Explaining stranger danger to your child
As a parent, you are constantly fraught with plenty of worries over your child’s safety and well-being. From falling while playing to allowing them to do things on their own, your child is vulnerable and will need some guidance to navigate the world around them.
Stranger danger is a topic your little one should start being aware of from a young age, but how exactly do you do that effectively?
Start explaining the concept of strangers
To keep it as simple as possible with them, let them know that anyone who they do not know is considered a stranger. Try your best to use a calm tone when talking about this subject so you don’t unnecessarily scare them. Saying things like “a stranger will take you away from me forever” would only cause unneeded stress for your child. Let them know that a stranger isn’t necessarily a bad or good person, just someone they should not speak to or do anything with.
Point out exactly who is in your family’s safe circle
Let them know who your family considers safe, including their grandparents, aunts, uncles, mum, and dad. Other than these people, make them aware of public safety people like a police officer or store employee. Help them see who these people are by pointing out the vests or colours of a typical safe person. For instance, a police officer will be in blue and wearing a vest. Finally, they should know that a teacher or counsellor, will also keep them safe when they’re not by your side.
Give them a game plan
Explain to them that if they are ever separated from you they should find an employee, tell them their name, and stay with them until you find them. Say something like, “if you lose mummy, go to the place where we pay for things and tell them you’re lost.” This will make it clear and not too scary for them.
Let them know how to firmly say no
When they are approached in a situation, they should have the tools to say no. Make sure they know when something feels ‘off’ and will say “No, thank you”. Show them how to empower themselves versus scaring them. If they were to be grabbed, tell them they are allowed to scream, yell, and create a scene to get attention.
Read about safety with each other
Help your little one learn with you side by side. This will be better because you’ll be explaining situations to them while making sure they are learning the information.
Stranger danger is a scary topic to teach your child about. You never want to imagine this happening, but having tools and knowledge is more powerful than ignoring it. The best tip is just to start the conversation and let them know how to spot a stranger. In the end, your little one will feel empowered and confident in themself.