GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Taking just 25 minutes to talk to your kids about personal safety is vital, especially in recognition of Nationals Missing Children’s day on May 25.
According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, here are some “conversation starters” to consider when having your safety discussion:
- Be prepared
Spend time reviewing safety information before you talk to your children. That way, you’ll be better able to talk about the topic in a calm and reassuring manner.
- Consider your child’s age
Gear discussions to your child’s level, taking into account their age and understanding. For instance, a typical four-year-old won’t sit through long explanations or retain a lot of information, so simple visuals and activities can be useful in keeping their attention.
- Be open
Encourage children to talk openly about their questions and worries. Be sure to set clear guidelines, but try not to lecture or criticize. This can help to build a trusting relationship with children so they feel comfortable talking to you about their personal safety.
- Identify trusted adults
Ask children to identify at least two trusted adults they can turn to for help if anything they encounter makes them feel scared, uncomfortable or confused. Encourage them to talk to you about how their trusted adult has helped them in the past and how they may need their help in the future.
Instead of waiting for “the right time” to talk to kids, make the most of everyday moments. A relaxed family meal provides the perfect opportunity to get kids to tune into safety messages, especially when favorite foods are on the menu.
For more information on child safety, click here.