As a martial arts instructor, I enjoy sharing with kids how to protect themselves not just from bullies on a playground but from strangers in a public place. With the holiday shopping season it’s easy to get lost in a department store or your local Wal-Mart even so with that in mind here are some things you can share with your child (and some for Mom and Dad) that are simple enough for them to remember.
Make a plan before going to a public place. If they get lost, then decide on a meeting place. Separately, I always tell adults that the first thing they should look for when they enter a public place is for all of the exits or a way to escape should there be a fire or other emergency.
If they are lost in a public place, tell them to go to a worker in uniform who is standing behind a counter.
For older kids (parents use discretion): If an adult asks them for the time (and they happen to be wearing a watch) tell them to not look down at their watch. Have them raise their wrist to eye level and maintain eye contact. This is a good tip for adults as well. Be aware that no child is obligated to tell an adult what time it is. It is perfectly fine for kids (of any age) to simply tell the adult that they do not know what time it is and walk away. They should not feel guilty for doing that.
If an adult asks you to help him/her find something of theirs that they’ve lost, run away to the nearest store clerk!
When a parent is not around a child should never take anything from an adult and they should not feel bad about not accepting it. Just to clarify, this is in reference to public places.
Heaven forbid there is an actual attempted kidnapping but if there is the first thing a child should do if someone grabs them is scream at the top of their lungs (practice this) “Help, this is not my Mom!” or “Help this is not my Dad!” and above all don’t stop screaming! Again, please practice this because you’d be surprised as to how uncomfortable kids can feel about screaming that even if they are rowdy during playtime! Then squirm like crazy until they are free. Kids are great at squirming.
Hope this helps and that you never have to use them!
Leonardo Ramirez is an author of prose fiction and graphic novels in the genres of Young Adult and Children’s Books. He is also a martial arts instructor.
For more information please visit http://www.leonardoverse.com.
Thanks for reading!