It may not be every day that we think about the security of our children but it’s always helpful to have simple-to-employ strategies to help keep our kids safe wherever they go. Here are five ways to help keep your kids safe…
1) Have a family password (or code word)
Having a family password or code word empowers your kids to feel more confident when someone other than you is picking them up and helps your peace of mind. When doing this it’s best to explain how to use it which can help calm fears in a potentially dangerous situation.
For example, if someone offers to pick them up but doesn’t know the family password that’s a good indication to your child that the person isn’t safe or to be trusted and needs to tell an authority they do trust right away.
2) Clarify what makes a “stranger”
To put it simply, a “stranger” is anyone mom and/or dad don’t know. This means that someone your child sees every day at school, daycare, in sports, or at a friend’s house is a potential stranger.
Making this distinction is good for kids to understand that they need to introduce you to the people they interact with regularly and, as parents, we want to know who’s influencing them anyway.
3) Talk about “tricky” people
A tricky person can be anyone. Yes, it could be the stranger we just discussed but it could also be Aunt Pat or Uncle Jeff. It could be our child’s best friend or anyone else they know. What makes a tricky person unique is that they’ll attempt to get the child to violate your family’s personal code of ethics.
One example is anyone who tries to get your child to lie for them or keep secrets from you is a tricky person because this violates your family’s code of ethics to always tell the truth.
4) Learn how to yell for help
Actually yelling the word, “Help!” is about as useful as a car alarm these days. Most people are immune to the stimulus. A better option is to yell, “He’s not my dad!” or “She’s not my mom!” Watch how many interested people come to the aid of your child!
Just make sure they understand that they aren’t allowed to do this if they don’t get the toy they want at the store.
5) Always tell someone
Any adult or peer that ask your child to keep a secret for them is a safety red flag. Of course, there are good secrets to keep like for birthdays and holidays but that distinction needs to be talked about. Help your child feel safe with you to talk about anything and let them know you’ll never judge them.
The bottom line is that good, clear, open communication with your child will help keep them safer. Maintain a genuine interest in your child’s life and give them the proper guidelines to make safe decisions. Empower them with these tools and talk about them often.
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