How early is too early to talk to your kids about stranger danger?

It is a subject most parents don’t want to talk about out of a fear of scaring their kids

It is a subject most parents don’t want to talk about out of a fear of scaring their kids, but it must be discussed to teach your child that while dangers exist that you are going to do everything you can to protect them. Many worry about the right age to have such discussions and this is understandable, they are only kids after all and shouldn’t they be allowed to live without any worry? The answer is of course, yes, they can and should live without fear but having this chat isn’t about scaring them but teaching them. It doesn’t have to be done in a way that terrifies and certainly if you talk to youngsters from a young age on the subject, it will be second nature to them. It won’t make them anxious because they will have known about it since they were old enough to walk. 
  • The toddler stage is a good starting point to teach them about the issues of strangers and while toddlers are notoriously adventurous and negligent for their personal safety, you can play a big role in reversing their immaturity. You can start with a few things as listed here:
  • Discuss what a stranger is and why they shouldn’t talk to strangers - Your kiddie needs to know why a stranger is a stranger, what is classed as a stranger and while not all strangers are bad that children must take care. They must know not to talk to strangers or to go off with a stranger regardless of if they have a puppy, sweets or other kiddies with them. 
  • Go over do's and don'ts – Tell your kid to be careful and remind them to never go over to a stranger and furthermore, leave the area they are in to go with a stranger. They must know that when you talk to strangers it is ok as you are an adult and are careful but that they shouldn’t do this especially if they are alone. Remind your child that most people won’t start to talk to youngsters and lead them away unless they are up to no good, no adult should want to take kiddies away from their playground or green play area. 
  • Try some role play but avoid getting scary – A little role play is a good idea to get your kiddie ready for being in the situation that may need to use their instincts and walk away from a stranger. Practice conversations where a stranger may try to lead them away and teach them to get away as fast as possible to someone they trust like a neighbour or friends. 
  • Continue to work on it and talk about safety. Always have a backup plan as while your child may know to run away from a stranger if they are alone where should they go to? If it is too far to go home, they should go to an area that is busy with lots of people and tell them they feel like they are in danger. Ensure your kiddie knows your full name and phone number too. 
It is always a worry, but young kids can take in the information they need to and be aware of the strangers out there without feeling frightened. 
Written by Emma Hayes staff writer at Family Friendly HQ.

Emma Hayes

Emma Hayes is a busy mum to two girls aged 17 and 11 and is married to her childhood sweetheart.

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