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This month we bring you:
- Family Time Helps Keep Children Safe
FAMILY TIME HELPS KEEP CHILDREN SAFE
One of the best ways to strengthen the child safety guidelines you teach your children is to make sure you spend some dedicated quality time with your kids each day.
With the amazing array of things that must be done each day, and all the unexpected things that pop-up, family time moments can easily be squeezed out of your day's activities.
You need to know that children who are listened to are less likely to seek approval from inappropriate people. This can mean a real difference for a child who is approached by an adult who asks for help finding a cute puppy. Looking for a puppy is a hard thing to resist (even for many adults.)
Children in that situation who are tuned-in to their relationship with their parents can have an easier time remembering and following their parent’s guidance on how to deal with adults who are exhibiting dangerous adult behaviors--(step way back, yell “NO!”, run away, and tell a trusted adult.)
We suggest that you prioritize time together with each child, perhaps during an evening snack of cornflakes, during a walk, while driving, or right before bedtime. Your simply being there, being present, undistracted and not pressured is often the most important thing you can do each day.
Even ten minutes a day of kind, openhearted, nonjudgmental attention can make a huge difference in how your kids know you. These times together can be the building blocks of your lifelong relationship with your children.
- You can ask open ended questions like, what were the highlights of your day? Or, what was the funniest thing that happened? Be sure to share your own experiences as well.
- You can help your children learn to talk feely about themselves and their feelings.
- If they tell you someone has made them feel uncomfortable or scared, be sure to listen carefully and quietly ask questions. Let them know you have heard their concerns and take them seriously. Let them see you act on helping them with their difficulties.
- Tune-in to each child. You know each one has their own individual needs.
By establishing an ongoing emotional and conversational bond, your child can know for certain that you will always back him or her up should they need to follow your safety guidelines of yelling "NO!" and running away to tell a trusted adult should they feel they are the recipient of dangerous adult behaviors.
Perhaps the most vivid reminder of how important family time can be to the emotional well being of your child comes from Elizabeth Smart, who was kidnapped from her bedroom in June 2002 and found in March 2003.
When speaking of her despair during her ordeal she said, “I always knew that no matter what, I’d still be part of my family. They could change my name, change the way I look, starve me to death. But they couldn’t change that I am Ed and Lois Smart’s daughter. That was a very powerful thing to me.”
This knowledge of your love and trustworthiness can help sustain your children during whatever tough times may come.
FREE CHILD SAFETY KITS
Our free Child Safety Kit is sub-titled "How to teach abduction prevention without scaring your child (or yourself)" and includes 24 pages of guidance for parents.
If you live in the US, please click here for your Child Safety Kit.
If you live outside the US, please click here for your Child Safety Kit.
About Polly Klaas® Foundation
The Polly Klaas® Foundation helps find missing children, prevents children from going missing, and promotes laws like Amber Alert that help keep children safe.
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