Last night, I read an article in the North Shore News about yet another incident of a young girl being abused by a stranger. If you haven’t read the article, here it is. This is the second occurrence in North Vancouver in the past month. It sends chills through my whole body to think of something like this happening to my own daughter and my heart goes out to the family that is going through such an awful experience. This is a very serious subject matter and serves as an important reminder to us all that we need to be teaching our children about Stranger Danger.
I remember learning about Stranger Danger in elementary school and I also remember the talks my parents had with my brother and I when we were young. We had a family password and we knew to yell ‘no’ and run away if we were approached by a stranger. We were given specific examples of what to do (and when), and I truly believe that role-playing is an invaluable tool in a child’s ability to really understand the variety of situations that could arise.
“Nothing replaces close supervision of children, especially for pre-schoolers who are unable to identify threatening situations. When children start to develop social skills and judgment, they can be taught how to respond to different real-life circumstances. One of the most valuable lessons to give children would be to practice “what if” scenarios. Help children identify the appropriate and safe responses when they are at risk, such as getting lost in a mall versus getting lost in the woods, being approached in the park or being offered a gift. Also, remind children that adults would not ask a child for help without the approval of a parent. Role-playing scenarios that have children act out the proper reactions (including loud vocal statements such as “You are not my father! Let me go!”), can give them confidence to react in real-life situations.”
–Canada Safety Council on Stranger Danger
I did some research last night as I wanted my own refresher on the key points of keeping children safe from potentially harmful humans. I found this great list on kidpower.com.
Here are the key points highlighted by Irene van der Zande, founder of Kidpower:
1. Teach kids to get help if anything seems unsafe.
2. Use the word ‘stranger’ calmly and accurately so kids understand more and worry less.
3. Make and practice safety plans for getting help.
4. Teach kids the difference between being ‘together’ and ‘on your own.’
5. Teach kids about personal information.
6. Help younger kids practice how to ‘Move Away and Check First.’
7. Help older kids and teens practice how to ‘Think First.’
8. Practice yelling and running to get help.
9. Teach kids how to use physical self-defense in an emergency.
Please take a moment to visit the Kidpower site as all of these points are elaborated there.
What are your strategies for teaching your child(ren) about Stranger Danger? Please post your comments below.
Nice to meet you! I'm Jessica a.k.a North Shore Mama. This site was born out of my love for my daughters and the desire to share my motherhood journey with fellow moms. I believe we're all in this craziness called 'parenthood' together and North Shore Mama is my way of reaching out to anyone who needs a laugh, a cry or dinner inspiration. Thank you so much for reading!
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