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How do I tell my two year old about "strangers";without giving him the heebijeebies?

(24 Posts)
judemum Fri 07-Sep-07 19:17:26

My two year old is very confident and outgoing and has started to wander off a little bit on his own e.g going out the garden gate when I'm not looking etc. I have talked to him about not wandering off without me in case he gets lost or falls over but I think I need to get a bit stronger about it. He will understand if I tell him about the whole stranger thing, but I don't want to scare him too much. Can anyone advise when they think is the right time to do this and the best way to tell your child not everyone is nice- I want to be clear but not over the top....

Scootergrrrl Fri 07-Sep-07 19:18:48

I would start by securing the gate tbh.

judemum Fri 07-Sep-07 19:20:58

its not just the garden gate- he wanders off down the lane (we live in the country) when I'm temporarily distracted and all sorts of different examples of wandering off. Securing the gate isn't going to help overall.....

seeker Fri 07-Sep-07 19:21:51

Don't mention it. Lock the gate. He is too young to even begin to understand. Never mind strangers - what about cars?!

bogwobbit Fri 07-Sep-07 19:22:39

I agree with Scootergrrrl - secure the gate.
I think your dc, at 2, is a bit too young to take in the 'stranger' message.
I think mine were about 3.5 to 4 when I told them. I found a book I thought was really good and it had the message that all grown-ups are different, most are lovely but some aren't and so on. Sounds simlistic and obviously there was much more to it than that, but I found it really good. It's probably out of print now though.

hercules1 Fri 07-Sep-07 19:24:27

You need to secure your property. You cannot possible expect a 2 year old to understand about strangers.

judemum Fri 07-Sep-07 19:24:38

cars aren't a big issue- we're down a country lane. can't secure the gate as its a communal gate....!

hercules1 Fri 07-Sep-07 19:25:11

Then you'll have to watch him.

FrannyandZooey Fri 07-Sep-07 19:25:33

God no, you must supervise him properly when necessary so he can't wander off

2 year olds can't be expected to remember your warnings and control their impulses

judemum Fri 07-Sep-07 19:26:32

mmmh. I do. But recently there have been a couple of times when I haven't caught him quickly enough- I have a nine month old baby so its not always easy. i suspect keeping a hawk eye on him is probably the best but it makes me worry all the time when we're out.

seeker Fri 07-Sep-07 19:26:46

You don't have to lock the gate - can't you fit a toddler proof catch? I'm sure your neighbours will understand.

beansprout Fri 07-Sep-07 19:26:52

At this age it is your job to keep him safe, he doesn't have a part in that yet.

judemum Fri 07-Sep-07 19:30:38

ok. sounds like you all think its too soon to have the "talk". If anyone else reading this has any different experiences/vies please let me know, otherwise I guess I will have to watch him A LOT. smile

bogwobbit Fri 07-Sep-07 19:46:43

Judemum, just a thought. I know it's a communal gate but is there no way you could have a word with the neighbours about getting it secured. It doesn't necessarily have to be locked, just too difficult for a 2 y.o. to escape from.
Surely they couldn't object to that. Especially if you offered to pay whatever it cost.

beansprout Fri 07-Sep-07 19:48:38

Watching them a lot is pretty much the deal at this age. You can seek an alternative view (of course) but you really should make his environment safe and secure. Everything else is as well as, not instead of.

mumeeee Fri 07-Sep-07 21:44:03

Two year olds are to young to understand about strangers. At this age you should be keeping him sahe by securing the gate and watching him.

seeker Sat 08-Sep-07 09:26:30

we live in the country too - and IMHO that makes cars even more dangerous - there are fewer of them, so kids aren't so used to watching out for them.

law3 Sat 08-Sep-07 18:33:47

Even if you have a 'talk' to your son about strangers, if he is out of your sight, nothing to stop someone picking him up and whisking him away in 2 minutes.

I told my son about strangers when he was about 5 after an incident at the school fence with a man trying to encourage kids to climb over.

He had nightmares for weeks after our 'talk', so i obviously did a good job!!! (might have over done it slightly, but he did keep insisting that he would be able to deal with himself, he would hit the man and he would let him go, simple as that!!)

MrsPuddleduck Sat 08-Sep-07 18:42:10

I did a bad job of this with my 4 year old.

Every now and then he says " I mustn't wander off or a strange man will take me home with him".....having just wandered off.

Tortington Sat 08-Sep-07 18:43:35

no need at 2 me thinks

HonoriaGlossop Sat 08-Sep-07 18:43:48

Agree with others. Yes, you will have to watch him alot; that is what having a two year old consists of. They need to be in your sight pretty much all the time.

The onus is on you to protect him at this age, not him to protect himself in that way. As Franny says he is not emotionally developed enough yet to have the ability to remember warnings and moderate his behaviour accordingly in terms of the stranger issue.

Anna8888 Sat 08-Sep-07 18:50:45

At two he is far too young to understand about "strangers", and far too young to be let out of your sight in an unsecured environment.

Agree with other posters - watch him and secure his surroundings.

ArcticRoll Sat 08-Sep-07 20:58:24

Agree with others.
At two you have to supervise them pretty much all time and far too young to talk about 'stranger danger' imo.

tribpot Sat 08-Sep-07 21:19:04

Yes, sorry, another mum of a 2 year old adding her voice. Your ds cannot possibly understand stranger danger. I'm sure your neighbours will agree to some suitable modification to accommodate him.

I know it's hard work (it's hard work for me without a 9 month-old to manage!) but there really isn't any alternative. After various screaming matches ds now generally gets the idea of needing to stay near to me in a car park, but I wouldn't even trust that, to be honest. With another (immobile) little one in tow, I would get that one out of the car first and then ds.

Opening a gate and seeing what's on the other side - that's what life is all about as a 2 year old.

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