Special Reports - Tips For Your Children's Well-Being

Learning About Strangers

What is a stranger?
(A stranger is anyone you don’t know)

Ask your children what a stranger looks like. You will get a wide range of answers from “Ugly faces” to “Men wearing all black” to “Men wearing masks” to “A stranger can look like anyone”. (correct answer)

Are all strangers bad? Of course not. But some strangers are dangerous even though they may look nice or act friendly. Ask your children if their teacher or coach are strangers? You will probably get mixed answers. You should point out that even though they may know their teacher or coach, they shouldn’t go anywhere or accept anything from them without asking “Parents Permission”!

When to tell!
Always tell your parents, teacher or a trusted adult if a stranger:
-Asks you to go somewhere with him or her.
-Offers you candy, gum, toys or money.
-Tries to join you in playing games.
-Tries to have a conversation with you.
-Tries to touch you.

Try to remember a good detailed description of the stranger.
Cut the small talk! Do not get into a conversation with a stranger. When a stranger keeps trying to talk to you-- "Get your knees in the breeze!" (Explain that the same rules apply at home or on the telephone.)

Is it sometimes OK to be rude to a grownup?
The answer is YES. You have the right to be rude to grownup strangers. Remember strangers are anyone you don’t know.

Is it ever OK to talk to a stranger?
Yes! Some examples are:

1. If you are lost tell a cashier, policeman or security guard.
2. If you see a stranger on school grounds, tell a teacher, counselor or principal.
3. If someone is bothering you, tell a Parent, teacher or trusted adult.

Learning About Strangers
Six Smart Safety Tips
1. Never let a stranger in your home.
2. Never get in a stranger’s car.
3. Don’t go anywhere with a stranger unless he or she knows the family password.
4. Don’t leave a store if you are lost. Tell a store clerk at the register.
5. Always tell your parents about secrets other adults tell you.
6. Always stay two steps away from a stranger and five steps away from a stranger’s car.

Know Basic Information
Children should know their telephone number including the area code, address, parents work number, cell phone number and how to dial 911. Keep a list of important phone numbers near your telephone.


Stranger Safety For Kids
Exercise One- Keep your distance!
Explain to your children about always staying two steps away from a stranger. If a stranger moves toward you, then you must move back keeping the two steps distance between you and the stranger. If a stranger takes three steps toward you, turn around and run (role play). Explain about staying five steps away from a strangers car (role play)

Exercise Two - Assertive Body Language (confidence)
1. Stand up straight! Feet apart. Balanced and stable.
2. Keep your head up.
3. Keep your shoulders straight.
4. Make eye contact when spoken to.
5. Turn and run if a stranger tries to touch you.

Exercise Three - Fear Management
Explain to your children that there is a feeling you can get in the pit of you stomach or the back of your neck that tells you something is wrong. Role play with your children by calling out “Hey Kid!” “Hey you!” “Come here!” waiting for your children to respond each time with “Stay away!” After the yelling gets loud enough (usually three times) have the children take a deep breath and count to three while turning and “putting their knees in the breeze” running away.

Stranger Safety For Kids
Exercise Four - Build A Barrier.
Deliver A Message. Take Action! Ask your children “What part of their bodies is the best weapon for defense?” Wait for a few responses. Explain that a child can not defeat an
adult by fighting. Using your brain to escape is much better than fighting.
-Build a barrier by putting your open hands in front of you and shouting
“Back off!”
-Deliver the message you are trying to get across by shouting “Don’t come
closer!”
-Take action by turning quickly, running and yelling “Stranger! Stranger!
Stranger!”

Exercise Five - It’s OK to say “No!” to strangers.

Most children have been taught to never say “no” to a grownup. This exercise is helpful in developing assertive verbal skills. Explain that it is OK to say “no” to strangers. Pair off facing each other explaining that you are acting as a stranger. You say “yes” while your child says “no”. Go back and forth with increasing volume for about 30 seconds.

Exercise Six - Use A Family Password
In a perfect world, we would never have to have someone else pick up our children instead of us. However, circumstances and emergencies do arise. We may get delayed by traffic or maybe become involved in an accident. There may come a time when we’ll have to have someone pick up our children. If our children are following our directions, they will not leave with that person. What can we do? The answer is use a “Family Password”. A password is a secret word that only our children and we know. Children
should be made to understand that the password is not to be revealed to anyone. When an individual is sent to pick up our children, the password must be asked before our children agree to go. To be effective the word must be reinforced at home. An excellent reminder is to ask your children to repeat the password when leaving the house. In time, using a password will become a habit and a highly effective measure against dangerous situations. Although some people disagree about the use of a password, most safety
experts stress that passwords are an effective safety measure against predators.

