With all the crazy things that has been happening the past weeks and children disappearing and ending up dead, I had to start looking into teaching my children about safety. Not the normal “don’t talk to strangers” – real life training. K heard on the news about the child trafficker that was arrested. Her question on why a stranger would take her or other kids for that matter made be doubt my dealings about teaching her safety.
In Canada they run child safety projects for kids as young as 4. Because by then your child can understand basic concepts and simple safety concepts that they can grasp can save their lives.
We all invest in teaching them how to cross the road, but why do we spend so little time teaching them about personal safety? Because teaching safety is not an event- it is a process.
Now, how do we do this? Well, I have a couple of pointers to show you in the right direction.
- Don’t freak your kids out.
Sometimes when I see K chatting to a stranger I want to instill the fear of God in her. Because I feel it is the only way the message will get across. But according to Pina Arcamore, a director of the missing children’s network, it is the worst thing you can do. She suggest to talk to your kids the same way in which you would tell them to cross the road, or about fire safety. “Adopt a very natural and neutral tone, “ she said.
2. Move beyond the typical “stranger danger”
If we teach children to fear strangers we really misguide them. In South Africa the majority of sexual abuse against children and abductions are from people they know. Besides, there might one day be a real danger and the child will need help from a stranger.
3. Info they should know
Every child should know their address, mom and dads complete names and phone numbers. It is also important to teach a kid about safe places to go to incase there is trouble e.g the neighbor. Empower them to make safe and wise decisions. Teach them how to use the phone too at home and save your number on speed dial for them.
4. Practice, practice and more practice.
Children learn through repetition. You can also practice scenarios with them once they are old enough. Build up their competence and confidence.
4. What to scream.
It is terrifying to think about but we need to teach our kids this. If they are ever grabbed by a stranger, they should scream e.g this is not my mom/dad. If the child only screams- other people might think it is just a tantrum.
I really hope that this article can help you in addressing the issue. If I have left anything out- please post in the comment section!