Make sure you know where each of your children is at all times. Know your children’s friends and be clear with your children about the places & homes they may visit. Make it a rule for your children to check in with you when they alive at or depart from a particular location and when there is a change in plans. Similarly, you should also let them know your plans.
Never leave children unattended in an automobile ( whether running or not ). Remind children to never hitchhike, approach a car or engage in a conversation with anyone within a car they do not know and trust, or go anywhere with anyone without getting your permission first.
Be involved in your children’s Activities. As an active participant, you’ll have a better opportunity to observe how the adults in charge interact with your children. If you are concerned about anyone’s behaviour, take it up with the sponsoring organization.
Listen to your children. Pay attention if they tell you they don’t want to be with someone or go somewhere . This may be an indication of more than a personality conflict or lack of interest in the activity or event.
Notice when anyone shows your child a great deal of attention or gives them gifts. Talk to your children about the person and find out why the person is acting in this manner.
Teach your children they have the right to say NO to any uncomfortable touch or actions by others and to get out of those situations quickly. When avoidance is not an option, children should be taught to kick, scream, resist and to tell you immediately.
Be sensitive to changes in your children’s behaviours or attitude. Look for small that something may be troubling them ; children may not be comfortable disclosing disturbing feelings. If your children do confide problems to you, strive to remain calm, and non-critical. Listen compassionately, and work with them to get the help they need.
Be sure to screen babysitters / caregivers. Check out references with other families. Ask your children about the experience, and listen carefully to the responses.
Practice basic safety skills with your children. Make an outing a “teachable” experience when children can practice the use of public telephones, going to the toilet with a friend, and locating the adults who can help if they need assistance.
Finally, there is no substitute for your attention and supervision. Being available to really know and listen to your children helps build feelings of safety and security.
By Sudha Mishra