Stranger Danger: What to Teach Children About Strangers
When your child is only two or three years old and of early learning or daycare age, they will not be aware of what a stranger is and who could be harmful to them or not. At around the age of three or four, a lot of children will have heard about strangers and this is, therefore, a good time to begin to teach your child how to keep themselves safe.
How to talk to your preschooler about strangers
Own body safety
It is never too young to teach a child the correct names for their genitals and to make them aware that it is wrong for anyone to touch them in these places.
General basic safety
Before approaching the subject of strangers, talk to your preschool-aged child about safety in general. Remind your child about the importance of staying with you and holding your hand when you are out in public.
Be stranger aware
As we have mentioned earlier, by around the age of four, you can explain to your child that a stranger is a person that they do not know. It is also important, however, to let your child know that if somebody is a stranger to them, it doesn’t necessarily make them a bad or a good person.
Talk about some rules that your child needs to follow to protect them from strangers. For instance, if you are out and become separated from your child, explain to them what they should do. For instance, if you are at the shops and you lose sight of your child, tell them to head to the counter where you pay for your goods and wait there for you until you come and get them. Tell your child that they should not go off with somebody that they do not know and wait there until you come and find them.
Adults to trust
Aside of family members and friends that your child recognizes, you also need to tell your child about other adults that they can trust or can go to. For example a teacher or a policeman. Explain to your child how they can recognize a person in authority i.e. by their uniform.
We are all aware that small children learn through repetition. Therefore, it is important to go over any rules that you have discussed before you go somewhere where it could be busy or crowded and there’s a higher chance of getting separated from your child.
Think about your wording
It is easy to send out daunting messages to your child about how a stranger can take them away forever. Try and avoid doing this as this will just scare your child unnecessarily.
It is worth teaching your child their full name, your telephone number and your full home address when they are ready and able to learn this.