Last week, my 5-year-old son started selling pencils to our neighbors, door-to-door. He knows some of these people, but not everyone. Aaron has always been outgoing and gregarious, and his social skills will continue to be a great asset for him throughout life.
My struggle has always been ‘How do I keep him safe?’ while still honoring his friendly nature?
We have had many discussions around not wandering off from the group, not going somewhere with a stranger, even if that person offers candy, toys, a puppy etc. Most of us parents even tell our kids not to talk to strangers at all. But how often has some nice, well-meaning stranger asked our child for his name and age just to make conversation? Often, our children freeze up and look to us for guidance. How can we teach them the difference between harmless and dangerous stranger interaction?
One way is to talk about the different types of strangers. And one stranger category in particular can be an important resource should our kids ever leave our sight : other moms. My son knows that, if he ever gets lost or separated his people, he must talk to a stranger or two in order to get help. Try telling your child this: If he/she ever gets lost, go find another mom. Look for a woman with children and ask her for help.
Heaven forbid our children ever get separated from us. But we all know how easily that can happen. And during crowded summer festivities – like fireworks and trips to the pool/beach/water park – finding a child is like an advanced-level Where’s Waldo? exercise. Having a plan for getting help is a great way to keep our children as safe as possible.
Enough from me…anyone else have safety tips that have served your family well?
Now go enjoy the summer!
(Safety, of course.)