It is still a few years before we will feel comfortable having our kids carry firearms on a hunting trip. It is not however, too early for them to learn how to respect and handle a gun. There is much controversy (probably not for OSR readers) among parents regarding toy guns. For our family, pretend guns have become a really great training tool for introducing gun safety.
One of our children’s favorite games is to “play hunting.” This began at their grandparent’s house as a game Grandaddy plays with the grandsons. He hides turkey decoys among the trees behind the house and the boys take turns shooting with Grandaddy’s special toy guns. The rules of the hunt and gun safety apply just as much in the backyard as they do in the woods on a real hunt.
We have recently bought a second toy gun, so that both of our older children can “hunt” together.
We take guns seriously and we expect our children to do the same. So, when they want to play with their toy guns they have a few guidelines.
-We never point a gun at a person – so we do not let toy guns be used for playing army or cowboys and indians, etc. Guns are only for shooting game , period. (Learning to defend yourself and your family with a gun will come at a much later date and we feel it is unneccessary to teach at this stage.)
-We carry and hold a gun in such a way that we keep ourself and those around us safe.
-We take care of the gun and put it away when we are finished with it…. it is not a common toy to be left laying in the backyard.
When our kiddos are older and we feel comfortable letting them begin shooting and carrying real firearms we will go more in-depth with safety training. As Tennessee hunters they will also be required to take a hunter’s safety course when they begin hunting.
I expect my children to grow up to be hunters, it is what they have seen and experienced their whole lives. We want them to be comfortable and confident when holding and carrying a gun, and we want safety to be second nature for them.
How to you handle gun training with your children and do you have any tips for teaching healthy fear and respect for firearms?
post and pictures by Sunshine