Strangers are people who family members haven’t met before and ‘stranger danger’ is a feeling we get around certain strangers which helps us to stay cautious around them. Although many strangers are kind and friendly, it is important for children to keep themselves safe. Today’s children should know what to do when they encounter a stranger and there are ways that parents can educate their children about proper interactions with strangers.
With that in mind, we are going to take a look at some ways that parents can talk to their kids about stranger danger:
Talk Openly- parents should talk openly to children about the risks of stranger danger. They should know who and what strangers are. Although children shouldn’t be fearful of any stranger, they should know about the potential risks. As children grow, their knowledge about this topic should be reinforced further. Get a handle on how your children think about strangers and it is important to address any misconceptions they might have.
Teach About Good And Bad Strangers- it is not possible to assume a stranger is good or bad only by their appearance. Good strangers to trust are typically mothers with children, police officers, security guards, uniformed store employees, and firefighters. Possible signs of bad strangers are adults who voluntarily approach children to offer sweets, offer help, or ask for directions.
Role Play- after identifying potentially good or bad strangers, parents need to role play different scenarios with children. There are many ‘what-if’ situations that apply depending on certain situation. With these exercises, parents can teach children how to handle difficult situations. Make it very clear that your children shouldn’t follow anyone or enter a stranger’s car. Children should maintain a safe distance, beyond the physical reach of the adult. Make sure that the role-play exercise is an educating learning experience, instead of something overly scary.
Locate Safe Places- if possible, children should remain in safe places to avoid being targeted by bad strangers. Schools and crowded public spaces are fairly safe, if children want to keep their distance from unknown adults. When riding a bike to or from school, parents should show the safest route. When in public spaces, teach children how to find good strangers, like security guards or police officers. Children should know about the dangers of staying too long in deserted areas.
Teach Them Say No- if children know that they are in danger, they should say no and immediately run away. They can yell while running away and look for a crowd of people. They may draw attention and helpful adults may provide assistance.
Give Children A Phone- although there are concerns about giving children smartphones, this allows parents to check the whereabouts of their children. There are family GPS tracker apps that can help parents constantly monitor the location of their children as well.
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