When we were kids, talking about “stranger danger” was as simple as “Don’t accept candy from strangers”.
The world has changed. Statistics show that the cases of child abductions by strangers are relatively rare, rather children are harmed by those known (or at least familiar) to them. There is also a school of thought that suggests developing a fear of strangers in children stops them from developing skills needed to navigate life effectively. And finally some think talking “stranger danger” simply frightens kids unnecessarily.
Recognising these good arguments, we suggest it still important to work with your kids on the basics of engaging safely with the world outside of their home. The difference today is that the topic is likely to me more nuanced.
Some of the basics follow:
—> Safety in Numbers – Encourage your kid to be a “loaner” in the safety of your own home. When out in the world, they should play with others.
—> Confidence to Say No – Teach your children how to be assertive and respectful of adults at the same time.
—> Don’t advertise – Monograms are fun and labelling is just sensible but try to keep your kids names in discrete places.
—> Safe Places and Action Plans – Give your kids tips about who and where is safe and develop action plans in case you get separated.
—> Family Passwords – Some families have a secret password for cases when someone other than Mom or Dad or Nanny is picking up kids.
—> Gut instincts – Teach your kids to trust their instincts. This is a skill that will serve them well throughout life.
And please do not forget to consider the virtual world as well as the physical world. Set rules for using the internet, including talking with strangers.
Are you looking for additional support in caring for your family – pet sitters, caregivers (for seniors and for family members with special needs), nannies, babysitters, housekeepers and more – Keep Safe!