Teaching our children to be safe may be the most important skill they learn, but it also may be the most difficult. As parents and teachers we need to prepare our children to face dangers, but how do we do it without overly scaring them? Here are a few tips:
Educate your children how and when to use emergency telephone numbers such as 911.
Instead of saying “never talk to strangers,” say instead “While most people are good, some people choose to do bad things.” If your child is ever lost or threatened, you want him or her to seek for help from an adult. Instruct your child to look first for a uniformed officer or security guard, a store clerk, or a mother with children–all adults who are likely to be safe and helpful.
Tell your children that it is okay for them to approach an adult if they are in need of help, but it is not okay for an unknown adult to approach them. Let your child know that politeness doesn’t apply if they are approached by a stranger to help find a pet, eat some candy, or get in a car. He or she should scream, run, and get help.
Instruct your children never to tell anyone that they are home alone. Tell them to say you are in the shower or your hands are full and can’t get to the phone.
Let your children know that they can come to you if anything or anyone, including relatives and friends, makes them feel scared or uncomfortable. Reassure them that you will work with them on whatever the problem is.
Point out the homes of trusted neighbors to which your kids can go in an emergency if you are away.
Help your children.