As parents, it is natural for us to worry about our kids. So, we teach them all kinds of routines and give them phones to carry so that they can call us if they are in any trouble.
But, one of the most important things we need to teach our children is ‘stranger danger’. And, if you haven’t heard of the phrase, don’t worry! Because we at MomJunction believe that it is rather important that you know about stranger danger, what it entails, and its importance for kids. So, read our post below on ‘how to teach your child about stranger danger’.
What Is Stranger Danger For Kids?
‘Stranger danger’ means threat from people you don’t know. It essentially means that strangers can pose a threat to your kids. So, ‘stranger danger’ is any situation that arises from unfamiliar people who may mean harm to your kid .
[ Read: Safety Rules For Kids At School ]
How To Teach Your Child About Stranger Danger?
Not all unfamiliar people are bad. Therefore, just telling your kids to stay away from strangers doesn’t help. What if they are lost at a mall and need to ask for help from, for instance, a store clerk or a security guard who is essentially a stranger? So, you need to not only teach your kids about dangers from strangers but also help them learn to identify dangerous situations involving strangers.
Here are some tips to talk to your kids about stranger danger.
1. Identifying Safe Strangers:
It is important that your kids can identify good strangers from bad strangers.
- Teach your kids about law enforcement officers. Help them understand how they can turn to police officers for help if the situation calls for it. Also, help them know that if they need help, they can turn to store clerks/ security guards with name tags, the elderly and other moms. But help them understand that bad strangers can mask themselves as these ‘safe’ strangers. So, it is crucial that they never approach anyone in an isolated place. Tell your kids that they should only approach a ‘safe’ stranger if they need help.
- Let your kids know that bad people do not always look scary. Help kids understand that ‘a pretty looking woman’ can also be a bad stranger. Kids need to know and understand that behavior separates a good person from a bad one and not her appearance .
2. Handling Unsafe Situations:
Help your kids handle dangerous situations in different scenarios.
- If your kids are home alone, instruct them not to open the door for anyone. If you are expecting a friend or relative in your absence, tell your kids about it. Better still; schedule their visits when you are at home.
- Tell your kids to keep all doors and windows shut at all times.
- Leave a list of people and their phone numbers with your kids in case they need help and can’t reach you .
- Tell your kids to stick to crowds when out and about in public places. If they are out with their friends, tell them to stick with their group at all times.
- Help them understand that it is okay to say ‘no’ to a stranger. Your kids might not want to be rude to someone who approaches them and asks them for help. Your kids must understand that if someone needs help, they can approach any number of adults in the vicinity or elsewhere.
- Also, when required, kids must know to say ‘no’ loudly or forcefully. If a stranger means your kid any harm, that person will walk away from a situation that may attract the attention of others.
- There is as much threat to kids from strangers online as it is elsewhere . Help your kids understand cyber safety rules as soon as they begin to use computers and the Internet .
- Make your kids aware of dangers present online. Ask them to never share their personal information with anyone online. Help the secure their social media accounts. Your kids need to know the importance of posting only safe pictures of these accounts. Teach them how to create strong passwords .
- Tell your kids information about sexual predators that lurk online and attempt to interact with children of all ages. Also, ask your kids to let you know immediately if they experience any form of cyber abuse such as bullying, harassment or sexual advances from strangers.
[ Read: General Safety Tips For Kids ]
3. Teaching Your Kids Safety Procedures:
- Train your kids about age-appropriate safety training modules on ‘stranger danger’.
- When your kids can speak, they must know not only their name but also your name, phone number, and address. Teach your toddler to use this information, if by chance he is lost and needs to communicate with a safe stranger.
- Help your kids understand that it is imperative that you know their whereabouts at all times. Teenagers may not like the fact, but tell them that this is for their safety, and you are not trying to keep tabs on them. Earn their trust so they do not lie to you.
- Tell your kids to trust their gut. If their instinct tells them that someone means them harm, they might be right. Teach your kids to run away or yell for help when they sense danger from a stranger .
Some More Stranger Danger Tips For Kids:
Here are some more ideas for teaching about ‘stranger danger for children’.
- Teach your kids about dangerous tricks strangers may employ to ensnare them. Strangers approaching kids for help in finding their lost kid, asking them to borrow their phone or pleading for help (by feigning sickness) are some common scenarios criminals employ to harm kids.
- Ask your kids to tell you if any person makes them feel uncomfortable in anyway. These could be inappropriate touching, threats, harassment of any kind.
- Instruct your kids to never accept money, food or gifts from strangers.
- Teach them to think twice before indulging in online games, contests, and offers. Your kids must know that they must not reveal their name or address to strangers. For instance, your kids are waiting for you outside their school compound/playground and a stranger might approach them and ask for information in the way of friendly chitchat .
[ Read: Separation Anxiety In Children ]
Teaching kids about stranger danger is a tricky situation. But keep reinforcing ‘stranger danger’ lessons on your kid not all strangers are bad. Hope these tips and instructions will help you to tackle the issue successfully.
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