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Works For Me Wednesday- Keeping The Kiddos Safe

  Last week I had the opportunity to speak with Nancy McBride, the Safety Director of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). We spoke about how to keep our children safe and some of the misperceptions how to teach our children about safety. Boy did I learn a lot. Some things we are doing very right, but some things, um, not so much. So I wanted to pass on some info to you that can help you protect your family as best you can.

  • Most abductions happen after school between 2-7 pm. 74% of those abductions are young girls. As a mother of girls, this terrifies me. But what terrifies me more is that studies show only around 50% of families are taking the time to really discuss safety with their children.
  • Lose the “Stranger Danger” message. Kids frankly don’t get it. They think of a stranger as some creepy weirdo and a lot of child pretators aren’t strangers, but people your child knows (coaches, teachers, community leaders, etc.). Children can’t be expected to differentiate good guys from bad guys. The message should instead be to let us know if ANYONE makes them feel uncomfortable.
  • Pay attention and listen to your children. Give validation to their feelings. Kids need to feel safe telling us anything. If they are uncomfortable in a situation, explore why instead of brushing it off. Kids won’t lie if they feel safe. Our children, above all, need to know that we are their “safety person” and trustworthy to tell anything to.
  • The point of teaching safety is not to scare them. Tone should be very reassuring. We want them to know that we love them and want to keep them safe, but that there are people who don’t. Details are not necessary.
  • We need to make sure that in our quest to teach them to be polite, we don’t inadvertantly teach them to ignore the voice that tells them when they are uncomfortable. We shouldn’t force them to talk to people they don’t know that we do. Or hug people if it makes them uncomfortable.
  • Practice safety when you are out in the community. Teach them to stay put where they get lost.  Teach your child who to tell if they are lost. Look for an info booth, name tag for store employee, police officer or mother of children. Just saying, “Don’t talk to strangers” will cause child not to seek help. Children need to know who “safe strangers” are.
  • The internet has not increased the amount of predators, but has provided a new way for them to get to our kids. Make sure you monitor your child’s computer usage and tell them never to start conversations with people they don’t know. There is lots of free software out there to monitor what your kids do, but don’t get lulled into thinking that is enough. You child should understand nothing they post online is private. Other people can and will get a hold of what they do. Post a computer pledge and guidelines next to the computer.

Best of all NCMEC is partnering with Duracell for the third year in a row for the Power of Parents initiative to provide parents even more resources for safety.

If you click on the picture above, you will be taken to the Power of Parents safety handbook with specific tips for various developmental stages from infant through high school. This is a free resource and has been updated to include the latest technology and information. It is a must read for any parent.

Comments

  1. I keep thinking I want to get that safety video that the America’s Most Wanted man made. (What’s his name? Walsh? I’m tired.) Have you seen it? It’s supposed to be good, but I haven’t talked to anyone personally who has seen it. I wonder if this would be an appreciated stocking stuffer? hahaha They’d probably throw it aside with the dreaded “clothes”! =)

    Thanks for the good post. It’s a subject I tend to avoid because it scares the crud out of me!

    Las last blog post..Recipe For Disaster

  2. Thanks so much for this information. I have discussed this with my son before but not this in depth. Thanks for the reminder.

    Amys last blog post..WFMW – Missing Sock Bins

  3. Thank you for passing on this information and website! This is such an important topic. I bookmarked the Power of Parents site. Thanks!

    Jane Annes last blog post..Works-For-Me Wednesday: Celebrating Accomplishments

  4. Those are fantastic tips. It is always a balancing act for me. It is hard to teach the kids to be outgoing and friendly and to enjoy life and not be afraid of the world, but to also teach them to be safe. We do talk about safety a lot, but I struggle with how to frame it so that it doesn’t scare them to death. Thanks for the post!

    frugalisfabs last blog post..Join the Muir Glen Connoisseurs’ Club

  5. Great post. And thanks for the reminder about the 2-7 pm thing. That is terrifying. That’s the time when my daughter wants to be outside riding her bike.

    Beckys last blog post..How To Clean a Toilet the Right Way

  6. I never thought about teaching my boys who the “safe strangers” are they should approach in an emergency. I can see my four year old understanding “go to a mommy” better than look for a store person.

    Great post! Thanks so much!!

    K @ Raise Them Ups last blog post..Of Children, Strength, and Sponges

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