Children are bundles of innocence that tend to draw attention, affection & warmth from the people around them. As parents, guardians and caretakers of these precious little ones it becomes extremely important for us to ensure they stay safe at all times.
However, it isn’t always that we can physically be around to watch over them. This makes it necessary for us to equip them with the knowledge and habits that will keep them safe even in our absence.
Firstly, introduce your child to the concept of personal boundaries, healthy touches, his/her body parts and safety. While doing this, be sure to maintain a casual and reassuring tone and not one that will instil fear in them. One of the best ways to increase your preschooler’s safety awareness is to map out rules that are applicable in different situations.
• Guide children to play in your sight
• Inform them to rush to you if any older child/adult makes them feel uncomfortable
• Educate them to never interact with a stranger without your approval
• If somebody makes your child feel uncomfortable, they don’t need to be with that person
• Instruct them to never believe what a stranger tells
• Name and address should never be disclosed to a stranger
• To never go anywhere with anyone – known or unknown, without the knowledge of your parents
• Say NO to gifts/treats from strangers
• Build the buddy system; let children play in groups when outside
• Encourage your child to help his/her friends when they recognise danger by calling out an adult for help
YELL & TELL
• Teach children to yell for help when someone asks him/her to do something inappropriate or does something that makes them uncomfortable
• Encourage your child to tell you when something/someone is hurting him/her
DEFINE SAFE ZONES
• Safe Zone is a place where your child can go to for help in your absence; it could be a friend, relative or neighbour who you fully trust
• Familiarize children to their surroundings; show them routes of your home and point-out friend’s/neighbour’s houses
• Advise children to quickly get away and go to a safe zone if they find someone following them
• Create a safe circle; inform your child who they can approach and share what they feel, be it just talking or discussing something that they are not happy about (Example – his/her teacher)
REACH-OUT TO MOMMY & DADDY
• Help your child memorize your and your spouse’s name & number also your area of residence
• Teach your child to always stay close to you when you go out together. Also, that it’s okay to shout for help if he becomes separated from you
• If they get separated from you let them know they need to stay in one spot and take help of someone he/she can trust – preferably a uniformed person – police, teacher, security, etc.
• Tell them to call and inform you when they are alone in case you are late to pick them from school or a friend’s party; let them know that they should not go along with anyone that is not their parent or guardian
KEEP NO SECRETS
• Talk to your child and always be ready to listen; have conversations about their day and all that they did in order to form a habit of sharing and speaking to you freely
• Always let your child know that there are no secrets between parents and children; this practice is developed when you give time to listen and talk about you