At ActivStars Athletics, the safety and well-being of our students are of paramount importance. In addition to honing their physical abilities, we believe it is crucial to equip children with essential safety skills that empower them to recognize and avoid potential dangers. In this blog post, we will delve into the core principles of our SAFE Shield curriculum, Lesson 2, and explain how parents play an integral role in ensuring their children are well-prepared to handle unfamiliar situations. If you haven't done so already, we encourage you to read part 1 of this thread by following this link: SAFE Shield Pt. 1
The lesson plan our instructors follow is comprehensive and designed to instill crucial safety principles in children, allowing them to differentiate between strangers and trusted individuals, while also providing them with tools to respond effectively in various scenarios. It is important that parents are aware of and reinforce these principles at home with their children. This lesson covers 5 core principles or goals for your child to be prepared with and avoid danger.
1. Identifying a Stranger
We start by teaching children how to identify a stranger. This includes anyone they have never seen before or someone whose name they do not know. We emphasize the importance of recognizing unfamiliar faces and the distinction between knowing a person's name and truly knowing them.
As a parent, you can play a vital role in reinforcing the lesson of identifying strangers. Encourage open communication with your child about their interactions with unfamiliar individuals. Ask them about their day and if they encountered anyone they didn't recognize. Encourage them to trust their instincts and remind them that it's perfectly okay to be cautious around people they don't know.
Additionally, parents can engage in fun activities with their children to reinforce this concept. For example, while looking through family photo albums or browsing online images, parents can ask their child to point out people they recognize and those they don't, and how well they know those they can identify. This interactive approach helps solidify the distinction between familiar and unfamiliar faces, making it a natural part of their awareness.
2. Dinstinguishing a Good Person from a Bad Person
Next, we educate students on the fundamental difference between a good person and a bad person. A bad person, in the context of stranger danger, is someone who attempts to lure children away from their family, breaks family rules, or may be involved in dangerous activities like drug use. On the other hand, a good person is a trusted individual such as a family member or a designated adult who knows the family's secret code word.
To reinforce the concept of distinguishing between good and bad individuals, you can engage your child(ren) in open discussions about trust and safety. Encourage them to ask questions and share their thoughts about people they encounter. Provide examples of trusted adults in their lives and emphasize the importance of maintaining clear boundaries with unfamiliar individuals.
Additionally, remind your child that good people are those who respect family rules and boundaries, while bad people may try to lure them away or engage in unsafe activities. Encourage your child to always rely on their instincts and seek help from trusted adults if they ever feel unsure or uncomfortable in a situation. By fostering this dialogue and setting clear expectations, parents empower their children with the knowledge and confidence to discern between trustworthy and potentially risky individuals.
3. Establishing a Family Code Word
We introduce the concept of a family code word as an additional layer of protection that can save a child from danger. This secret word serves as a signal of trust and is known only to family members. It acts as a failsafe, ensuring that children only go with individuals who are aware of the code word.
Reinforce this principle at home by explaining that this special word serves as a powerful tool to ensure your child's well-being in potentially risky situations. Encourage them to practice using the code word in various scenarios, emphasizing its significance in determining the trustworthiness of individuals. Role-playing exercises are an effective way to reinforce this principle. Parents can take on the role of an unfamiliar person, and the child can confidently assume a self-defense stance and ask for the code word. This hands-on application of knowledge helps solidify the importance of the family code word as an additional layer of protection that they will instinctively use when needed.
4. Identifying Lures
In this segment, we focus on common lures that strangers may use to entice children. These include bribes, lies, requests for help, threats, and tricks. By familiarizing children with these tactics, we empower them to recognize and respond appropriately to potentially dangerous situations. You can also reinforce this skill at home by practicing role play and acting as a stranger luring your child with bribes. Then ask them to explain what they understand as a bribe and why it can be dangerous.
5. Learning the Three Steps - Don't Talk, Get Away, Tell
Children are taught the three crucial steps to follow when approached by a stranger: Don't talk, get away, and tell a trusted adult. This simple yet effective strategy provides children with a clear course of action in critical moments.
Engage in role-playing scenarios where you employ creative lures to test your child's ability to respond appropriately. The child's task is to refrain from engaging in conversation and quickly find a way to escape.
By implementing this comprehensive safety curriculum, we aim to equip children with the knowledge and skills needed to navigate the world confidently and safely. We emphasize the importance of parental involvement in reinforcing these lessons, both through practical exercises and open communication. Together, we can create a community where children are empowered to recognize and stay away from potential dangers, ultimately fostering a safer environment for all.
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