It is rare that I say there is something that applies to all children. I’m a pretty laid back parent and I am all about supporting moms and dads, even when their parenting styles differ from my own. But this is one I think is really important. These are things that I believe, apply to every child. Safety rules that we should actively be teaching our kids from the moment they can comprehend them. This post contains affiliate links.
Not all strangers are dangerous – We all know the famous “stranger danger” rule, but in the even that my kiddo gets lost, I don’t want him terrified of asking for help. Instead of warning against all strangers, we teach the kids to look for another mom if they can’t find one us. Hunt for a nice lady that has little kids with her, and ask her for help. This way, the child won’t be afraid to receive help from the very people who would be able to safely assist them in finding me.
Related: 3 things to teach your kids before they ever have a chance to get lost
Mom and Dad’s names – Again, if a child is lost, it’s not helpful for every one to run around calling for “mommy”. Learning that mommy’s name is Paula Rollo means they can always communicate who they are looking for and who they belong with. After they know your name, you can also begin working on your phone number. I loved this mom’s method to teach kids their phone number. It’s important for kiddos to know!
Street Safety – Looking both ways before crossing streets, holding hands, and general awareness of cars and watching out for them. It’s important for littles to know that they need to be aware of the cars, because cars won’t always be able to see them!
About their bodies – Kids need to know they have ownership of their own bodies. They need to know that hugs, kisses and touching are always their choice. They have the power to say no and a can always speak up if some one is doing something to their body that they don’t like or makes them feel funny. They should know that there are some parts of their body that should never be touched by another person and that they shouldn’t touch others in those areas either. This does not have to be a scary conversation. You can use simple children’s books to spark the conversation and leave it at that until their questions and maturity level would make a deeper conversation more appropriate. Although it’s goal is abuse prevention this book helped my toddlers understand why they can’t hit/kick/pinch other kids too. “Their bodies belong to them, my body belongs to me”. An easy way to show that every one is in control of their own bodies and we never harm another person’s body or touch them in a way that they do not want.
While your safety rules may differ a bit from mine, the main point is that we are thinking about these things and discussing them with our kids. As much as we may hope and aim to be around to protect and guide them throughout every moment of their lives, the simple truth is we can’t be. It’s our job as parents to not only protect them physically, but to also teach them to make correct choices and know that they have the power to say no and stand up for themselves.
These discussions are important pieces of every child’s life.
What safety rules are you teaching your children?
Here are some of our favorite resources for teaching kids about body safety in an age appropriate and fun way.
In addition to these safety rules, here’s one more conversation a lot of parent’s skip… What do you think?
I’m sure you can tell that this is a topic I am very passionate about. You can read more of my personal story and history as a child abuse survivor here, and why I’m so passionate about educating kids about how to protect themselves, while also doing everything in our power to keep them safe.
If you feel stuck with how to approach the topic of abuse with your young kids, I’ve compiled a list of books I recommend to start the conversation with your little ones. These can get you started with kids as early as two years old! Each of these talks about boundaries in a safe, age-appropriate way for young kids.
Why you should not be teaching your kids about “stranger danger” (and what to teach them instead).
I teach my daughter to put her hand on the circle (gas door) on my car & a hand on my leg so I can get her brother in & out of the car seat. She’s almost 3. Also it keeps her close. We also say parking lots are NOT safe!!! So we must look both ways & BE SAFE! & hurry into our car. I hate having my back turned while loading & unloading
I used to say “Touch the tire.” It worked beautifully for my almost 12 year old. My current 3.5er, not so much. It’s her way or the highway.
Mrs. Gamgee says
HI – I stumbled across your blog via pinterest, and I love this post. It’s so important to teach our wee-lings to be safe. I’m glad that you included body autonomy in your list… it’s something we have always reinforced with our children. We’ve taught them to politely say no to unwanted touch (hugs, tickles, whatever) and then to speak up if they aren’t being heard.
I have used all of the other above ideas with our 2 little ones, along with how to call 911 and what to expect when they call. I am diabetic, and while I do my very best to keep my sugars in check there is the slight possibility that I could need help some day. Our oldest (4.5yo) knows how to use both the home phone and my cell in case of emergencies. Our three year old is just beginning to get these things, but he’s getting there.
Thanks for the tips. My toddler knows our first names (not just mommy and papa). However, in reading this I realize that I need to teach her our last name too. I guess I should start teaching her our phone number too.
My daughter has started calling me Mrs. Maher because I teach K in the town where she goes to daycare. ?
Kristine Griffin says
I taught my three children how to spell their names and their phone number through song. Out just so happens that all three have seven-letter names, so I used the tune of “Twinkle Twinkle” to teach them everything!
I taught my four kids that if they lose mommy in a store etc. to stand still. It’s easier for me to backtrack and find them than if they start wandering around looking for me.
