Putting my daughter out in the real world terrifies me. It makes my entire body seize up and gives me a horrible feeling in my gut. She is so sweet and innocent and knows nothing of the bad things in the real world. She knows “good guys” and “bad guys” in movies, but they aren’t real. And she knows that, (I hope anyway), because the “bad guys” are always her favorite.
In a few short months, she’ll be starting kindergarten. I will no longer be by her side every second of the day, and that kills me. What if someone is mean to her? If memory serves, kids can be brutal. What if she gets hurt and I get a call to take her to the hospital? And lastly, what if she comes in contact with a bad stranger?
That last one is the scariest of all. For a few months now I’ve been trying to figure out how to talk about strangers with her.
Coincidentally, the other day she found a book in our garage all about strangers. It’s called The Berenstain Bears Learn About Strangers, (affiliate link). Considering how helpful a few books were for me back when my girl was having trouble adjusting to preschool, I can’t believe I didn’t even think to look for books to help me with this situation.
Anyhow, “Learn About Strangers” has become a nightly staple, and with it, we have been having the same conversation afterwards. Every night, she has the same questions. “Mom, what can you tell me about strangers?”
This is what I tell her-
- A stranger is a person we don’t know.
- Most strangers are good people, but not all of them are. Since not all of them are good, we have to be cautious of all strangers.
- Never talk to a stranger.
- Never take a gift, including candy, from a stranger.
- And never ever go anywhere with a stranger.
After we talk about strangers, her next question is, “What do I do if I get lost?”
- If we’re at the grocery store, go to the “apples” and stay there so I can find you. (We came up with the apples together because she knows where it is. If for some reason she can’t find it, she knows to stop and stay in one place.)
- Ask an employee for help, or a mommy with kids. She has been practicing saying, “My mommy is Tarynn Playle, please look her up on Facebook and call her.” (You can call people through FB messenger.)
- If someone tries to lead her somewhere, she knows to tell them “no thank you, I need to wait for my mommy right here.”
- If someone picks her up against her will, I told her to kick and scream as much as she wants, basically cause a scene and do whatever it takes to get out of their arms. I also told her to scream either, “stranger, stranger”, or “help, help!”
This part of the conversation always ends with her saying, “I think I’ll just always hold your hand.” Sounds like a great solution to me, Sweet Girl.[Tweet “Talking to your kids about strangers isn’t fun, but it is absolutely necessary.”]
If you decide to get the “Learn About Strangers” book, I would suggest reading through it first before reading to your kiddo. They explain strangers in two different ways, and the first way can be scary for little ones.
What would you add to the conversation? I know this is just the tip of the ice burg and I’m missing some things. And since she is all about learning everything she needs to know about the topic, I want to take advantage of it while I have her full attention, so please feel free to share any insights!