Five Things You Should Teach Your Kids About Safety
When you tell your kid not to talk to strangers, are you sure you’re sending the right message?
Not all strangers are bad guys. On the same note, not all bad guys wear masks and black leather jackets. There are bad guys who carry around toys with them and there are others who can buy ice creams and candies. Some of them could be asking for directions while some can pretend to be a long lost relative. Whatever is the case, you should make your kid smart enough to know the difference when they’re outside.
As such, when you give your child instructions on what to do when he’s not with you, you should try to avoid sending mixed signals. They can be more confusing for your child. Instead, you can build a safelist he can easily follow.
1. Don’t talk to strangers.
However, it is also rude to ignore older people, right?
This is an example of a mixed signal you may be sending your child when you’re teaching him ways to be safe outside. Obviously, it’s hard not to worry over strangers possibly abducting and harming your child. However, the truth is, you may have to check your data again.
- Not all strangers do bad things. On the contrary, most of the reported cases of abduction actually involve someone a child personally knows.
Instead of such rule, why not teach your kid what he can do in certain situations? You can play the “What if” game for this.
- Ask: What if someone pulls over and ask you for directions?
- Say: I’m just a kid. I can’t help you.
- Do: Walk away fast and find an adult you know.
- Ask: What if you get lost in the mall?
- Do: Find someone in uniform with a name tag to ask for help.
- Ask: What if someone wants to give you candies and asks for your address?
- Yell: No!
- Do: Run away fast and look for someone older who can help you.
You must also be clear when referring to the word “stranger”. Making wrong impressions can affect how your child interact and socialize with other people. On the same note, you must be able to emphasize to your child that:
- A stranger is someone you don’t personally know or someone who hasn’t been introduced to you.
- A stranger may not necessarily look strange. He may dress well and appear nice, too.
- A stranger may know your name or your parent’s name.
- A stranger can pretend to be you parent’s friend or someone the family knows.
2. Make a secret code.
It’s easy to make kids believe on certain situations as they are not as suspicious as adults. In effect, bad people see them as easy targets.
Someone can reach your child and tell him you got involved in an accident and that he needs to take him home. A stranger can say you ask him to pick him up. He can even pretend to be your friend just to get your kid’s trust. On such cases, it’s a must for your kid to learn to not believe in what everyone says.
- You can create a secret code that he can use to make sure he’s talking to the right person.
- If a stranger approaches him and tells him he’s there to pick him up, he can ask for the secret code. If the stranger fails to give out the right code, tell your kid to run fast and go to his teacher or his friend’s parent for help.
- In case someone else knows or hears about the code, change it immediately.
- You must also tell your kid to not share it with his friends or classmates. It needs to be kept as a secret.
3. Find a buddy.
Always remind your kid not to walk alone, take shortcuts or enter empty lots and buildings. It may help him understand if you fully explain why he needs to have a friend with him if he needs to walk his way home or why he needs to have an adult with him if he needs to go to the mall.
- Make sure your child understands that you trust him and that it’s other people that you don’t trust.
4. Say where you’re going.
It’s important that you keep a tab on where your kid is going and on what time he needs to be home. However, it’s equally important that your kid knows the importance of why he needs to let you know.
- Give enough trust that your child feels trusted. If he feels too restricted, he may lie about his whereabouts and that renders him more vulnerable to bad guys.
- Be sure to explain that you need to know where he is so that when an emergency happens, you’ll know where to find him.
- Let him know that you only need to know he’s safe.
5. Run and Scream!
If something happens, your child needs to be mentally prepared. You can tell him what he needs to do on such situations and make sure he remembers them well. You can rehearse and repeat.
- Drop everything you’re holding and pull away as hard as you can.
- Kick, bite and scratch if you have to.
- Do everything to get people’s attention.
- Scream “I don’t know you!” or “You’re not my dad!”
- Once you got out of the hold, run as fast as you can.
- Find a safer place. Look for a police station, a church or your school to ask for help.
While it’s important to keep your child safe, you can’t always be at his side to assure everything’s alright. You have work and he also need to grow up and experience the world. You can’t always restrict him to one place just to be sure he’s fine. As such, it’s vital that you to teach him the value of vigilance at an earlier age. He must stay alert to avoid falling as prey to the bad guys.
After all, you wouldn’t want your kid to get the wrong signal, right?.