Whether you live in a big city or small town, it’s important to teach children about their personal safety. There is no perfect age to do this but, in general, the sooner the better. Empowering your young ones with lessons of safety not only makes them safer, it can also have you worry less.
Listen to your intuition
Our intuition is our greatest gift when it comes to personal safety for ourselves and for our children. We tend to take our intuition lightly and oftentimes ignore our gut feelings.
Having a gut feeling that something is off about your child’s safety whether at daycare, school or home with a babysitter is a feeling you should always listen to. If you are wrong, no harm is done. If you are right, then you can take action to protect your family. Either way, tune in and investigate your feelings.
Talk to your kids
I grew up with a Dad that was an ex-NYPD detective, which meant two things: I didn’t get away with anything and I was taught at an early age to be aware of my personal safety.
It may be challenging to speak to your children about the possible danger that could affect them in the world. We don’t want to scare our children and at the same time, we want to make them feel protected and safe. However, it is important to teach kids about “stranger danger” and even danger from people that aren’t strangers. Sadly, many children are harmed by people that they do know, whether that be a family member, caretaker or other members of the community.
Keep an open dialogue and assure your kids that it is safe to confide in you anytime that someone violates their personal space.
Teach kids personal space
Personal space can vary between cultures. Generally speaking, here in the U.S. personal space can be defined by holding your arms out to your side and twirling 360 degrees. Anything inside that circle is your personal space. We can teach kids that strangers should not be in their personal space without consent. The same goes for people that are not strangers. Empower your child to set boundaries within their personal space and to communicate when they feel their boundaries have been violated.
Add a layer of protection
Before sending your kids off to the bus stop or the playground place an added layer of protection on them by clipping the Mace Brand clip-on personal alarm onto their jacket or backpack. If they ever feel threatened, they can press the alarm to alert bystanders that they may be in danger. The alarm may also deter the attacker. As an added back up, the alarm also acts as a whistle.
Take them to martial arts classes
As someone who taught kid’s martial arts classes for years, I can tell you firsthand that the benefits of teaching kids self defense through martial arts are incredible. I saw young, shy children blossom into confident young leaders in the studio that I taught at. Martial arts not only teaches kids how to kick and punch but more importantly, how to stick up for themselves and others. It also helps them with discipline too, which is an added bonus!