Well, the holiday shopping season is about to open. What a fun time to visit your favorite stores, decorated with beautiful holiday trimmings. Although this is a very festive time of year, we must always remember that it can be a very dangerous time for children. With all the hustle and bustle of people shopping, long lines and sales, there is a small possibility of your child becoming separated from you. Here are a few stranger safety awareness tips that you can share with your children to prepare them for that possibility:
If your child becomes separated from you, teach them to:
Look for an employee wearing a name tag or uniform
Never leave the area where they discover they have become separated
Never let a stranger take them by the hand - whether it is a man, women or even another child
If a stranger does take them by the hand, have them yell the word "STRANGER" over and over, as loud as possible
To avoid becoming separated from you, teach them that shopping is the best time for them to practice the Buddy System - always going somewhere with a friend. Make it a game that they are not to let go of your hand until you both reach the car at the conclusion of shopping. Perhaps you can offer them a reward of some kind when they successfully reach the car - maybe the opportunity to listen to their favorite station or song on the radio, a favorite show on DVD for the ride home, or a special dessert item when they get home.
The more comfortable you can make it for your children to practice these tips and the more you repeat them, the more calm your children may remain if they are ever placed in a situation where they become separated from you.
Please feel free to download the lesson plan for "One is a Lonely Number" on our free curriculum page. The more you practice stranger safety awareness with your children, the better they will be prepared if a dangerous situation presents itself!