Teaching kids about stranger danger is harder than ever these days. We are parenting in a time where the internet exists, people all over the world can easily reach our kids. Many parents wonder how to teach stranger danger to kids without totally freaking them out, but it’s hard when parents know just how easy it is for bad people to reach our kids.
Here are a few tips on how to teach kids about stranger danger without totally freaking them out.
Define a “Stranger”
The first step is to explain what a stranger is. Kids don’t think of people as we do, they may think that everyone is their friend and there to be a kind person. Define what you feel a stranger is to your kid so that they have a clear idea of who a stranger is. In the basic form, a stranger is someone that your kid doesn’t know. Yes, even your adult friends who haven’t met your kids yet, are a stranger to your kids.
Kids will often think that a stranger is going to look “scary” or “rough”, you will need to have a real conversation with your kids that explains what a stranger looks like. Case in point, kids will think that strangers look scary or rough in appearance, but you know that strangers look like everyday people. This will help kids understand they can’t judge someone based solely on appearances.
Next up, you need to have a discussion about what your kids should never, ever do. Things like getting into the car with a stranger, or even getting too close to a stranger’s vehicle is a never, ever. Taking candy or other food from a stranger’s hand is a never, ever. Make your own list of never, evers and discuss those with your kids so that they understand what you expect in regards to stranger safety.
Lastly, once you’ve discussed the definition of a stranger, discussed appearances of strangers and let your kids know your “never, ever” list, it’s time to role play some scenarios. When you role play stranger danger scenarios it helps give kids a better understanding of what can happen when a stranger approaches them. Since kids are more visual learners, role-playing helps them better understand.
The key to teaching kids about stranger danger in a way that doesn’t make them anxious or anti-social is to educate them about bad people while still teaching them that good people exist. Teaching stranger danger to kids is all about teaching boundaries, confidence, and self-respect. My tips I shared today will help you teach this important topic to your kids without making them anxious to go out in public or interact on the internet.
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