Talking to your kids about predators and how to stay safe from an abduction is a topic we should not ignore.
You may have seen this post coming to the Blog — with everything going on in the world, I thought it would be good to share some tips to stay safe while out and about with your kids. I think it’s very important we talk to our kids about staying safe, and educating them (and ourselves) the best way to keeping safe from an abduction. One of the best ways to start talking about it is through ‘teachable moments’ which is how this post was triggered for me.
And, just to clarify we do not have any experience with abduction, attempt of abduction, etc. This post comes from a preventative place. Things we can do to prevent abduction while out and about. Things we should talk to our kids about. Things we talk to our kids about.
I have always played the honest card with my kids and have always given them real life examples. Most of you know we are a very adventurous bunch, and love going places together which makes us more vulnerable to difficult situations. I have openly told our children what to do if they are faced with difficult situations, things they can do to combat that and what to say.
One minute they are there. One minute they are gone.
We had a teachable moment last week while visiting one of the farms. It was a spontaneous trip for us, and we wanted to have a fun day. As we arrived at the location, got out of the car (I will talk about getting out/in the car safety too), got ready to walk to the farm, we noticed people going to and from the farm. One little boy in particular caught my attention, as I thought to myself, he is walking too far behind his mom and sister. As we continued to walk further into the farm, two women were walking out, one was in a rush (I could tell) and looked stressed while the other was walking slower pushing a stroller. The woman pushing the stroller asked me if I saw a little boy — and I immediately thought of the little boy that was walking “too far” behind his mom and told her “Yes! I did!” And told her he went towards the parking lot, walking behind another woman who was carrying a baby (and I told her how it seemed like they were together but the boy was a bit behind). The women rushed towards the parking lot and yelled “Thank you!” They found the boy, and came back to the farm together. She kept saying Thank You so many times. She was so lucky to have found him.
2,000 kids go missing per day.
— Yes, you read that right. Approximately 2,000 kids go missing per day. This boy could have been just another statistic too.
My boys looked at me and asked me what just happened — what did the women ask? Why were they rushing (they said running?). I thought it was the perfect time to have another talk with them about staying safe and following some rules (which he previously established and discussed). We sat on the bench and had the talk.
This was such a scary moment and it was a lesson learned for my boys.
I know it happens, and I am nobody to judge. This isn’t about being judgmental about another mom. This is about a teachable moment, and an opportunity to have that talk with your kids.
Also, it is extremely important to talk to your children calmly about these situations and not cause them to have fear. Fear is extremely hard and can work against you and them.
Unfortunately we can not live in a bubble, so so these tips I am sharing below are things we put into practice on the daily with our kids. I am not just sharing these to share, I want you to be more alert and attentive while out and about.
Tips for Talking to your Child about Staying Safe
Always, always have a plan when going places.
Ensure the kids hold hands, if you have multiple kids when they are crossing the parking lot or a pathway.
If you have a stroller, have them hold the stroller as you walk anywhere.
Tell your children to stay with you, at all times and not to run/walk far away.
Don’t go to places you cannot keep an eye on all your kids, if you have multiples.
Stay away from parks that are not gated, and/or not in safe areas.
Don’t let your child run from one place to another while at the park (when there are multiple playgrounds).
When one child needs to go to the bathroom, you take all of them. Regardless how close the bathroom may be to your outing.
Don’t let the kids separate. They should go together. For example when we were seeing the farm animals we will all see horses first together, then move onto another.
If you are changing the baby, or a toddler have all kids be right there with you.
Don’t take your eyes of your child while looking for something, whether that be your stroller, your bag or whatever.
Have a talk with your child in case they get separated from you, where they should go — it could be where you parked the car.
Tell them what a “stranger” shouldn’t ask them — and if they do, tell them to run away. Call mom/dad, or scream “help”. An adult shouldn’t ask a child for directions or to help them find their dog.
Tips for getting in/out of your Car with Multiple Kids
We have practiced this with one child, two, three, and now four. It’s always good to have a plan of how you will get out of the car with your children and how you will get in the car so it’s the safest. Mind you, I don’t tell my kids to instill fear in them. I tell them that this makes it easier on mommy to watch everyone and also not to hit any other cars with our doors, etc.
Right now, whenever I travel alone with the kids anywhere I first get the stroller out and set it up, put the diaper bag in, then take the baby out and put her in the stroller. Then, I go to the other side and let the other three kids out one by one, but all on the same side. This is the easiest way I have found to get out without chaos and to stay safe.
We get in a little differently. I open the door and each of the kids get in one by one on the same side. Once they are on, I close their doors and proceed to the other side to get the baby in. Once the baby is in, I put the diaper bag in the car and put the stroller away. I then buckle Anastasija and check to make sure the boys buckled themselves and we can go.
Tips for Talking to your Child about Abduction
Always, always teach your kids your phone number, their address and who they can trust in the family.
Everyone’s trusting person will be different. That’s something you establish in your family. My kids know who they can trust.
Teach them not to ever get into a car with anyone, only the persons you established to be the “trusting adult”.
Tell them to never walk away with anyone, regardless what they tell them. We have had discussions around this a lot. I have always told the boys that even if someone tells them their mom sent them, or their mommy is waiting, or mommy said to come… regardless what that someone says not to trust them.
Tell them to scream, kick, go for the eyes, take a dash, etc., if it happens.
The last thing you want to do is instill a sense of fear in your child.
But, the first thing you want to do is be honest with your child and speak openly about difficult situations.
Parents — if you suspect anything, call and report to the police. It’s better to be safe than sorry. If something feels odd, it probably is. If you are uncomfortable, don’t play the brave card call for help. Never, never leave your child unattended in a running (or mot running) vehicle and never let your child feel unsafe. Trust your instinct, and listen to your child if they are uncomfortable with someone, or being somewhere.
It’s so hard to talk about this topic, none the less to even imagine your child being in such a situation but it is so important to talk about it. Teaching your child what to do when faced with a difficult situation, how to stay safe while out and about will empower them to know what to do and how to react.
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