Home Practice

Parents, your “Homework Assignment” is to reinforce this program. Please review these concepts with your children. These concepts are valid for adults, too!!

Four Basics Of Assertive Body Language:
-Stand up straight. Stand with your feet slightly apart so you feel balanced and stable.
-Keep your head up.
-Keep your shoulders straight.
-Look people in the eye; not over their heads and definitely not at the ground. Here are some Basics of Assertive Verbal Response:
-Teach Your children to project their voices by speaking from their diaphragms instead of their throat, especially when yelling.
-Use the “Bad Dog” voice and phrases that can be used to set a good boundary. Use the same tone of voice that you might use on your dog if he came up and stole your treats while you weren’t looking.
-Rule of Five is use short sentences with only about five words, and words with no more than five or six letters. For example “I want you to stop.” “You should stop right now.,” “Stop doing that.”, “Don’t come any closer.” “Back off!” “I don’t want any trouble!”, “I don’t know this man!”, etc. The most effective verbal deterrent to a potential assault is an assertive and unwavering “NO!”.

Build A Barrier. Deliver A Message. Take Action!

Ask your child “What part of his body is the best weapon for defense?” Explain that a child can not defeat an adult by fighting. Using your brain to escape is much better than fighting.
-Build a barrier by putting your open hands in front of you and shouting “Back off!”
-Deliver the message you are trying to get across by shouting “Don’t come closer!”
-Take action by turning quickly, running and yelling “Stranger, Stranger, stranger!”

Use A Family Password
A password is a word that only our children and we know. Children should be made to understand that the password is not to be revealed to anyone. To be effective it must be reinforced at home. An excellent reminder is to ask our children to repeat the password when leaving the house. In time using a password will become a habit and a highly effective measure against dangerous situations.

PLACE THIS LIST NEAR YOUR PHONE

IMPORTANT PHONE NUMBERS
EMERGENCY - 911
POISON CONTROL__________________________________________
POLICE ____________________________________________________
FIRE _______________________________________________________
DOCTOR ___________________________________________________
PARENT’S WORK NUMBER __________________________________
PARENT’S CELL PHONE _____________________________________


A Parent’s Checklist
Young children should be taught to:
-Never say they are home alone when answering the phone. Teach your children to take a message and say their parents will phone back.
-Never answer the door. Whether home alone or with another adult, a young child is no match for someone trying to gain entry into the home or abduct the child from the
entryway.
-Never invite anyone into the house without the permission of a parent or other responsible party within the home.
-Never go into other people's houses without letting parents know where they are.
-Never get into anyone's car without a parent’s permission.
-Never take gifts or food from strangers or anyone else without asking a parent first.
-Never play in deserted buildings or isolated areas.
-Never to keep secrets from you. Teach them to tell you if someone has asked them to keep a secret from you.
-Always move away from a car that pulls up beside them if they do not know the driver. Run in the opposite direction the car is driving. Remember, get away…right away.
-Always say 'no' to anyone who wants them to do something you've taught them is wrong. Give your children permission to break the rules if they feel their safety is at risk.
-Always tell parents, school authorities or a police officer about anyone who threatens them.
-Always go to the nearest cashier if they are lost or separated from you in a store or mall.
-Always scream and kick if someone grabs them and tries to take them forcefully. Teach them to yell, “Help, this is not my Dad/Mom!”
-Know how to dial 911 and explain their emergency. Tell children when using a pay phone, under pursuit or if detained in a stranger’s home…DO NOT HANG UP THE PHONE. Police can use the open line to track the child.


Teens should:
-Always tell you where they are at all times or leave a written or recorded message at home.
-Always avoid hitchhiking.
-Always avoid shortcuts through empty parks, fields, laneways or alleys.
-Always go quickly to the nearest occupied public place (malls, stores, fire stations, gas stations) and scream for help if they are being followed.
-Always learn to recognize suspicious behavior and remember a description of the person or vehicle to give the police. Write the plate number in the dirt or snow if nothing else is available.
-Always give up money, jewelry or clothing if approached rather than risk injury.
-Always feel that they can talk to you and call you to pick them up any time, any place.
-Always avoid operating a car under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Never get in a car as a passenger if the driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
-Always scream and kick if someone grabs them and tries to take them forcefully.

