For most of us, the rules of personal safety during our childhood were pretty straightforward. Come to think of it, there was just one rule: try to avoid strangers and don’t talk to them. Over the years, we’ve learned that this “stranger is a danger” rule might be tad too simplistic. Terming every person a child does not recognize as stranger may create confusion in the mind of child and may also interfere with his or her willingness to seek help when needed.
Children who’re trained in basic safety principles and know the ways to determine which strangers are safe to talk with are better off than ones that taught to avoid anyone they don’t know. Therefore, we’ve compiled a list of important things that you need to teach your child about strangers:
* Define Stranger-Most of the time kids associate the word stranger with villain. It’s common for kids to think of strangers as dark, masculine figures. Therefore you should teach your child that every stranger is not a villain. When you will discuss strangers with your children, define this word in simple terms, such as “stranger is a person we don’t know.”
* All Strangers are Not Bad-Try to communicate to your child that it is difficult to brand an unknown person as a good or bad stranger simply by looking at him or her. Help your child identify which stranger they can trust, such as mom with other kids, a policeman, a store clerk, or a waitress.
* Adults Seeking Help- You should teach your child that adults will never turn to a child for help. Discuss various red flags such as a person trying to seek their help in search of lost child or pet, or asking for directions by pulling up alongside them in a car.
* Identify all Unsafe Places- Keep in mind that Internet is not the only unsafe place for kids. Teach your kids that any isolated location such as parking lots, backyard woods, or dark street ways should never be entered alone.
* It’s Okay to Simply Say No- We usually teach our children to obey grown-ups and respect them. It’s also necessary that you give permission to them to say No if somebody tries to grab or touch them. Letting children know they won’t be in trouble if they assert themselves is definitely an important element in keeping them safe.
* Create your Family Secret Codeword-Choose an obscure, yet easy to remember password such as, “Ooga Booga”. Teach your kids that anybody who tires to offer them a ride back home or claims some emergency, must know that secret password. If person doesn’t know the password, he can’t be trusted.
* Give your Child a Sense of Control-When it comes to children, don’t behave like an almighty protector. Make them feel as if they’re in control. For instance, instead of telling your child, “stay where I can see you”, give them a sense of control by saying, “make sure you can easily see me. This will also take a lot of pressure off you to see like an Hawk-eye.
* Identify All Safe Spots-These are places where your child can go in case of any emergency. Some examples include local stores, houses of people you may know, police or fire station, and restaurants. Also make sure your child knows the shortest and safest routes to reach these places.
Although it is not possible to protect children from strangers at all times, but you can surely teach them about appropriate behaviors and what they can do if somebody crosses the line. Keep all these tips in mind as they can help your kids stay safe while they’re out and about.
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