Family Safety Plans Your Kids Should Practice
Let’s be clear: Today’s world is totally different from what it was a generation ago. It operates under a different set of rules, which makes it almost impossible to establish a set of standards by which children should follow to stay safe. The reality of the world today is that it can be a dangerous place. Like it or not, children should be trained in ways that will enable them to avoid perilous situations or that teaches them how to safely escape should they find themselves caught in a frightening position. The following is a reference for family safety plans your kids should practice.
Guidelines for Inside the Home
Keep in mind that while teaching children about how unsafe the world can be, adults run the risk of transferring their fears into younger children which will do more harm than good. And yet, the urgency and significance of teaching children about protecting themselves demand we teach them sooner rather than later. Begin by instilling simple rules at the earliest age possible:
Making it a daily, enjoyable exercise to start teaching children how to repeat their complete home address and telephone number. Show them how to use the telephone to dial their own number and “911”. Tell them not to open the door for ANYONE other than for people they know whom they and their parents feel comfortable around. Secure you home with ADT monitoring and a security system kids know how to operate. Be sure they know what to do if it goes off.
Technology in the Home
As children grow older, more rules should be introduced, especially about what they should do when home alone for short periods of time. However, it becomes trickier trying to establish guidelines, mainly because children today have more freedom to engage in activities that bring the world into the home (cell phones, internet, etc.). Following are some ideas of what instructions should be given:
Explain the importance of not revealing any personal information about themselves or their family, i.e., home, school, or work (of parents) addresses.
Children 7 – 12 years old who do not have cell phones should be instructed to allow house phone calls to go to voice mail. They can be taught how to access voice mail so they can immediately check the message that’s left and determine what, if anything, should be done. Regarding teenagers, most of them already have cell phones, so the best way to handle older children is to have frequent discussions explaining to them the dangers that can transpire when on social media and other internet sites.
Help them to identify the wrong people to associate with and to think carefully before giving out their phone numbers.
Know what children are accessing and doing on the internet.
Keep the communication lines open so parents can be familiar with what’s going on in their children’s lives.
Guidelines for Outside the Home
Obviously, children younger than 7 years old should remain in close contact with their parents. For children 7 – 12 years, there are indisputable rules to be followed, such as:
Gather all information about the other children your child spends time with, by knowing their full names, addresses, and telephone numbers of their parents.
1. to travel the SAME route (that the parents know about) when traveling to/from school or a friend’s house.
2. not to play or converse in isolated areas.
3. not to go into public bathrooms alone.
4. to never engage in conversation or go anywhere (in a car or on foot) with strangers and never approach a waiting car with someone calling out to them.
5. if followed, find the nearest restaurant, store, policeman, library, etc., to run up to and seek help.
6. if in danger and they see no other way out, run as fast as possible yelling to bring attention to themselves.
The best alternative parents have today is to begin teaching children as early as possible about the basic guidelines mentioned in this article and continue to make these lessons a part of the daily routine in the household. Consequently, as children get older, they’ll grow in the knowledge of self-protection and will be well on their way to knowing how to handle themselves by the time they become teenagers. After this, communication should open doors that will keep parents well-informed of what’s going on in their children’s lives, thereby making it easier to detect signs of possible trouble before something goes wrong.