Spend just five minutes watching the news or reading your local newspaper and you realize the world seems like it’s getting crazier and less safe by the day. As a parent, you want to make sure you not only keep your child safe from harm but also teach them how to keepthemselves safe when you’re not around.
But how do you teach your child about the potential dangers of strangers without causing them stress and anxiety? Here are 4 ways you can talk to your children about strangers without scaring them.
1. Do Not Call it Stranger Danger
Stranger Danger is a term that has found widespread use in many schools and households. The phrase is intended to explain the dangers associated with adults whom children do not know.
But attaching the word danger to anything is going to cause anxiety in your child. A better phrase to use would be ‘stranger safety.’
Also, your child will ask you why they can’t talk to strangers. While some parents think sensational statements will get their point across, these statements will frighten your child and cause immense stress and anxiety.
For instance, there are those parents who, in whishing to make sure their child NEVER speaks with a stranger, will say something like, “Because they might take you away from us and we will never be able to see you again.”
A much better strategy is to be calm during the instruction and, when asked ‘why,’ say something to the effect of, “Because we want to know where you are and that you are safe and following rules.”
2. Teach Your Child About Instincts
Human beings have an innate sense when something is “not right” or potentially dangerous. Teach your children how to listen and feel for their gut instinct. This empowers your children and instructs them how to pay attention to their environment and listen to their inner warning bells.
3. Use Role Play
Telling your child how to stay safe is only so effective; it’s important to try and create a scenario that could arise in their life. Role-playing helps you both to work through these potential stranger scenarios without scaring them. You might pretend to be a stranger who offers your son or daughter a free iPhone or a chance to pet their cute puppy. Have your child role-play back the best way to handle that situation.
Though it is called role-playing, the key to this exercise is to remain serious throughout. Your child will most likely giggle because Mommy or Daddy is pretending to be a bad stranger, but remind them that this is like schoolwork, it is important, and we need to be serious. When you are done role-playing, then you can actively play with your child.
4. Create an Action Plan
You’ll want to equip your child with an action plan should a stranger scenario occur in the future. The plan you create should be based on your child’s age.
For instance, if dealing with a preschooler, you can tell them what to do should you ever become separated in a public place. You could say something like, “If you get lost at the mall, I want you to go to where we pay for things and tell a person with a name tag on that you are lost. Do not move from that spot until I come find you.”
With an older child, you can make it clear that if a stranger approaches and starts asking them a bunch of questions, they should say, “I am not supposed to talk to strangers,” then have them walk away toward a more public area.” Also, make it very clear that they are never to go anywhere with a person they do not know. Make it clear that you as their parent would never send someone they have never met to pick them up from school.
These are some of the ways you can teach your children how to be safe without causing them stress and anxiety.
GeoZilla can help your kids stay safe so YOU don’t have to feel stress and anxiety. The GeoZilla app, one of the best safety apps on the market today, helps you to know your child is safe at all times. Easily schedule alerts and get emergency notifications when your child needs help.
The GeoZilla GPS Tracker works even without an Internet connection, a mobile phone or a Bluetooth. And, this app is so easy to use, even very young children will have no issues. For instance, when your child is in a potentially dangerous scenario, they simply hold down the SOS Emergency Button, alerting you to the situation. Our technology allows you to keep in touch with loved ones in real-time.
Let’s face it, the world can be a scary place sometimes. While you are helping your child navigate it, we can help you have some peace of mind.