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Explain and not scare: how to talk to your child about safety


Source: Life hacker

Talking about babies in the forest, maniacs on the streets and biting sockets is a wrong tactic. Lifehacker collected eight tips to help you easily teach your child about safety.

Photo: Shutterstock

1. Argument, not frightening

Scary stories will make the child unnecessarily worry, but will not teach how to behave in a critical situation. Focus on safety over potential threats, avoiding flashy and emotional details that only fuel fear.

  • It is necessary: "Do not go to the forest without adults - there you can get lost and get lost", "Bad people can steal you."
  • Do not: “Don't go to the forest - there are babies, evil wolves and maniacs”, “Bad people will take you, take you to a scary basement and keep you in a cage there, and then eat you”.

2. Explain gradually

If you tell everything at once, there is a risk that the child will learn only a tiny part. Or, worse, get confused and remember the wrong thing. It is better to divide security conversations into topics and tie them to situations. For example: walking down the street - discuss the traffic rules, go to the beach - talk about safety by the water.

3. Choose your words carefully and control your emotions

The child reads the emotional mood of the parent, so you need to talk calmly, and not strictly or excitedly.

Try to avoid words that can be interpreted in several ways. For example, "stranger" is unfortunate, and here's why. If you tell your child that he should beware of all strangers, he will simply become afraid of new people. And detractors can use a simple trick: tell about yourself and stop being a stranger. In addition, sometimes the danger to children can come from familiar people.

It is better to tell the child that the world is multifaceted and people are different - both acquaintances and strangers. Teach him the rules of personal safety that must not be violated:

  • "Don't be afraid to express emotions." If the child does not like that someone is lisping with him, hugs him, sits on his knees or tries to kiss him, he should say so directly. Even if it's a family member.
  • "You have personal boundaries, they cannot be violated." Explain what sexual integrity is. And be sure to ask your child to talk about strange behavior on the part of adults - acquaintances and strangers.
  • "Don't be afraid to say no." If a stranger just walked up to a child on the street and started a conversation, offered to get into his car or visit him, he should be able to give a clear refusal.
  • "Listen to yourself." If a child does not like an adult, he may not communicate with him without a twinge of conscience.

4. Let your child dream up

Ask questions and ask for answers. For instance: "What do you think will happen if you touch the fire?" or “Which of the people on the street do you think is a bad person? Why?" The child will remember his independent conclusions better, especially if you praise them. In this way, you will bring him to the awareness of the situation, and will not just establish prohibitions.

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5. Don't turn a security discussion into a serious conversation.

Better to talk about the rules in between things while you go out, have lunch or get ready for bed. You can even turn the explanation into a game, so it will be easier for the child to remember.

For example, play "You Can Not Do" like "Edible - Inedible." Throw the ball to the child and name the right and wrong actions: if it is safe to do it, you need to catch the ball, if not, throw it away. At the same time, be sure to periodically change roles so that everyone can lead.

In addition to talking and playing, you can watch cartoons and read children's books with rules. Such an entertaining form will captivate the child, and he will be more willing to learn safe behavior.

6. Teach to ask questions and ask for help

Ask your child to ask questions when something is not clear or familiar to him. Calmly answer them, even if he asks what you have already mentioned several times. Remember: your main goal is to teach your child safe behavior, not just give him information.

If you are not around, let’s say because the child is lost, he should know which of the adults you can turn to for help in kindergarten, school, on the street, in the subway, and so on. Explain that there are people you can trust among strangers, such as uniformed employees such as salespeople, bank employees, police officers, doctors. And if they are not nearby, it is better to seek help from passers-by with children, grandmothers or married couples.

Important: do not scold your child for shouting on the street. He should know that making noise and running is not ashamed, and if some unknown uncle or aunt tries to take him away with him, he should draw attention to himself.

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7. Don't scold for mistakes

Do not scold or punish your child if he unknowingly exposed himself to danger, for example, reached into a power outlet or took a candy from a stranger. Instead of shouting and threats, you need to sit down and calmly explain why this cannot be done.

8. Teach by example

If a parent insists that it is only possible to cross the road by a zebra crossing or at a traffic light, he himself should not cross the street in the wrong place. Say that you shouldn't ride in an elevator with strangers - and don't go in yourself when you are traveling with a child.

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