As parents, it is important for us to ensure that our kids are safe wherever they go even in a safe country like Singapore. If time permits it, we will try to go with them to their events and trips out. However, we can’t always do this because of work and other obligations.
What we can do is teaching them how to be street-smart. This will allow them to be aware of the things around them and how to avoid scary situations. As much as Singapore is safe in comparison to other countries, low crime doesn’t mean no crime.
If you don’t know how to start off with these lessons, here are six major tips on how you can raise your kids to be street-smart:
Show Them How to Be Aware
Being aware of one’s surroundings is the most important skill a street-smart child can have. Even if they are in a group or with an adult, they should be alert for anything.
It is understandable that there will be instances your child will be distracted if they are with others. However, you must teach them how to spot what is not normal.
Teach them how to spot signs of trouble and how to listen to what is going on around them even if they are doing something with their friends.
Teach Them Life Hacks
Life hacks can also help your child be street-smart.
Some great life hacks you can teach your child to keep them safe is by helping them know the routes to your home from school or by teaching them that it is okay to let you know where they are going.
You should also take time to bring your child around the neighbourhood so they are familiar with the areas they should avoid and where to go.
There are also strategies you can teach them while in public to call for help without letting strangers know what they are doing.
A good example: if your child feels that they are being followed, he should quickly divert his journey to the nearest crowded public place. From there, he can seek assistance from other adults in professional settings such as McDonald’s floor manager, a shopping mall customer service counter or the service counter at the MRT.
Talk About Stranger Danger
Regardless of what your child’s age is, stranger danger is a threat you should not ignore.
Before you take your child in a crowded area – whether it is a public park or a mall -, you should let them know what to do when they can’t see you. Let them know that it is not acceptable for them to stray away from your sight because it is very dangerous.
You should also remind them not to talk to strangers and let them know how to distinguish people they can trust. If they are approached by a stranger, your child should move away immediately and not follow the stranger anywhere else. There is no need for an adult to seek assistance from a child ever.
Show Them How to Get Help
If a situation arises, our children must be prepared to seek help without any hesitation. Teach them the basic help hotlines like 999 and how they can dial it on the phone.
If there is no phone available for them to use to call for help, tell them it is okay to scream if they are grabbed by a stranger. You should also let them know that it is okay to say no to an adult, especially if they do not know who they are.
Let your child know that there are a few public places they can seek help from like a nearby school or childcare centre, community centres, libraries, banks, clinics, MRT stations, Bus Interchange and police stations. Alternatively, if they are lost, always approach a family with kids for further assistance.
Teach Them to Say “No”
When it comes to the word “No”, it is a struggle to teach your child when and when not to say it.
To make it easier for you to teach them how to say “no” in key situations, give them examples that they can relate to. For example, if someone with them does not smell good or behave funny, they say no if this person asked them to play with them. Tell your child to trust their guts.
You should also let them know that it is okay to reject people asking or giving them things, especially if they do not know these people.
Teach them that they shouldn’t follow these people, especially if these people are saying they will give you a reward if you come with them. Let them know that it is okay to accept if the people offering things are people they know.
Stand Up to Bullies
Bullies are not just confined in the community and in school. With the internet now becoming a great platform to meet new people, there are cyber bullies out there ready to prey on your child.
When they are facing these bullies, teach them how to stand up to them. If they are bullied at school or in the community, teach them to avoid these bullies and reach out to teachers who can help them out. Let them know that they should not directly confront when they are challenged by these bullies.
If your child is bullied online, tell them to ignore these messages. If they respond to these messages, they are falling to these bully’s trap.
Keep a close lookout for signs that your child is affected by the abuse. You should also teach your kids not to look for revenge because it will only turn them into the bullies they want to avoid.
Instead of getting revenge, teach your kids how to collect pieces of evidence of bullying and report it accordingly. Once school officials take note of the evidence and see further reasons to investigate, they will act accordingly against these bullies.
Danger lurks in every corner and it is prudent that children are taught at an early age to be alert against it.
As a parent, it is our responsibility to help our children be ready for anything and ensure that we are not moving too fast in these lessons.
Remember, you need to be patient in teaching your kids to be street-smart considering it is not something you can learn from a textbook. Some concepts are also very complicated to understand so it may take time to explain them fully to your child. We will not always be there with our children and we have to prepare them to be able to face the world on their own.
Here are some relevant posts that touched on the above points: