Less than two weeks ago, two children two towns over from me were approached by an adult male at a convenience store who tried to buy them hats and fidget spinners. Luckily one of the children said something to an employee who intervened as the man fled. As a martial artist and an educator, I believe that having essential life skills like knowing what to do in a situation like this. Not only for your children, but also as an adult.
Previously I would present school assemblies and talk about stranger danger for kids until I learned about Pattie Fitzgerald, founder of Safely Ever After. Her concept of a “tricky person” and “safe adults” makes a lot of sense and is simple to explain to children. I invite you to check out her information. I have changed the conversation because of her.
The reality of life is that there are child predators out in the world and it is important that your children know how to protect themselves. As you send your child to school and camp it is always a good idea to have information that will ensure they have a wonderful school day. To assist with this, we have the following tips for you and your children. Please take time out of your day to review these tips with your family.
Below are tips from a previous blog post that still has useful information. Read through it once and you’ll be surprised at some that you never thought about. Isn’t your children’s safety worth it?
The following are tips on stranger danger for kids to discuss with your child when they are outside the house.
- I will always tell my parents where I am going and when I’ll be home and return home before dark.
- I will always play or go places with at least one other person – NOT alone.
- I know my body belongs to me. I will trust my feelings. I will say NO and run away from a situation that doesn’t feel right.
- There are certain kinds of strangers that can assist me when I need help. For instance: mothers with children, other children, police in uniform or store clerks in the mall.
- If you think someone is following you, cross the street and go into a store. Tell a police officer or a mother with a child. Don’t try to hide — go to where you know you can find other people.
- If someone tries to grab you, kick, punch and yell: “NO! I don’t know you! You aren’t my Mom (or Dad)! Or Stranger, Help!”
- I will walk and play at places my parents said were OK. I will avoid shortcuts or alleys.
- I will not allow adults to trick or force me into going places or doing things like; help find pets, carry packages, take pictures, play games, or take drugs with them. I will always check with my parents first.
- I will not accept candy, money, gifts or rides from any adult without my parent’s permission.
- I will always lock my home and car doors. I will not tell anyone that I am home alone.
- I will learn to dial 911. I will learn to use the pay phone without money.
- I will learn my address and phone number.
- I will always walk against traffic on the sidewalk.
The following are stranger danger for kids tips to discuss with your child when they are inside the house.
- Many kids get home before their parents. If you come home before your mom or dad, make sure the first thing you do is call and let your mom or dad know you got home okay.
- If you come home and a window in your house is broken or a door is open that shouldn’t be, don’t go in. Go to a trusted neighbor, or find a phone and call 911.
- If you have to stay after school or want to play or study with a friend, tell your mom or dad.
- Don’t leave your home without asking your mom or dad first. Make sure a parent knows where you are going and for how long. Always tell your mom or dad where you will be and when you will be home.
- When your family is home and the doorbell rings, always find out who it is and ask your mom or dad before you open the door.
- If you are home alone, never open the door — unless you can see that it is a relative or a specific person who your mom or dad said would come over to stay with you.
- NEVER tell someone you are home alone, whether they call on the phone or come by your house. Ask your mom or dad what they would like you to say, like: “My Dad’s in the shower, can he call you when he gets out?”
- NEVER give information to anyone over the phone about yourself, your family or where you live. Hang up on anyone who calls to bother you or who says bad things on the phone.
- Ask your mom or dad for permission to go outside of your play area or yard or to go into someone’s home.
- If you have a babysitter that hits you, touches you or makes you play games that embarrass you, tell a trusted adult, even if the babysitter told you not to.
- Keep all the windows and doors in your home locked.
- If someone tries to break into your home, call 911 immediately and give them your full address, including your apartment number if you have one. Tell them that you are at home and someone is trying to break in. Then, try calling a neighbor you know is usually home. If you can get out of the house, get out. If you can hide, hide.
The following are tips for parents to discuss and think about
- Maintain current ID, including photograph, video and fingerprints.
- Maintain current addresses and phone numbers of your children’s friends.
- It is important to keep all doors and windows locked.
- Do not advertise your child’s name on clothing, school supplies or backpacks.
Knowledge is power and knowing what to do in a situation involving a possible child abduction is extremely important in this day and age. If you are ever looking for school or camp assembly ideas to assist you in teaching your child what to do in a tricky person situation we offer a powerful “Outsmart the Stranger” assembly program that can be brought into your school or camp. Visit our website www.outsmartthestranger.com to learn more about the program. Recommending this program to your school and camp can help save a child’s life. I hope you have a wonderful rest of the summer. Stay safe, be smart and aware and have a fun summer!