How to talk to your children about strangers and at the same time encourage them to feel confident and safe when exploring the world. Here are tips on how to talk to your child about strangers:
Define who a stranger is
Start by letting your child know who a stranger is. Remember your aim is not to instill fear in your child, therefore avoid definitions such as a stranger is someone who will hurt you or kidnap you. You can simply tell your kid that a stranger is just someone that they do not know and he can be either a good or a bad person. Let your child know the people that he or she can trust This will help the child to know exactly who is stranger. Besides auntie and grandmother, give a few more examples of people that your child can ask for help such as the school counselor, teacher and any other trusted parent.
Give clear rules
Make it clear to your child that it is okay to say hallo to a stranger when Dad and Mom are around but if Mom and Dad are not around then he should not.
Tell him or her to say ‘I’m not supposed to talk to strangers,'” where a stranger insists on greeting him or her. Make it clear that he or she should never go anywhere without your permission as the parent.
Make clear guidelines when using public bathrooms
At around the age of 6, your child will be ready to go to public restroom on his or her own. However, you should be very watchful. If your child has to use the bathroom in a public place such as the stadium or the airport, go with him and in case you are the opposite sex, stand right outside the door and let your child know that he or she can call you in case he or she needs any help.
Let him or her know that he should not accept any help from anyone that he does not know by saying I will do it myself or ‘No thank you my Mom or dad can help me.
Avoid using scary statements.
Do not use scary statements in order to make your child understand. Avoid using statements such as a stranger will take you away from me and I will never see you again, as this will only create fear in your child. In case your child asks you why he cannot go with a stranger, you can tell him or her that you don’t know them and you don’t know if they are good or bad people.
Establish the dos and the don’ts in the internet
There are cases where predators targets kids online to get personal information. This way they are able to know where the kid will be and at what time. To prevent this, position your home computer in a common area let your child know that he or she cannot give any personal information to anyone online. Also, prevent him or her from joining chat sites.
There is no need to overdo it all but it is okay to remind him or her of the message when there is a need to or when you are planning to visit a place where there will be many strangers such as the kid’s museum or any outdoor festival.