Keeping Predators Away from Your Kids in Childrens Stores
I homeschool my oldest child and one of the classes we’ve been covering in her kindergarten class is “stranger danger.” Before our children were born, my husband and I lived in a higher crime area. Living in a larger city, we were both concerned about raising a family in a safe environment. That was completely naive thinking on our parts, in the present we know, it’s a matter of making sure your home is safe and teaching your children from an early age to be aware of the danger of strangers. You’d think that your kids would be safe when you’re just shopping in childrens stores, but watch this video http://youtu.be/k0CQrV_cF5s of what happened in just one second when a mother stepped a few feet away from her daughter when they were clothes shopping. A man grabbed her daughter very quickly and thank goodness she managed to fight him off. The ending to that story could have been very different.
When to Start Teaching Stranger Danger
My oldest is 5-years old, and my youngest of my three awesome kids is just learning to walk. I talk to all my kids about strangers. I’m a member of a playgroup and when my daughter was 3- years old, this creepy guy was going around to all the kids that didn’t have a parent within a few feet and asking them to come see his box of puppies. A couple of moms in our group walked up to him and said they would love to see his box of puppies, and he left. We filed a statement with the police, and they seemed to know who the young man was. The ramifications of what he may have had in mind were horrifying to think about.
Keeping Kids Safe in Childrens Stores
When you’re shopping some rules for parents is to teach your kids to stay with you. I know out of my 3 kids I can count on saying, “Please stay with us” at least 20 times to my middle child. He’s 3-years old and has a tendency to walk off when I am the slightest bit distracted. He’s doing better, but he just gets fascinated and starts walking. We’re working on a reward system for my two oldest kids, so staying with mom when shopping isn’t seen as something you “have” to do but something you “want” to do because it’s smart. My youngest has just barely started to walk so he isn’t part of the “please stay with Mommy” song yet.
Childrens Stores Shopping Rules
We set some ground rules for shopping. I know a lot of parents let their kids go nuts in stores and run around, play hide and seek in the clothes, but that’s not my kids. I like to know exactly where they are and what they are doing. We established some rules that we cover often with my two older kids. If for some amazing reason they get separated from me, they know to look for a policeman or fireman and to stay in a public place. Never leave with anyone that says they will bring them to me, I’ll always come to them in a public place.
Teaching Stranger Danger
Every time I read in the paper about a child abduction or an incident where a child was almost abducted. It scares me, and also makes me very sad for the state of the world. However, it also makes me vigilant about teaching my kids how to handle meeting a stranger if it happens, or what to do if they get lost. The National Crime Prevention Council has some great tips you can go over with your kids : http://www.ncpc.org/topics/violent-crime-and-personal-safety/strangers.
I realize this isn’t a very happy topic, and it can make you uncomfortable. It’s unfortunately something we need to teach our kids to keep them safe. Use these tips and please visit the NCPC site to get some great pointers on keeping your kids aware of stranger danger so your every visit to childrens stores, the park, or other public outing is always a safe one.