Talking About Staying Safe With Children
Adventurous, independent and inquisitive children can have parents thinking about safety - often! It’s great that your little one is keen to explore, and while you probably want to give them the space to do so, it’s natural to be concerned about their safety.
Help them make good choices as they navigate the world with some constructive conversations. Chat openly and calmly about some hypothetical situations. By discussing the potential dangers that might arise, your child builds up some risk-management skills, and you can relax (a little!) knowing they know how to stay safe in certain situations.
Of course, striking a balance is important here. We don’t want to scare kids by teaching them about the horrors of the real world. So avoid going into detail about worst-case scenarios, even if that’s all you can think about! Just building awareness of potential dangers is the goal here.
Ask children to put themselves in hypothetical situations
While we can’t keep both eyes on children at all times, it’s still down to us to make sure they’re safe. We can let them spread their wings as they grow up and equip them with the confidence to assess risk and make smart choices.
Embark on a “what would you do if…” line of questioning. Invite children to place themselves in hypothetical situations - keep it light and casual and feel free to throw in some funny questions to make the activity enjoyable.
This provides a safe place to problem-solve, giving children time to assess how they’d really respond to potentially harmful situations. Hopefully, they’ll be able to return to these strategies if something similar ever did happen in real life (minus the aliens and Godzilla, of course).
It helps to talk about health and safety risks children might come across on a daily basis. Avoid going straight to “lecture” style conversations; try asking open-ended questions for a more interactive and productive chat.
Stranger danger is much less of a risk than our parenting emotions would have us believe. However, it’s still important to teach our children how to interact with strangers - even if the leading benefit ends up being our own peace of mind.
Generally, we can start teaching children about stranger danger at 4 years old. Avoid going for the blanket advice of “don’t talk to strangers”. Sometimes, children may need to talk to strangers. What would they do if they were lost, for example?
Instead, teach kids about when it’s appropriate to talk to strangers, and make sure they know which behaviour to be wary of. The New Zealand Police recommend this behaviour-savvy approach, rather than focusing on the “types of people” that may cause harm.
Show them how to identify inappropriate or potentially harmful behaviour, and what to do when they see it.
Cover the following stranger danger foundational guidelines with your children:
Keeping our kids safe is our number 1 priority as parents. You can have these chats without putting real fear into children; make sure they’re aware of risks but still feel confident in exploring the world around them, within the boundaries you’ve set.
We’re here to support you on your parenting journey. If you have any questions or want to enquire about our Kids’ Kampus Childcare Centre, give us a call on (09) 630 1454.
Blog written with inspiration from https://parentingplace.nz/.