Naturally, we all work hard to keep our children safe wherever they are. We all change the way we live to accommodate their needs. As a result, when they are with us, we can be confident that they will not get into trouble, or have an accident.
The problem comes when they are old enough to start going out without us. The fact that they are with their friends brings some comfort, but you still feel nervous.
After all, their mates are just as young as they are, so there is a good chance that they do not see the danger either. Letting your kids go is tough, but we all know we cannot keep them with us forever. At some point, we all have to let them gradually have a bit more freedom. The trick is to teach your children as much as you can about staying safe on the street while they are still with you every hour of the day.
When you are out you can easily teach them about things like safety signs by turning it into a game. You can start by teaching them the meaning of just one or two signs, and asking them to count how many of those signs they see on the journey to school. Every time you play this game, ask them to tell you what the sign means, and what they should do when they see it displayed. In no time, your child will recognise those signs, be used to looking out for them, and know what to do when they see them.
You also need to teach your children how to cross the road safely. It is very important that you always cross safely, and that you check their knowledge by letting them take charge when it is time for the family to cross the road. That way you can test their understanding, and help them to hone skills like working out how fast cars are travelling.
Other messages like stranger danger are harder to get across, but again the key is repetition, and consistency. From a very early age, you need to start teaching them that anyone that your family does not know is a stranger. That way when you start to teach them that strangers need to be treated with caution they will understand what type of people you are talking about.
It is not enough to teach your child that they should not interact with strangers. They need to know what to do in various situations. For example, you need to teach them how to react if someone tries to speak to them on the school bus, or keeps brushing up against them on the train.
This website is a great resource. It explains how to teach even young children about stranger danger. As well as how to reinforce and adapt the message, as they get older. Importantly practical advice about what to do in various situations is included on the site.