An unfortunate but necessary conversation we have to have with our children is about how they can stay safe around people they don’t know. “Stranger danger” is a very real concern for our families these days and you really just never know. So the best strategy is to be preventative and empower our children with the information they need to be smart and stay safe.
Today in guidance we took the first portion of class to discuss:
- Who are strangers? (People we don’t know)
- How do movies or shows portray them? (Scary, ugly, dark clothing, villains)
- What do they really look like? (Normal everyday people)
- Who are “safe strangers”? (Police, and other first responders, employees at shops)
- How to recognize and handle a dangerous situation and other strategies to keep ourselves safe. A grown-up should never be asking a child for help! A grown up should ask another grown up for help.
- “No, Go, Yell, Tell.” – The students offered strategies to avoid several potential dangerous scenarios and put into practice our new saying.
The conversations took place at an appropriate developmental level for each grade, however, across the board I was impressed at how aware and informed our student body was about the topic. So kudos to you grown ups for having these conversations and empowering your child(ren) to be safe!
*One of the best strategies for unexpected pick up situations I learned from a student today:) Make up a code word or phrase with your family. In case of an emergency where you might have to ask someone new to pick up your child from a friends house or event, your child can ask for the secret code and be reassured that this person was sent by you.
Needless to say, the most important part in all of this is your role as the parent…
- Know where your children are at all times. Make it a rule that your children must ask permission or check in with you before going anywhere. Give your children your work and cell phone numbers so they can reach you at all times.
- Point out safe places. Show your children safe places to play, safe roads and paths to take, and safe places to go if there’s trouble.
- Teach children to trust their instincts. Explain that if they ever feel scared or uncomfortable, they should get away as fast as they can and tell an adult. Tell them that sometimes adults they know may make them feel uncomfortable, and they should still get away as fast as possible and tell another adult what happened. Reassure children that you will help them when they need it.
- Teach your children to be assertive. Make sure they know that it’s okay to say no to an adult and to run away from adults in dangerous situations.
- Encourage your children to play with others. There’s safety in numbers!
Here is a link to the National Crime Prevention Council’s page and discussion on “What to Teach Kids About Strangers”… Most of our discussion stemmed from the questions and scenarios found in this one page article.
Another great article: Does your family know these 6 stranger danger rules?