Best Way to Teach a Child About Stranger Danger
The best way to teach a child about stranger danger is to make it understandable to them. It must be on their level for them to remember and make the connection between a person in front of them and a dangerous stranger to avoid. The book about Little Red Riding Hood is one way to make that connection and open up the conversation about stranger danger with a young child. If you are like most people, it has probably been a few years since you have read that book. Dust it off and read it through once again. It may make the difference for a child in your life.
In the story, Little Red Riding Hood stops and chats with the wolf while on her way to visit Grandmother. Hopefully, your child would never be allowed to do such a thing in the first place. However, in the event they do, Little Red Riding Hood made some mistakes we can point out to help a child to understand that many things can go wrong.
Read the book several times to your child. Children learn best through repetition. Listed below you will find some offerings for the book from Amazon. As you read the book, take the time to ask questions and point out things that Little Red Riding Hood should have or shouldn't have done. Take this time to talk about what your child should do in the same situation. First ask what they would do, then explain to them what they should do. They may be right and you can simply praise wise behavior. If not, acknowledge their idea and give them information including reasoning as to why they should do something different. They can connect the reasoning if it makes sense to them.
Show them a video of Little Red Riding Hood. There are several offerings of the story on You Tube. One I prefer is a more gentle version, which is better for the very young child. Be sure to watch them first and make sure it is the appropriate video for what you wish to teach your child. Watching a video is a great reinforcement for a child after reading the book several times. They will actually spot and point out stranger danger items while watching.
While these are all good ideas, the best way to teach a child about stranger danger is hearing it from you! That can come from just talking with them while you are eating or in the car. It can also come from acting out scenes from the book. Act out scenes that your child may some day experience. You know your neighborhood best. Give them examples and ask what they would do. Talk to them about ways to handle the situation. Praise good efforts!
Teach your child that police and fire fighters are their friends. That way they will know to confide in them when they have a concern. Take them to the local fire or police station for a visit. Be respectful and call ahead, but most stations are more than glad to have child visitors! Building a good relationship with these hometown helpers may save your child's life. Children take on our attitude and behavior about others, make sure you have a positive outlook on them yourself.
Find other books and shows that will help. Point out strangers and help your child to practice. Make a game out of it - Good strangers, Bad Strangers. Give them points for good choices and then let them have a reward. It can be an extra ten minutes of T.V or maybe time alone with you! Maybe it is an extra book at bedtime. Children yearn to please and will blossom under your sincere approval! Catch your child being good and praise them. If your child will not speak to the granny in line behind you at the grocery store, simply say, "I am so proud that you are remembering our stranger danger! Good job!" Most people will respectfully reinforce your lesson and the child will be proud to have pleased you!
Children who learn about stranger danger at an early age are 50% less likely to be kidnapped, molested or raped. That is a percentage worth working toward achieving with your child. Arm your child. It's easy, just say, "Let's read this book tonight!"
Text Copyright 2011 Deborah M. Carey
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