Each and every day, children see strangers in passing at the park, grocery store, or around the block. While most of these strangers are nice, ordinary people, some of them might not be. Teaching your children the importance of stranger danger can be a crucial lesson that saves them from potential threats down the line. Here are a few things to teach your child about personal safety:
Understand Who is Considered a Stranger
It is important to teach your children that not every bad stranger looks scary like we see in cartoons. A stranger is any person your family does not know, even if they may look like they are a nice person. Be sure to let them know that in a situation where they are in trouble or lost, it is okay to ask for help.
Teaching your kids what strangers are okay to approach, like a store clerk or police officer, may help them understand the difference between potentially safe or dangerous strangers. When going to a place where this situation could easily occur like a pool or amusement park, communicate a plan with your child about where to go if lost or point out an employee uniform that is safe to approach.
How to Recognize Dangerous Situations
One of the hardest parts of teaching stranger danger is teaching them which situations could lead to a potential threat. Give examples of stranger behavior that could be suspicious, like a person approaching and telling them to disobey their parents instructions, going somewhere they are not supposed to, asking for help, or to keep a secret. These examples can be especially helpful for young children that might have more difficulty understanding which situations are threatening.
What To Do
You should talk to your child about what they should do when they believe they are in a “stranger danger” situation. The National Crime Prevention Council teaches the “No, Go, Yell, Tell” method. Kids should tell the stranger no, run away, yell as loud as they can for help, and find a trusted adult as soon as possible. Make sure your child understands that if they feel unsafe, it is okay to run away and yell for help, even if they are in an indoor location.
While every parent hopes their child will never find themselves in one of these situations, it is always better to be prepared for the worst. A few more things parents can do to prevent stranger danger is to always be aware of where your child is, teach your child to be assertive and stick to what they know, and encourage them to always play with others and never travel anywhere alone.
At The Kangaroo Forest, our childcare professionals strive to create an environment where safety is always our top priority. Interested in learning more about our programs, curriculum, and teaching styles? Schedule a meeting and tour our facilities today!