Preparing Your Child To Be Safe In A Scary World
Parents face a difficult challenge every day: how to teach kids to be safe in a scary world without creating scared children. As parents, we want our children to feel safe and secure it is how we are wired from the beginning. We do our best to keep them safe even before birth, but every parent eventually must come to terms with the idea they cannot always protect their children. For those dangers kids face without parental supervision, personal safety skills are the greatest gift any parents can give a child. These skills represent how a child can safely interact with the world around him or her. Parents have millions of opportunities to impart this wisdom over the course of a childs life, but it can be intimidating to think about. This article can help you to approach the subject of personal safety with your children over the course of many different conversations to help them get the most out of your instruction and provide you with peace of mind that they can be safe even when you are not around to watch them.
The first step towards teaching your kids to be confident and secure in an unsure world is to install in them the understanding that they have skills that can keep them safe. Even before children are old enough to have in-depth conversations about this, you can model for them how they can master their surroundings and feel safe. Start teaching your children safety principals first by modeling them consistently. When you park your car in a parking lot, get out quickly and keep your keys in hand. Tell you child, Okay, lets be safe today so mummy is going to hold your hand in the parking lot and hold her keys. At night you can say, Daddy is going to lock all of the doors now so we are safe while we sleep. This will communicate to your child that there are important steps to take to remain safe, and it will help them view these steps as habits even before they actually participate.
The next step is naturally to discuss strangers. Talk with your kids often about the importance of not talking to strangers. Encourage them to find adults they trust in every situation and to know where those adults are. When you help you children get dressed for school, remind them to follow their teachers. On field trips, remind them to stay close to their teachers and not to talk to anyone else.
As children get older, you can provide them with tools for safety. A third step in any safety plan should be a whistle or personal alarm. Personal alarms often look like a key fob, but they sound an ear-piercing cry letting people around your child know they need help. You can give your child an alarm for walks home from school or for walking through parking lots and into buildings with friends. It is important to reiterate to children that they can feel safe and confident if they are aware of people around them and if they do the things you model for safety, such as locking doors, avoiding strangers, and never going anywhere without your permission.
Take time to talk to your kids every day about how important they are to you and how important it is for them to stay safe. These conversations should be short and to the point, very concrete, so as not to confuse or overwhelm kids. This is your most important job as a parent: to prepare your children to be safe in a scary world.