Parents should:

-Always avoid clothing and toys with your child's name on them. A child is less likely to fear someone who knows his/her name.
-Always check all potential babysitters and older friends of your child.
- Always avoid leaving a child alone in a public place, stroller or car, not even for a minute.
-Always accompany young children to the bathroom in a public place and advise them never to play in or around the restrooms.
-Always accompany your child when going door-to-door, such as collecting donations for school fundraisers.
-Always point out safe havens such as cashiers in stores, fire stations, store security officers and other places or people children can go to if they need assistance or feel threatened.
-Always keep an up-to-date color photograph of your child, a medical and dental history and have your child fingerprinted.

Talk to your children. Ask who, where, what and when.
-Who are you going out with-? Who will be supervising or chaperoning-? Who is going to be there-? Where are you going-? Where do they live-? What will you be doing-? What are their parent’s names-? What is their telephone number-? When will you be home-? When does the function start-? When is it over?
Quiz Your Kids
1. A stranger is:
A. Always good
B. Always bad
C. Someone you don’t know

2. You can tell a bad person by:
A. The way they dress
B. The way they smile
C. What job they have
D. Their actions

3. Should strangers ask kids for help or directions?
A. No. They can ask other adults.
B. Sure! Kids know more than people give them credit.

4. If you are home alone and there is a knock at the door, you should:
A. Be helpful and answer the door.
B. If you can tell the person at the door is an adult answer it.
C. If you can tell the person at the door is a child answer it.
D. Never answer the door.

5. If you want to invite someone you met into your house you should:
A. If the person is a child, invite them in.
B. If the person is an adult, invite them in.
C. Never invite anyone in.
D. Never invite anyone in without parent’s permission.

6. If you are being followed by a person in a car, you should:
A. Pretend you don’t see them and just keep walking.
B. Walk up to the car and ask them what they want.
C. Turn around and walk in the other direction.

7. If you end up in a car you are not supposed to be in, you should:
A. Press the gas pedal the first time you are behind a stopped car.
B. Tear the brake wires out if you are in the trunk.
C. Jam something in the ignition of the car.
D. Throw yourself across the drivers seat and lean on the horn.
E. Throw the keys to the car in the trash.
F. Any of the above. Anything that will help you escape.

8. If you’re taken and wearing anything that someone might notice:
A. Drop a trail of clues in public places.
B. Throw your clues out the car window on the roadway.
C. Wedge your clues in between mattresses.

9. You are taken and locked in a room. It’s getting dark, you should:
A. Get some sleep and think of something during the night.
B. Flip the lights on and off.
C. Pretend you are unconscious or sick.

10.A man shows you an empty leash and a picture of his dog. He says he will
pay you $20.to help him find his puppy. What do you do?
A. Get away, now!
B. Help the man find his dog.
C. Get friends to help you and split the reward.

Thumbs Up For Family
-Create a Family Password known only to you and your child that if spoken by an unfamiliar adult, lets your child know it’s safe to go with that person.
-Designate an area where your children should go if they get separated from you at a public place.
-Always accompany your young children to the bathroom in a public place and tell them never to play in or around the restrooms.
-Always accompany your child when going door-to-door such as collecting for school functions.
-Get to know your child’s friends, their parents and where they live. Make sure your children will be supervised if allowed to visit those homes.
-Teach your children how to dial 911 from your phone and a pay phone without hanging up because police can use the line to track your child.
-Never leave your children alone in a public place, stroller or car, not even for a minute.
-Keep an up-to-date color photograph of your child along with a medical and dental history and have your child fingerprinted.

Safety Tips For Kids

-Move away from a car that pulls up beside you if you don’t know the driver.
-Run in the opposite direction the car is moving.
-Scream and kick if someone grabs you. Yell loudly, “This is not my parent!”
-Never take anything from strangers without asking your parents first.
-Tell your parents if someone has asked you to keep a secret from them.
-Stay away from any adult who asks for help. Adults should not be asking children for help; they should ask other adults.
-Never go with someone who tells you your parents are in trouble and need your help. They should know the family password.
-It is OK for you to say “NO” to adults if they ask you to do something that is wrong. Tell your parents.
-Never believe that your Parents will stop loving you or looking for you if you
are abducted. Always believe that they love you no matter what!

 

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