My 2 kids age 5 and 2.5 are very friendly and I am worried about them. I have had a talk to them about not talking to strangers but they haven’t seemed to have listened. My son starts school next year and I won’t be able to watch him while he is in the play ground. Any suggestions? Thanks in advance.

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  • Having a code word is a good idea. If a stranger asks the child to go with them, the child asks the stranger for the code word. Teach your child that if the stranger doesn’t know the code word, you don’t go anywhere with them.

  • I had this fear with my eldest who is very extravert as easily makes contact with everyone. She’s 15yr now, but matured naturally in this regard. However I watched with my kids video’s warning them of strangers.
    I have an even bigger fear by my 5yr old. She has Down syndrome and literally runs up to anyone and everyone to give them a hug or even a kiss. I found some video’s on YouTube kids with songs and stories not to open the door, talk and go with strangers. I don’t know what she picks up from it, but she watches it regularly and I think repetition won’t harm.

  • Read red riding book as it’s about stranger danger & roll played. Taught them there full name, phone number & address & just made it a game & repetition lots of it.

  • Really push the importance of them never going anywhere with someone they don’t know. Gently let them know that not all people are good people and they need to be careful. Good luck, it’s a tough one

  • Yes i did and i think it went in one ear and out the other. I asked my son what would he do if he was at the park and a stranger offered him lollies while i was chasing after his siblings to bring them back to the one spot to play. He said his reply would be yes please. I explained the reply should be No and for him to always run after me if i have to chase his siblings. Still a little worried though.

  • I have told them that not everyone has their best interests at heart and that, unfortunately, there are some people who are not very nice. It is best to get to know new adults when you are around other adults you are comfortable with (e.g. teachers, parents). Also, if you are ever worried or not sure about the way someone you don’t know is behaving, you can always find a safe person to confide in (teacher, parent, police officer). If someone touches you and you don’t want them to, then scream as loud as you can to GET YOUR HANDS OFF ME

  • Why not find out if your school has an Adopt-a-Cop scheme, and see if they can have a chat with him.

  • I remember being with my daughter then 7 and her talking to a man in a coffee line, then she saw him again somewhere else in the shop and her acknowledging him. I then said, ‘who is he’ and she was like remember him in the line. I then explained to her, just because he seemed nice doesn’t mean the next person will be, and he was actually a stranger. I think giving an example without scaring them is the way to go.

  • I started when my boys where young – just able to talk. We don’t talk to strangers. Strangers being anyone we don’t know or who haven’t been invited to our house. We did talk about seeing the postman at the shop in that instance he is a stranger, seeing a hairdresser in a restaurant they are a stranger. And then when they start school teachers in the school are ok, if we see them out shopping a wave or a simple hello is ok too but that is it.
    My children know to do whatever it takes to not get taken and when they get cocky and say I’ll just… I waited until he was not expecting anything then walked over and grabbed him from behind and asked what he would do now if it was a stranger who’d grabbed him. When he wasn’t able to get few he started to understand. :) it’s not about scaring them but making them aware.

  • Maybe ask your local policeman to see if they can talk to them?

  • Interested in following this my boy is also too friendly. It is hard cause you dont want them to distrust everyone but dont want them to talk to anyone and everyone.

  • Before our DD started school we didn’t teach her about stranger danger as she was with one of us at all times and not one to just wander off, once she started school they had their stranger danger program.

  • Some really great suggestions ladies thank you so much.

  • Following this very topical question. My son is almost 2 and something I have thought about since I was pregnant with him – how to tech your kids to be safe without putting a bubble around them. Some great suggestions here

  • I read recently that teaching them stranger danger using a password system is ideal at an early age. I remember years ago I told my youngest son when he wanted to go on the school bus that if I wasn’t at the bus stop to pick him up he was to stay on the bus. Sure enough that ONE time happened, he was fine with it but Mum was a nervous wreck until finally the bus driver pulled over after the 2nd lap of our suburb! I was so proud of him for doing what he was told!

  • I told my kids that strangers were anyone in a new or different situation. For instance, the man behind the counter at the deli was ok and could help you if you were lost but if you saw him at a footy match he was a stranger! Or the mailman was a friend when he was at our letterbox but not at a restaurant. Sometimes a stranger becomes a friend, as mum & dad get to know them. My 3 didn’t find it confusing, they just slotted people into the category of “where they should be” and it worked.

  • Its a different strategy these day . at school they call it safe people safe places? My mainj focus has been on protective behaviours which includes everyone involved in my child’s life, friend or stranger. The small percentage of stranger interactions I have given a non-specific answer where I say “you need to stay with me at the school/shop/etc” as not everyone is nice. I have said if they get lost they need to look for another mum with kids or a shopkeeper/person in uniform. If someone ever approaches them I say “run” . I have not given them a password etc as I think that encourages them to interact with the person and could mean the difference in them getting away from a car for eg. I have done what if scenarios with my kids where I role play things . There was a UK study which showed children in view of their parents being lured away by a man with a dog lead for eg. kids up to 11 were taken in by this. (it was an experiment) I have explained to my older kids aged 5 and 6 that people could try and trick you into going with them like look for my dog, come and race with me, your mum said to come with me so my son particularly has a good idea what to look for. When my 3 and 5 yr old talks to random strangers I have explained that is not appropriate as they do not know her. I keep reiterating this. Its a fine line you want children to be confident in their environment but able to take care of themselves. Try and stay away from any examples of what a person can do to a child if they take them as that can give night mares and make them scared. I think at your childrens age keep it simple , stay where i can see you so you cannot get hurt/lost or someone you dont know might take you away . A good resource for protective behaviours is Tess Rowleys book “everyone’s Got a Bottom” and cd rom for school age kids Dittos kidsafe adventure available from http://www.childabuseprevention.com.au

  • My son would talk to anyone and everyone. It used to worry me so I told him he couldn’t talk to anyone that he didn’t know their name….so then he would ask their name first of course and start talking! He’s 9 now and is aware of stranger danger… It seemed to be a maturity thing

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  • My 5yr old is the same, very talkative to anyone & everyone. It was really starting to worry me because he’d just talk to anyone about anything, simple things like ‘my Daniel (step dad) works until it’s dark’ or just hello, my name is …………….. (First & last name) i thought it was his age at first but I spoke to our doctor & he suggested that mr5 should ask if he can talk to that person or this person etc. I sat mr5 down & discussed it with him which he seemed to understand, for us this works having to ask the parent if it’s okay to talk to that person. I think that there is far too many dangerous people in our society and you can never be too careful about who your letting your kids talk to/be near.

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