Safety is a huge concern for parents today, but at the same time, we can’t just pop our children into a bubble. There has got to be a way to teach kids to be safe without scaring or scarring them. Tracie Wagman, mom of two, weighs in with her thoughts on the subject and a few tricks she’s learned along the way.
Tracie recently appeared on The Morning Show on Global to talk about just this topic (click the link to see the video!).
Things to Teach Your Kids About Being Safe
1. Don’t say “don’t talk to any strangers”, that is not realistic. Instead teach children which strangers are safe (security guards, police, teachers in their school)
2. Tell your children they cannot do anything, take anything or go anywhere with anyone unless they ask for your permission. Remind your children that you will never send a stranger to pick them up.
3. Be aware of the adults in your life and in your kids’ life.
4. Listen to your children and take them seriously
5. Have a family rule that no secrets are allowed ever especially ones involving an adult.
6. Do not put your children’s names on the outside of any personal belongings.
7. Don’t scare your kids when teaching them about safety. There is a fine line between making them aware and freaking them out. Do it in a loving and easy going way but make sure they take it seriously.
8. As soon as you can, teach your kids their address and phone number (and cell phone numbers). It’s important that they know how to get hold of you during the day, at work. You may want to consider having your business card in your child’s backpack or inside coat pocket.
9. Tell your children if someone calls and you are not available, or if your teen is home alone they should never tell anyone they are alone .
10. Teach kids that it is okay to say no to an adult if something doesn’t feel right; that they can learn to trust their instincts.
11. Teach your children that If they get lost in a public place to go to someone in charge (police, security, cashier, store manager) or to freeze and yell if there is no one suitable to go to.
12. Teach children from a young age that they are the boss of their body (and everyone else is the boss of their own body as well) and that their private parts are indeed private.
Specific Tips for Internet Safety For Kids:
1. Keep home computers in a central, visible place. This also goes for tablets, iPads and smart phones. If your child disappears into their room with a remote device be aware of what they are doing on it.
2. Be honest with your kids about what is unsafe behaviour for them to exercise online. Teach them about cyber bullying, cyber stalking and about giving out personal information to people and websites.
3. Limit computer time (kids need fresh air, creative play and playdates!).
4. Know what games and sites your kids are using (use the computer with them on a regular basis, talk to them about what games they like to play and what sites they like to visit).
5. All accounts should be set up in your name with you creating the passwords until they understand how to properly — and safely — use the web.
6. Try and be on top of all privacy terms (on sites, at school) and ask a friend to help with this if you need it, because this can sometimes be difficult to do and time consuming to do alone.
Image Credit: pawpaw67/flickr
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