As little munchkin will soon be embarking on her school life, I have been researching ways to help teach her the importance of “stranger danger” and knowing who she should trust and why when mummy and daddy aren’t there. Trying to explain this to a four year old without scaring them is pretty difficult, so I thought I would share my top tips to help this subject be as easy as possible for everyone involved..
So lets start at the beginning –
What Is A Stranger?
A stranger is anybody who your child does not know well. Its as simple as that. Anybody they have not been around when a family member has been present.
What Does A Stranger Look Like?
It is easy for children to think that strangers are evil looking an scary as they are perceived in cartoons and films, but as we all know this is not the case. In simple terms anybody your child does not know on a personal level is a stranger.
Are There Any Strangers Who Are Safe To Approach?
Hopefully, your child will never be in a situation where they feel threatened. However, if you child needed someone to help them and they were surrounded by “strangers” it is important that they know who is “safe” to approach. People like Policeman, Fireman, Paramedics, Teachers, these are all what are known as “safe strangers” and your child should know that if they feel in danger it is very important they try to look for a member of authority. If there is no one easily recognisable in these circumstances, always look for a mother with children as they also may be able to help.
It Is Important Children Know What Kind Of Situations May Be Unsafe
Now your child knows who to class as a stranger, it is important to arm them with tools to help them deal with a difficult situation. Give them scenarios and ask them what they think they should do if this were to happen. Make these scenarios realistic, but of course as mild as possible –
Someone they have not me before asks them to go into their house for a drink.
A man they do not know asks them if they want to help walk his “new puppy”.
Give your child some guidelines of how best to deal with the situation. Teach them it is ok to say “NO” to shout at the top of their lungs “STRANGER DANGER” run as quickly as they can to someone they trust and tell them what has happened.
Lastly, make sure they know it is very important to stick with the “safe” person wherever they are, either their teacher at school or their best friends in the playground, make sure they know it is safer to stay within a group.
As I write this I realise how scary it sounds, the mere thought that any of our children could ever be put in a situation like the above. But sadly it does happen and it is so so important our children know how to deal with dangerous situations. This gives them invaluable life skills that could potentially keep them safe.
I hope this post has been useful and that it too can help to keep your precious little ones safe.