It's so very important to teach your child about stranger safety, but some parents just don’t know where to start. Above all, it's important to keep your conversations age-appropriate, although you shouldn’t sugar-coat this situation. If you’re looking for different ways to teach your child about stranger safety, read on.
1. Play out Scenarios
One really effective way to teach your child about stranger safety is through the use of role-playing. Play out different scenarios, such as a stranger asking if your child wants a lift home, or someone the child knows saying something that makes him or her feel uncomfortable. Teach your children to identify a bad situation and let you know immediately.
2. Point out Safe Places and People
It is important that your child knows where to go or who to talk to if he or she is in a situation where they feel uncomfortable, but you’re not around. Show your child where the police station is, or crowded shopping centers, and point out policemen, firemen and teachers. Let your child know that is okay to approach those people when they feel in danger.
Repetition is key. Get your child to repeat your phone number and the emergency number, to make sure he or she remembers. Repeat scenarios. Repeatedly point out safe people and places. Doing this will ensure your child doesn’t forget anything important, and feels comfortable knowing what to do in a dangerous situation.
4. Explain Their Anatomy
Teaching your child about his or her body is very important. If your children know the places they shouldn’t be touched, then they will feel more comfortable speaking out if they don’t feel right. Explain they there are some areas that are private areas, and that no one else should ever touch them there, or anywhere else they don’t feel comfortable with.
5. Teach Them about Instinct
Children are even more intuitive than adults, and it is a good idea to teach your kids to pay attention to their instincts. It’s important for your kids to know that they will never be criticized for asking for help, and if they don’t feel happy or safe for whatever reason, they should let you know as soon as possible.
6. It’s OK to Yell
Teach your children to be loud! If your child is taken by a stranger, they need to know what to do. It’s a great idea to teach them to yell as loud as possible (things like “I don’t know you!” work especially well), hit, scream and draw attention to themselves in any way possible. The world needs to know that this person is not supposed to be around your child!
7. Develop a Code Word
Another great idea I’ve found is creating a code word that lets your child know who is safe to be taken by. If someone is picking up your child that isn’t you, make sure they know the secret codeword, that they can then say to your child so that your child knows it is safe to go with them. Teach your child that if the person doesn’t know the codeword, don’t go anywhere with them.
It’s so important to teach your children about stranger danger as soon as they are old enough to understand, and to keep reinforcing these points. Keep the language age-appropriate, but make sure you’re getting the point across. How do you teach your children about stranger danger?