Mike, the Sunshine Dad, is father of four toddlers. Here are seven conversations he has learned to have with them.
We all want our kids to be safe and there are some basic and simple steps we can take to help them be just a little more prepared should a potentially dangerous situation arise. The first thing we have to do is talk to our kids about some of these situations they may encounter.
This seems so obvious but I bet many of us haven’t had all of these conversations. Then once you’ve had the conversation and gone over the proper course of action you should review these steps periodically with your child so they stay fresh in their mind. Here are a few of the conversations you should be having with your kids:
What do you do if there is a fire in the house. Teach your kids to crawl if there is smoke. Teach them about feeling if doors are hot before opening them. Teach older kids how to use a fire extinguisher. Agree on a family meeting spot outside where everyone goes to in the event of an emergency which requires evacuating the house.
Lost in a store
What do you do if we get separated in a store and you can’t find me. Don’t leave the store. Look for an employee or go to the front register and tell them you can’t find your mommy or daddy. This seems like obvious information and most kids when calm would probably come up with this idea, but in a state of panic they might not. If you have discussed this with them beforehand they are much more likely to remember and stay calm.
Getting off bus/Home from school
We have a plan in place if no one is at the bus stop or at the house after school. I sure hope this never happens but if for some reason it should, we have a plan in place and we periodically review this plan.
Someone offers you a puppy/candy
This is actually a difficult conversation to have with your young innocent child. To have to tell them that there are evil people out there in the world that would like to steal them. You don’t need to go into all the gory details or create some situation where your child is afraid to be in public for fear of being kidnapped, but you also don’t want them to be completely oblivious to the fact either. So you let them know of common tactics used to lure kids away and you tell them to get a trusted adult and to never go anywhere with a stranger.
Someone tries to take you
I spend a lot of time telling my kids not to bite, hit or scream but I let them know that if someone ever tries to take them that is exactly what they are to do.
Accident to mom/dad
We have a plan in place if I am home with the kids by myself and I have some sort of accident or medical issue. Periodically I quiz them on different scenarios and have them tell me what they are supposed to do. Call 911, go next door for help. If something happens, they have a plan.
Create a secret password
This is one that we actually have not done yet and we need to. Your family needs to come up with a code word that in the event mom or dad sent someone the kids didn’t know to pick them up then the stranger would have to use the password and the children could know mom and dad really did send them. In the cellphone age this is becoming less necessary but it’s easy to create and could come in handy, so why not. For older kids you can also create a code word or phrase that lets them inconspicuously alert you they are in trouble or need you to come get them. If for example they are with their friends and being peer pressured to do something or just don’t feel safe, but don’t feel like they can just say “Dad come get me.” there could be a code “Dad you know I don’t like meat loaf.” Then you would know something was up and you needed to get over there right away.
Some of these conversations are a little bit harder than others. No one likes to think of our little ones as being in danger but the more we can discuss it and practice it with them ahead of time the more they are apt to handle themselves appropriately in the event one of these situations occurs.
In the end that’s the whole point — make these the conversations you had, rather the ones that you should have had.
Originally appeared on The Sunshine Dad.
Photo: Flickr/ Sundaramoorthy Pandranki