KEEP GEORGIA SAFE
In this segment, please allow me to talk about a non-profit I started back in 2008 called Keep Georgia Safe.
Our mission is to provide safety education and crime prevention training to Georgia’s families.
Here are some important safety tips:
* Know where your children are at all times.
* Never let your children go off alone. Remember the buddy system doesn’t just apply to the pool. There is safety in numbers.
* Identify and talk about safe people in their lives including neighbors.
* If your child gets separated from you when you are out:
Tell them to find a mommy or grandmother with children. They should tell that person they are lost and stay with them.
That mom or grandmother will protect that child as though they are their own.
* Teach your children your full name, address, and home and cell phone numbers. Let your child practice dialing these numbers.
One question we are often asked is how do we talk to our children about their personal safety without scaring them.
How do we keep our children from becoming victims?
Education is the key. And it starts with a simple conversation between you and your child.
We need to make sure our kids are taught to:
(1) Understand and be able to recognize dangerous situations and behaviors.
(2) Trust their instincts. If something does not feel right to them, it probably isn’t.
(3) Have the self-confidence to be able to say “NO” if they ever feel threatened.
By about the age of three, you can start teaching your child some simple safety rules or concepts. Know this is a gradual process that will not happen overnight and will require reinforcement from you.
A great way for you to work on your child’s self-protective instincts is to rehearse safety situations with him or her. We suggest you turn these scenarios into a game that can be fun, interactive, and non-threatening.
I talk about this in a book I co-wrote with Mary Ellen Fulkus, the executive director of Keep Georgia Safe, and Adam Weart, the social media director for Keep Georgia Safe and the Elizabeth Smart Foundation.
The book a #1 Best Seller on Amazon.com is entitled “The Authority on Child Safety: How To Talk To Your Kids About Their Personal Safety Without Scaring Them.”
A game we suggest, the “What Would You Do Game” is great for kids in our day and age that are used to being entertained. Most kids will escape to the “I’m not listening” mode if they think you are lecturing them. This game is easy and convenient for you to do as well. You can play the game while you are in the car driving to school, going to soccer practice, or at the dinner table.
How to play:
You create safety scenarios that provides a real-life situations for your child so they can respond and you can discuss possible answers.
Here is an example of a question:
What would you do if someone you don’t know comes up to you at the playground and asks you to help him find his lost puppy?
Make sure you let your child answer the question.
The goal is to hear their thoughts before you give them the answer.
It is better that you allow your child to give you their answer – even if it is the wrong answer.
You want to hear that wrong answer now so you can correct it, rather than to have them make a mistake in the real world.
So to the lost puppy question, your child might answer:
I’m not going to fall for that lost puppy trick, daddy.
Then ask them another question.
What if you are on the playground and someone you don’t know comes up to you and asks you to help them find their lost kitten. What would you do?
Your child might respond “I would help them find the kitten because a kitten can’t protect itself.”
Now you know you need to stress to your child that they are not to leave to help find that lost kitten.
Teach them that adults don’t ask kids for help – they ask other adults for help.
You are the world’s best puppy finder, kitten finder, lost animal finder.
They need to run tell you and you will help.
Here are some other scenarios you can use for the “What Would You Do Game?”
-Lost or separated from us?
-A stranger approaches you on the playground or in the mall, in a parking lot?
-someone touches you and it makes you feel uncomfortable – the bathing suit rule applies!
-someone tells you a secret and tells you not to tell your parents?
-someone you didn’t know comes to your school and tells you that Mommy sent them to pick you up?
-your soccer ball rolled out into the street?
-you dropped a glass of water and the glass broke on the floor?
-you heard the fire alarm go off in the middle of the night?
-an adult comes up to you and offers you a gift and it is something you really want?
To find out more safety tips you can use to help protect your family, please visit www.KeepGeorgiaSafe.org.