Keeping your children safe is most likely your top priority as a parent. Because of that, there have to be rules that children should follow. Breaking these rules could be quite consequential in terms of their safety and overall well-being. Unlike certain family rules that children tend to break—like getting homework done before playing or not watching movies that the parents deem too mature for them—where the consequences won’t put their lives at risk, your kids need to understand that the following rules aren’t optional.
In the Case of a Fire, Meet at a Designated Spot
Every year, there are over 374.000 homes that are destroyed by fires. A fire can happen due to a number of reasons, such as the following:
- A cooking incident
- Heating issues
- Cigarettes or candles that aren’t put out properly
- Faulty wiring
- Forest fires
Although the chances of your house actually burning down are slim, it’s still something that your children should know how to prepare for. Of course, teach them all of the normal fire safety rules—like stop, drop, and roll—but make sure that your children know where to go after they get out of the house.
Have a meeting with your entire family and designate a spot where everyone can meet up at. This location should be close and within a visible distance of the house but not too close. For example, you might want to consider having everyone meet up by the neighbor’s mailbox across the street or at a nearby stop sign that is within appropriate distance.
It would be a good idea to instill this rule into them by having fire drills. You could even turn it into a game by seeing who can get out of the house and to the meetup spot the fastest. Let your kids know that they should go there as soon as they hear the fire alarm, even if it’s a false alarm.
Don’t Leave the Yard Without Permission
Children should never leave the family’s property without a parent’s permission. If their friends are across the street or in a neighbor’s yard, they should still ask their mom or dad if they can go over there first.
You can help your kids to understand their physical boundaries by having a fence installed by a professional like those from F & W Fence Company, Inc. Because many homes only have the backyard fenced off, some families make it a rule that children stay in the backyard when they’re playing outside and only go in the front yard if they can be supervised.
Don’t Talk to Strangers & Be Cautious with Adults That They Do Know
Along with the not leaving the yard rule, teach your children “Stranger Danger”. If an adult, whether or not they know them, approaches your kids—no matter where they happen to be—and asks them to go somewhere with them, they should go straight to a parent or supervising person right away.
Children might think it silly to do that even if the person is an uncle or close family friend. However, it’s important for parents to realize the importance of discussing this rule with their kids. After all, only 24% of kidnappings are done by a perpetrator who is a stranger; 49% are relatives and 27% are other people that they might know. However, it’s not necessary to make your kids be scared of every adult in their lives. They should just know what the appropriate response is in that type of situation.
Sometimes friendly neighbors, salesmen, missionaries, or other adults who happen to be passing by might end up engaging with your kids. Although talking to an adult that they know isn’t always going to be a dangerous situation, teach your children to politely interject the conversation and say something like, “I think my mom would really like to talk to you too, so I’ll go get her.”
As for complete strangers, teach your kids to not engage in a conversation other than to say, “I’m going to get my mom to come talk to you” and then go do exactly that. If the stranger tries to prevent them from doing so, your child should know to scream as loud as they can. Train them to scream actual words, though, like “Help!” or “Stranger!” That is crucial, because children often scream while they are playing outside. By using clear words, nearby adults will be able to understand that there is an immediate need and respond to the situation.
When it comes to your children, nothing is more important than their safety. No matter how old your kids are, help them to understand the importance of the above rules. By doing so, you’ll be preparing them to respond to situations where their safety could be put at risk.