We all encounter people who are strangers to us on a daily basis, whether they are neighbors, store employees, fellow parents, etc. We don’t want our children to have a fear of the world around them and everyone in it, but it is important that they understand that some strangers are dangerous. Explaining stranger danger to kids can be tough for parents, so here are a few helpful tips:
Go over some potentially dangerous scenarios
There are several situations that should be discussed with young children so that they are aware of how some predators may behave. These potentially dangerous situations include:
-A stranger attempting to lure a child away from the playground or street by asking them for help, or telling them to come see something in their vehicle.
-A stranger who tells a child that they have been sent by Mom or Dad to pick them up and bring them home.
-A stranger who seems to be following the child, whether on foot, or by driving slowly in a vehicle.
Make sure that your child understands that they should never go with a stranger under any circumstances. If they are approached or followed, they should ignore the individual, seek out a more busy public area, or use their cell phone to call for help right away.
Let them know that not all strangers are bad
The majority of the people that we encounter are normal, nice, and even helpful. Kids need to know that there are adults that they can trust, such as authority figures like police officers, security guards, and teachers. Let your kids know that these are folks they can turn to if they need help, like if they become lost in a busy public place. However, remind your kids that they should not go off with anyone alone, and they should remain in public areas.
As parents, we want our children to be polite and kind to others, but we also need them to know the risks of speaking to some strangers. Encourage your child to remain with a group, or at the very least, to have a buddy when they’re out in the neighborhood. Help your kids understand the power of trusting their instincts and recognizing when a stranger may have bad intentions.