Dear caring parents,
Children are the most innocent creatures in the world where everything around them are seen as equally pure and guiltless but opening the chapter on teaching safety for kids around strangers can be contradicting with their belief and at times planting more fear than alert if not properly handled. So how should you impart the knowledge of safety around strangers without infusing too much of the insecurity?
3 Most Effective Ways To Teach Safety For Kids Around Strangers
Raising a street smart kid is a tall challenge in that you want to help them develop their own sets of judgment on personal safety rather than pinpointing on rigid rules and actions to follow when dealing with situations that may deviate with conditions.
Teaching Street Smart Without Fear
Instead of planting fear to perk their security awareness, children can be taught on safety for kids around strangers in highly interactive yet productive manner. They are more likely to absorb better if you reinforce their understanding with Q&As, discussions and “True/False” validations during anytime of the day in-between any activities.
Safety lessons are not effective by plainly rewinding your reminders. From time to time, bring the topic out of the books and table talks to controlled public settings. Interact with your child by asking him/her to go to a nearby shop without your close company and encourage him to apply the safety rules he/she has learnt to build confidence.
So, what are the important elements in teaching safety for kids around strangers?
#1: Don’t Prototype
In Disney’s cartoons, children can instantly identify the villain and hence may find it hard to relate to bad strangers who disguise in clean, sleek attires. It is therefore crucial to clarify to them that any person they barely or do not know are considered strangers whom they should keep a distance from until mommy and daddy clear their status.
But in guiding their development on personal safety judgment, you can slowly make them understand that a cool street smart kid should know how to seek help from the right individual in the event of losing their way, being bullied or even threatened. Show them how the approachable police officers, librarians, store cashiers, firefighters and so on looks like whenever you’re out and about to give them a good and realistic picture.
#2: Emphasize On Situations and Scenarios
In educating child about safety for kids around strangers, it does take quite a different approach to match their level of understanding and perspective. Toddlers may only need to be familiarized with fixed sets of conditions that flag danger as they are more limited in mobility while older children who have more freedom around the neighborhood without adult’s companion should be made aware of official impersonators and safe places to get stranger’s help if necessary.
Recognizing Dangerous Situations
Young children find it hard to resist temptations and parents should constantly remind them to avoid people who:
- Offer them treats
- Present them with parcels or gifts
- Inviting them to join in secret games
- Ask them to join other kids to a fun place
- Claim to help their moms or dads to fetch them
- Pick their interest/curiosity to look at or touch something
Recognizing Impersonation and Suspicious Behavior
Older children, on the other hand, should also be made aware of tricky tactics and situations that may land them in trouble, such as:
Children can always ask for help from adults but adults SHOULD NEVER seek help from them. It can appear contradictory with the moral lessons they’re taught initially but try to help them differentiate that caring and sharing amongst classmates and playgroups are acceptable but they’re too young to help an adult even if they appear to be in distress and the best they can do is inform approachable adults nearby to help. Some of the common plots are:
- Asking them to help track lost pets
- Asking them to help gather dropped items
- Pretend to be lost and ask them for directions
- Children also tend to warm up fast with new acquaintance especially the nice, polite and generous strangers who may slowly gain their trust to allow for closer proximity. Overtime, they may fail to realize as being exploited for performing requests out of friendship and empathy and it is therefore important to talk through the daily activities with your child to sniff out possible warning signs of impending danger.
Children are also easily dubbed into feigned emergency situations that involve family members who are the emotional poles for them. Tell your children that you appreciate their care but rushing to the scenes may not help much. Instead, get the help of teacher or principals to validate the situation by contacting you if they’re in school area or get someone nearby to seek help from police officers.
#3: Teaching Safety For Kids Around Strangers with P-A-D APPROACH
When it comes to managing kids safety, nothing works better than getting the kids prepared for the unexpected. And the best groundwork to teach safety for kids around strangers should center around 3 crucial aspects, P-A-D as in PREPARE-AVOID-DEFEND.
Prepare – Equip your child with skills and techniques to improve awareness of dangerous situations.
Avoid – Teach your child to identify danger-prone locations to steer clear of life-threatening situation.
Defend – Teach your child the correct responses to dangerous situations.