids takes no more than 2 minutes but the lessons learned last a lifetime. I may be a pain in the rear when I do this to my kids, but its entertainment for me, and its actually important stuff.


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