As a mom, one of your strongest instincts is to protect your kids against everything and anything harmful. When your kiddo becomes old enough to stray (a bit) from your safe nest, it can be a stressful and nerve-wracking season in your life if you’re not sure how to teach them about stranger danger and protecting themselves.
But the scary thing is that stranger danger isn’t something we really need to worry about all that much since 90% of sexual abuse happens by a person the child knows. Only 1% of kids are abducted by a total stranger. So what is a mom to do?
The first thing you need to do is to teach your kid who strangers are. There are strangers, people who they (nor anyone in their family) don’t know. And then there are “safe strangers”, who your child might not know but can generally trust, like a firefighter or nurse. After you’ve explained this to your kid, use the following tips to help your kids stay safe when they are outside of your presence.
Stranger danger tips you need to teach your kids
1. Nobody should touch their private parts
It’s important to teach your kids about body safety early. Use proper names for genitalia and teach your child about it. There shouldn’t be any shame in talking about a penis and vagina. Teach your kids that nobody (adults and kids alike) should touch their private parts or ask them to touch their privates. Your kid needs to know that they will never be in trouble for telling you that anyone (regardless of who it is) attempted to touch or look at their private parts.
2. They’re never allowed to get in a car with a stranger
Your kid should now that they should never get into a car with someone they don’t know, regardless of what that person says.
3. Know and practice the family safeword
It’s important to have a unique but easy-to-remember code word for your family. Teach your child that, in the event of an emergency where someone else has to pick your child up from school, if the other person doesn’t know the family safe word, your kid isn’t going with them. End of story.
4. Look for a safe stranger or another mom with kids if you’re in trouble
Teach your kid to always look for a “safe stranger” if he or she needs help. In a perfect world, there would always be a police officer within shouting distance of your child, ready to pounce on any villain that tries to pull shenanigans. But that’s not the case. If your kid can’t find a “safe stranger”, teach them to look for a mom with kids if he or she gets lost or feels unsafe.