Today, Master 3 and I went to watch my sister skydive.
Knowing that Master 3 had never seen anything of the sort and that he would be asking many questions and doing a lot of wondering, I prepared him in a few different ways beforehand.
Firstly, we marked the date on our (cheap) calendar. We referred to this here and there leading up to it to show him it was an ‘exciting’ and ‘different’ event.
On the day, I drew Master 3 a very simple drawing to help him to understand and really visualise it.
Then, we could talk about it and relate it to what he knew, looking at things from Master 3’s perspective. For example:
- how high will the plane go into the sky – somewhere between here and the stars/moon
- where will they land – at a beach a bit of a car ride away
- what is the parachute – like the parachute they play with at daycare and what is it for
- why does she skydive with someone else
Next, we decided to play a ‘parachute’ game under a sheet, just to create more interest about the day.
On the way there, there were still many more questions from Master 3 and yes he did repeat many. Where are we going?, Where is ‘aunty’?, Where is her car?… That was okay. I kept answering them knowing he was still unsure of exactly what was going to happen and was trying to get things straight in his head. This was a new experience for him – and also myself!!
At the time
We talked about what would happen again, once we got to the site. We looked out for things like the flag to tell us where to wait and how we would know when aunty was going to jump. We took photos during, so we could look back on them later. We talked about how his aunty might feel – nervous and a little bit scared but thinking from Master 3’s point of view (why on EARTH would she do this if she was nervous/scared), explained also excited as she liked the idea of looking at Earth from a different view and feeling like she was ‘flying’ (Master 3 has an interest in space and birds).
We talked about whether Master 3 liked the experience of watching, if he’d want to do it in the future and showed photos to Daddy to put the experience into his own words, practice ‘story retell’.
After all of this, we have truly ‘done’ skydiving from a 3 year old’s perspective. Hopefully he got a lot more out of this than if we’d just told him as we’d gotten in the car, answered questions then and driven home. And surely he will remember the occasion for a lot longer too as we really strengthened some neural pathways in his brain today!!