These are all valid. I also add their street and city (OK if you’re in a HUGE city like NYC that won’t work). I always figure if something happened and my child only know their first/last name, street and city someone with some basic authority could find us.
My day care provider has always said that it’s OK to talk to strangers but NEVER OK to go with them. It’s true, if a stranger says to my child, “my your well behaved” I want my child to be polite enough to say “Thank you” But if a stranger says come with me to find your Mom, then they need to say no and possible start screaming.
Miss B says
Me and my husband have taught our 3 children to go into a shop for help or to someone that has children.
Teaching them this saved my life, I was out with my daughter and had a seizure (I’m a diagnosed epileptic). At the beginning of my seizure I walked into the road and then dropped to the floor. I cut my head open and was bleeding quite badly.
The only thing I remember was coming round in the ambulance and my daughter saying to me ” mummy , I went to a lady with a pushchair” , I was so proud of her.
When teaching phone numbers, don’t forget your area code. If you start from the beginning, it’s easier than trying to add it later. When traveling or even visiting nearby towns, this can be a crucial piece of information.
Great list! I do like parking lot safety and 911 too.
I would add why it’s important to always stay buckled while the car is on. My three year old can unbuckle himself and will occasionally undo his chest strap while I’m driving. He’s always good to apologize about it and snap it back, sometimes even before I know it’s unbuckled, but every time we have to have that talk about how straps keep us safe. The scene from big hero 6 where baymax buckles hiro in has helped us with that :-).
My grandkids love to sing (so do I) I taught them to “sing” our phone number, the town we live in and how to spell our last name. We used song and travel time in the car. Mastering phone number first, town then spelling. Ages 3 y.o. boy and 6 y.o. girl.
I need to work on a few of these, my son is so friendly and trusting, he’ll go with anyone I’m afraid. Although he gets a weird vibe sometimes and won’t talk or sit near certain people at church or in public. http://Www.JW.org Has a video and article for helping teach children to say no to strangers or people who want to hurt them. It’s simple and to the point and a cartoon so my kids like it. Thanks for the tips!
I never made my children talk to strangers. I always see parents making their kids tell someone hello. I understand about being polite etc. However, I think it’s more important for kids to trust their own instinct. They may not feel comfortable with someone and shy away. They may not be able to communicate what they are feeling to you. They need to know that’s okay and to go with it. If you force them to talk to a stranger when they feel uncomfortable with them they may get confused later when they are alone and someone is making them feel uncomfortable. They might think they are being rude or get in trouble because they were forced to talk or be around someone previously.
This is a good point I’m trying to be better about. I’m pretty outgoing but my son is pretty shy and often looks “grumpy” to strangers (like at the supermarket). I always appreciate the people who say something (to him but for my benefit) like, “you’re right – you don’t know me!” when he’s giving them the evil eye. ;-)
So really what you’re teaching them is that not all peaple are bad, only men are….. ?!!
I think it is extremely important to teach kids animal safety rules as soon as possible. I don’t have kids yet, but I am a dog owner. Far too many children have approached my dogs and interacted with them inappropriately (grabbing and pulling ears and tails, yelling, running up, poking the dogs’ eyes and noses, trying to physically move my dogs’ heads and bodies, etc). This all happens with parents right behind the kid and smiling like this is normal. Animals’ bodies also have a right not to be touched if they don’t want it, especially by strangers. Teaching children how not to approach animals is best for their safety because dogs bite, cats claw, and ponies kick.
The find a mummy technique is an excellent idea to teach kids what to do if there lost the only thing i told my kids to do diffrently is to find an adult either male or female with children. An other idea is the kids smart watch with tracking in them you can get these for 30-40 from various internet places the kids think they have a cool watch that takes pictures and you have an almost exact place of where they are. The only other thing is internet saftey as parents and were all guilty of it is giving our kids our phones ipads or tablets to quite them down to let us got on with things either helping the others with homework or making dinner etc, the younger the child the easier it is to teach them the dangers of the internet and have a look at child only browsers. Dougie
Great points, especially full name and parents names. A few years ago, I worked overnight in a hotel. Had a little guy, around 4, get confused, walked out into the hall, and got locked and very confused. Someone brought him down to the desk. He was able to give his full name and dad’s name when asked. Think mom was a bit confused when I called and asked if they were missing a little boy.
Thank you for the great ideas. Please add my email address to get your ideas.
Sanjay Kumar says
Thanks for sharing an informative blog related to child safety. We all parents need to aware of the unthinkable movement for our kids. You placed a great point about our children safe. I recommended kids tracking apps name as “findmykids” You can visit the website https://findmykids.org/en/ and download it from AppStore and GooglePlay
I think its great help for every parent.
Ray A. says
i love this post. thanks for the tips..
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