When my son was a little under a year old and learning to wave and say “hi!”, I encouraged him to communicate to pretty much everyone. The smiling mom behind us in the grocery line. The cashier. The guy reading the newspaper at Starbucks. And then around 18 months, we started working on “stranger danger.” You know, to never go away with someone that isn’t Momma or Daddy or a grandparent, that it’s never okay to accept food or drink from a non-parent or teacher. He seems to really understand the concept and stays close tucked to me whenever we meet someone new.
One thing I’ve chewed over for awhile – how do we enforce stranger danger yet teach my toddler to trust that policemen and firemen are okay?
Maybe I’m over-thinking it, but the concept seems complicated (he’s good, she’s bad, he’s good, he’s bad) for a toddler and I can’t remember how my parents did it. Especially because policemen and firemen can look so intimidating in their uniforms!
Today at preschool, a policeman came to speak to the school. He talked about strangers and police dogs and how he keeps the world safe. It gave us a great way to drill home that the police are a safe place, a haven and people to be trusted if he ever needs help. I’m so thankful to his preschool for giving him the chance to get to know an officer in a friendly way so that he’s not afraid.
My son is still wearing the sticker “police badge” he got and has asked that I not wash the shirt because he doesn’t want his sticker to get soapy.
How are you teaching your children to trust those who serve the city?
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