‘Stranger Danger’ is something which always remains a concern for the parents as well as the kids. We understand that as parents, you always wish to keep your children protected, safe, and secure. However, we also know that it is not feasible to shadow them all the time to accomplish this wish. Hence, it is vital that we take some measures to empower the kids to help themselves whenever any unfavorable situation arises.
We, at the JP International School, believe that when it comes to the safety of dear children, we, the parents and the teachers as the responsible adults, should come together and join hands to ensure that the kids are safe and protected at all times, be it at school or in their social surroundings. We, the teachers at JP International School, would like to urge the parents to join hands with us in bringing awareness in the kids about ‘Stranger Danger.’ Here are some of the effective Safety Guidelines that we would request the parents to discuss with the kids during their one-on-one time, which will help them during the times if and when they get surrounded with friendly strangers.
Trust your Instincts: We should encourage kids to use their own instincts. If they realize that a particular person is making them uncomfortable, they should immediately move away from that person. They may or may not be wrong about that person, yet it is absolutely fine for them to walk away. You should even assure them that they don’t owe any explanation in such circumstances so that they stay relaxed while taking action.
Response to Uncomfortable Situations: Kids should know the kind of response they should give when they feel they are in danger. This can be taught to them using four small words: No, Go, Yell, Tell. This implies that they can come out of the uncomfortable situation by first saying no to the stranger, then run away from the place, and further yell or shout out about the danger as loud as they can. Lastly, they should share about the incident at the earliest with the parents or even with the teacher they trust the most.
Creating Safety Rules with Them: It is essential to talk to children and make them aware of the threat that strangers may impose upon, especially when they are not in the company of known adults. When we involve them in setting these rules, it becomes much easier for them to understand the threat and also observe the rules even during danger. Locking the door when alone and even getting into the habit of checking the door becomes a good safety habit. Similarly, they should never announce who all are there at home on a call if they could not identify the person on call.
Identifying Suspicious Behavior: The child may be ignorant to what suspicious behavior looks like. Hence we need to help children in becoming familiar with the traits that may show up in any suspicious adult. It would be unfair to not talk about it to the child assuming that no such thing is going to happen to your child or leaving the child all by himself on the instincts.
Observing the 3Ws When Going Alone: As the kids grow up, they’ll start moving out of home alone. You can train them in observing the 3W’s when they are leaving from the house without being in the company of a safe adult. These three ‘Ws’ are: going with ‘Whom’; ‘Where’ is he going; and by ‘When’ will he return. Moreover, reinforce that they should keep you informed whenever there is any delay or change in the plan before executing the changed plan.
Sharing Experiences: We have often seen that most parents, as a part of anxious parenting, try to keep children overly-secured and secluded. Children need the freedom and space to create their own experiences as a part of their childhood activities and memories. For fulfilling this purpose, it is important that parents hold back the fears so that it doesn’t damage the creativity and curiosity of the kids. A better way out is to share with them courageous, inspiring incidents that help them in tapping their instincts and creativity in handling tough situations.
Reach Out to Police: Children should know how they can call the police for emergency help and what all information they should tell on that call. This will keep them mentally prepared about what all information they need to share about their whereabouts with the police, like where they are, what they are wearing, and how that stranger appears to them. This also means that if they borrow someone’s cell phone to dial ‘100’ for emergency police help, they are sharing the details simultaneously with the person and police saving time and later the person can help police reach much faster.
Kids have a natural tendency to be truthful and trust the adults even if they are stranger to them. This is why, we, at JPIS, an International CBSE School in Greater Noida, stress on making even a four year old aware of the stranger safety guidelines. By making kids aware of the risks associated with stranger interactions, it will gradually make them strong enough to deal with the harsh realities of life and come out well.