How do you get across stranger danger to a four year old without mentally scarring them, or making them scared of every person they encounter. I’ve recently started giving Molly a little more independence on the school run. She knows to stay in my sight, and she’s always surrounded by other parents, other children and I’m never far. However, occasionally, she may go a little further than I would like her too. She usually realises this and stops, but I need to reiterate to her, how important it is to stay close to me, whilst still being able to allow her to scoot ahead a little with her friends. It’s a hard conversation to broach with children, especially with my people loving, talkative and friendly girl.
We started out with the very basic, you must stay close to mummy because you might get lost. It worked for a while, but now she knows her way from school to the playground or home, and her friends also scoot along with her, it meant my answer was no longer effective. Her answer of “It’s ok mummy. I know the way, I won’t get lost” does make me smile a little, but meant better answers where required.
We’ve started simply with the goody/baddy scenarios. She loves her Disney films and they’ve meant she has a good grasp on the idea that not everyone is a goody. Therefore in simple terms “there might be baddies and you need to stay close so mummy can keep you safe”, seems to have worked. She did tell me she would do her karate moves on any baddies, but when told I think it would be best if she just stayed near mummy to stay safe, she accepted this and moved on. This last couple of days, I’ve seen her stopping and checking to make sure she hasn’t gone too far from me so it’s worked, but not been too frightening. I’ll have to expand on things as she gets a bit older I am sure, but we can cross that bridge when we come to it.
How did/do you approach this scenario with your own little ones? I’d love to hear from others and see if anything else may work for us. Little Miss Molly keeps me on my toes with her clever answers and understanding, so a variety of plans and explanations will be extremely helpful!