If it were up to you, you’d be by your child’s side all of the time. At the very least, your child would always be under some sort of supervision, whether that be from a nanny, or simply from you checking in on them through the surveillance cameras, while you’re in the other room. But, neither of these scenarios is sustainable. Sometimes, you just can’t keep an eye on your kids. When they reach a certain age—around five—they crave more independence. And you simply don’t feel right restricting them to a toddler playpen anymore. So it’s very important to teach children these important safety rules by the time they turn five.
Never give out your address
Your children should know to never tell a stranger their address. Even if they get lost, they shouldn’t give out this information. They should go into a business and ask to use the phone to call you. Or, they can give the clerk your phone number to call you. But they shouldn’t give your home address to a stranger, requesting they take them home.
Don’t go anywhere with a stranger
Make sure your children know that they should never go anywhere with a stranger, even if that stranger claims to know you or your family.
Do not open the door
Children should never open the door to your home without your permission. If someone knocks, they should know to find you, and tell you that someone is at the door. But, they shouldn’t open it.
Look for help in a business
If your children are ever at a park, or somewhere public, and they feel unsafe, they should go into the nearest business and ask for help. Teach them to never go to someone’s private home. They should only seek assistance in commercial businesses.
Know these important phone numbers
Give your children a list of phone numbers including 911, your family member’s, your neighbor’s, and any regular childcare professional. Make sure they understand that 911 is only for emergencies—and teach them what qualifies as an emergency—and that, should they need someone to pick them up and cannot reach you, they can use the other phone numbers on the list.
Don’t keep secrets
Tragically, the reason so many molesters get away with what they do is that they ask their victims to keep secrets. That’s why it is important for you to teach your child to never keep any secrets from you. In fact, teach your child that, should someone else ask them to keep a secret, they should immediately report that to you.
Always leave if they don’t feel safe
Teach your children to trust their instinct. If they ever feel unsafe or uncomfortable—even if this is at a slumber party with other kids—they should call you, and ask that you pick them up. If they truly feel unsafe, they should leave and go to the nearest business. If it’s late at night, they should call 911.
Do not give out passwords
Make sure your children know that they should never give out passwords. These include passwords to your garage door opener, passwords to a smart lock on your front door, computer passwords, security system passwords, and anything else that requires a code for activation.
Don’t leave the store if they lose you
If you and your child ever lose one another in a store, make sure your child knows not to leave the store. Rather, they should go to the clerk, and tell them they’ve lost you so the clerk can make a storewide announcement.
Keep personal information private online
Instruct your children not to share private information online including address, information about their parent’s finances, what school they go to, or travel dates.
Children are so happy-go-lucky and, naturally, you want to maintain their childlike wonder as long as possible. But you can do that and still give them important instructions for their safety.