What age do you start talking about these things?(21 Posts)
Stranger danger, the pants rule, etc?
I have receny seen something on tv where a 5 yr old called 999 when his mum was very ill. We have a landline but never use it. I have a mobile but it's locked so the children don't buy all of Amazon with it or something.
So I was thinking of pre programming sone numbers in the landline (my mum for example) and getting the dc to start using the phone for practice, and telling them about 999 for emergencies. Although I'm.pretty sure neither could unlock the door to let someone in.
That lead me on to stranger danger. I've not had any conversations about this at all. I have told them policemen are there to help but that's it. Ditto the PANTS thing.
Any ideas on how to approach this? Dc are 4.5 and nearly 3.
You have to sort of sneak it in...gradually. As a big talk coming from nowhere would be worrying to them.
If you want, you could try mentioning the pants thing at bathtime...just chuck it in there..."Are you getting undressed for your bath? That's good. That's your job isn't it? Nobody else can take your pants off...only you. Nobody else can touch you there either can they...that's the rule"
Just be breeze but get it into their subconscious. With police and uniformed people, I once heard my child say "Oh that's a policeman!" about a man wearing a hi vis vest! He was a workman...and I was shocked to realise that children can't always differentiate between uniforms.
They see something official looking and think that person's in charge or is 'the boss' or something.
Show them the difference between what police officers wear and what store security guards wear. Let them see hi vis vests and explain what they're for. Point out ambulance men and women too.
We have been talking about 'penis is private' for ages (DS just 4) originally in the context of not, er, handling it in public 😳
I did show him how to do emergency call on my mobile a few months ago though I suspect he won't remember so I need to give him a refresher. We also had the talk about not calling the emergency services if it isn't an emergency. (There's a bit about it in curious George, though that would be more helpful if George didn't get sent to jail for it 😂)
(Even if the mobile is locked there's normally an emergency services shortcut)
I worry that if I teach him to do an emergency call on my mobile, he'll be doing it all the time. (The older one).
I'm on my own with them though so need to start teaching them. Thanks.
I imagine emergency call handlers are used to children making inappropriate calls
We have a family password that the DC know I will always give to anyone who is unexpectedly collecting them.
On the odd occasion this has happened they have been great about asking the adult collecting them for it - even when it was my Dsis.
I have taught them that if the adult doesn't know the password they are to stay put or ask the adult to call me and let them speak to me themselves to verify that it's ok to go with them.
From about 6 I also taught them my mobile number and still check in with them that they know it every now and then.
I started probably at 3. To be fair, there were reasons for this (found out that a family member, who we have no contact with anymore, had sexually abused a child), but I think 3 is an age they can start to understand the about privacy and bodily integrity and not keeping secrets, etc. Then it’s an evolving conversation that you can re-visit as they get older.
It's something that I find quite tricky. We live quite rurally, I work "in town" and don't ever take the dc into town. Unless they need shoes. So they just don't get exposed to things like seeing police, paramedics or other services.
I have both GPS who help with childcare so they can be called on to collect from school in an emergency, I also share duties with another school mum.
I did manage to bring the pants thing up today when one asked me why they have trunks and I have a swimsuit.
I think you need to start taking them to town a bit.
My dd could call 911 by 4, its was part of the preschool curriculum in fact. They also knew if mama was sick they should go to our neighbours next door (good friends), again very young. Never was put into practice thankfully
Once they are pre-school/school nursery age, they need to know that we don't flash our underwear or genitals at school, if another kid shows you theirs or asks you to touch theirs then you get an adult.
You can make 999 calls on locked phones (mine's an iPhone)
Explain that when you call you're asked if you need ambulance, fire or police and stress the importance of only doing it in an emergency.
Have they never watched Fireman Sam or other kids programmes where the emergency services turn up? Young kids are often fascinated by the emergency services so there are lots of toys related to them.
Do your kids not play good vs evil games? My sons in particular played cops and robbers, superheroes etc
Our Fire Station does open days a few times a year and I see police cars at events like school fairs?
I've always told mine that if you get lost or something to stay put. If an adult/police officer wants to help then they can say yes to the help, But the help is to stay with them where there are.
I also am a bit wary of the whole stranger danger thing as its much more likely someone will be there to help you in need rather than hinder you so I've just been more keen on staying put in a situation!
Also pants rule they know, and if I need to check for medical reasons I alway ask permission to touch and look up close
Next time you go to town or a on day out ask what would you do if you lost me here? Who would you ask to help you?
Make sure they don't just look for a police man. What are the chances of them finding a male police officer waiting there just when they need them? A female member of the staff (e.g. behind the till, at the ticket office) or a parent who has children with them is a good person to suggest they ask for help. Then stranger danger conversation will begin.
"Look out: out and about" by Claire Llewellyn is a children's book that covers getting lost, looking for help, telling an adult where you are etc. It doesn't cover "pants rules", but you could start with this book and use it as a springboard to discuss other types of safety/rules with your DCs. My DC is nearly 3 and the book is at a suitable level for him (short sentences, lots of pictures, relatable examples).
I've recently shown my DC Chitty chitty bang bang and talked about the child catcher and the dangers of going off with strangers, wandering off from an agreed location etc.
If anyone else has any other book/tv/film recommendations on this topic I'd love to hear them as this is something I would also like to discuss more with my DC.
The other thing I did with ds at about 4 was to plan what to do if there was a fire. I set off the smoke alarm and told him what to do if he heard that sound at night.
What to do if he couldn’t find me and how to get out if he couldn’t use the stairs.
We practise it a couple of times a year in the context of a children’s tv program where there was a fire.
@BillHadersNewWife I must sound like a real bumpkin. Now that dc1 is at school, we only have Saturday's all together as they see their dad on Sundays. I don't like "wasting" the day in town for no reason. We have animals so spend a lot of time outside, just not in town.
They've never watched fireman Sam, but we were given a DVD receny so I'll pp that on. I feel really lax now, but know where to start, so thanks for the good ideas. .
Trips to town aren't a waste OP. That's where the library is...shops, cafes, museums and parks. Towns offer a valuable learning experience.
I suppose I do consider them a waste, because we have 1 day per week with no school or work. We have parks, the one in town isn't very good for young children (believe it or not!) There is a small (tiny) museum. We go to parks and cafes, that aren't in town. Neither the children nor I enjoy it when we go into town so we tend not to.
But it doesn't have to be 'town' for dcs to start learning about safety rules. That's the problem with the whole idea of stranger danger. Who is a stranger? In fact the vast majority of dcs who are hurt or abused by an adult it's by someone they know and trust - a friend or relative .
Instead of teaching dcs not to talk to strangers, talk about simple scenarios that they are familiar with e.g. What would you do if I was late to pick you up from school? What would you do if you lose sight of me when we're out walking the dogs? What should you say if best friend's mum offers you a lift home from school? What would you do if someone knocked on our front door when I was in the bath? If you can't see me when you come out of the loo at the swimming pool, who would be the best person to ask for help? etc
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