Saying “thank you” and “you’re welcome” is one of the most important lessons children should learn from their parents. However, it isn’t only manners that good parents teach their kids. Some would even say – safety first. It’s good when mom and dad are close. But what about the time when the child walks to or from school alone? Or when there’s nobody else at home?
To protect your children in everyday life, they need to be taught certain precautions.
1. Create a password
An 8-year-old girl was approached by a stranger on the street. He told her that her mom was busy and sent him to get her. In response, the girl asked the stranger to say the password. The stranger got lost for words and confused. The girl ran away.
It turned out the girl and her mom had created a password for a time when she would need help and ask somebody else to get her. Genius! Follow this example, and let your children remember that if anybody asks them to follow or to open the door on your behalf – they need to ask for a password. If a person was indeed sent by the parents – they will not have a problem satisfying this request. Choose a word or a phrase that would be impossible to guess. Make it something only your child and you would know.
2. Name, address, home phone number, names of the parents
Help your child learn this information in case they get lost. Of course, make sure your children understand this information is to be revealed only in case of emergency and preferably to a law enforcement officer.
3. Don’t talk to strangers
Everybody knows this rule, but it is worth repeating it to your children. Explain them how dangerous it may be, provide examples – choose the right words for them to understand that this is no joke. Find any argument that would motivate the child of their age enough to follow this rule.
4. Use social networks with caution
Teach your child to be cautious with social networks. Order your child not to reveal any personal information on the net (home address, time when nobody’s home, number of school etc.), to use passwords, not to add strangers – everything you could consider a threat and everything that can provide protection should be clearly explained.
5. Let you know
Teach your kids from the earliest possible age to let you know when they are leaving or preferably about everything. It doesn’t matter if they leave for a walk with friends in 14 or make a step away from you at a store in 5 – they must let you know about it. You need to know where exactly and for how long you child is leaving the area of your protection.
6. Say “no”
This problem can stay for the entire life – some grown-ups still can’t say “no”. This will create a ton of troubles in the future, but now, let’s focus on its implications for children. If your child feels uncomfortable when somebody is trying to touch them, or if you child doesn’t feel safe around somebody, or if somebody is making them do something they don’t want – your child must know how to break free from this situation. Refusal is their right to express their will. Explain that there always will be a grown-up (a teacher at school, parents at home, law enforcement officers etc.) who can help at any time.
7. Don’t leave home alone
This rule is for children of all ages. A child must always be with friends when going somewhere. If there is no one to accompany them – then either you go with your child, or your child stays at home.
8. Don’t take anything from strangers
Teach your kid to never take anything from other people without your permission, even if they know this person. Not even touch. The rule number 6 will be helpful here.
9. Home alone rules
Teach your child to evaluate the situation when entering home without you. If everything is in order – they should walk in, lock the door, and call the parents to say they’re home and everything is fine. If someone calls on the phone or knocks on the door, children shouldn’t say that parents aren’t home. Your child should say that the parents can’t come up to the door or phone right now, and ask if there is any message for them. Never open the door!
10. Important phone numbers
Teach your child what they must call for every emergency: the police, fire department, helpline etc. Teach your child to dial these numbers from a cell and landline phone.
The more you – the parents – are aware and cautions, the better protected your children are. What other situations can you predict in order to provide safety for your child? Share your thoughts on this matter essential for any family.