You want your kids to be social, and you are so glad they are, until one day, you realize it’s a bit too much.
We were out at a restaurant, when everybody is commenting on how adorable Maggie is, and then, she just climbs up into some guys lap.
The couple at the table thought it was sweet, so did I, since I was right there, but at the same time, it raised questions in my mind on how to talk to her about this. At the time, she was only about 1 1/2 or so. John and I are both social butterflies, so it is no surprise to us that she is too. It is a wonderful trait to have, but there have to be boundaries.
One of my biggest fears is that age old, “Can you help me find my lost dog? Or some sort of luring away with pets.” Both Maggie and Charlie absolutely LOVE dogs. Well, animals of any sort, but especially dogs. If we go to a park, or sporting event, or anything, where there are people with dogs, the kids immediately run up and ask if they can pet their dog. Okay, not quite immediately, Maggie always tells me she wants to pet the dog, and I tell her she can go ask. In these situations, I know that they are safe, but what about when I’m not always right there? How can I really talk to my toddlers about this?
One thing we do A LOT, is point out safe strangers, like police officers, fire fighters, or if we are at school, teachers. Lately, we have had many opportunities to use these situations to show the kids what we mean. We have been out and about and seen a few police officers over the last few weeks. My kiddos love to say hi to people, and most of the time, people say hi back. The police officers we have run across lately have also stopped and taken a second to say hi, which allows me to say…..Maggie and Charlie, this is a police officer. If you are ever lost, or scared, or need help, you can go to a police officer and ask for help.
Bad strangers come in all shapes and sizes. They don’t have to look scary to be dangerous.
Teach them to follow their instincts. If somebody is making them uncomfortable, tell somebody they trust, right away. Teach them to be assertive – NO, GO, YELL, TELL from the National Crime Prevention Council. If they are uncomfortable or being put in a dangerous situation, teach them to say NO! Run away, yell as loud as possible, and tell somebody they trust.
Talking to your kids about these things often to help them remember them if they are ever in a situation where they need it.
Each week, we are linking up for Tuesday’s Toddler Tales. This week’s topic is Stranger Danger. Next week’s topic is Calling All Sports Fans.
How do you teach your children about stranger danger?