Teach your child that:
- a stranger is anyone that they do not know
- they should never ever go with a stranger no matter what they say, teach your child that strangers will sometimes make up stories about lost puppies or lollies but that no matter what they say they should not go with them (no means no always)
- you will never send someone to pick them up that they have not met before
- they should not just not talk to strangers but that they should not talk to anyone that they do not know
- they should play in groups and never walk home alone (strangers are much more likely to approach a child who is alone than one who is in a group)
Tell your child to:
- yell and yell loud “stranger, stranger I don’t know you” and to run away if they are approached by someone they do not know
- always tell you if someone has approached them (sometimes children believe they will get in trouble, assure them that this will not happen)
Things to bear in mind:
- educate your child about stranger danger in an age appropriate way. For example we can’t expect a three year old child to understand the subtleties of stranger danger. At this age it is enough to teach them to stay by your side when out and not to wander off. As your child gets older they can learn the difference between meeting someone new when mum and dad are present and being approached by a stranger when they are alone.
- set good examples for your children, for example don’t open the door without asking who is there
- you can actively teach your child to recognise strangers (people they do not know) by mixing in some photos you have cut out of magazines with photos of family members familiar to your child. Then go through the photos and ask your child to pick out the people they would and wouldn’t talk to. You will need to change the magazine cut outs each time so they do not become familiar to your child.
- Above all else teaching your children about stranger danger is not a once off lesson. It is a lesson that you and your child need to regularly revisit.
The aim of these guidelines is not to frighten our children or to make them scared of every new person they meet, rather it is to keep them safe from that tiny minority of adults who pose a risk to them.