Our goal in putting on this workshop was to educate kids in how to be more aware of potential dangers, how to avoid them if possible, and what to do to defend themselves if they encounter a threatening situation. Here is a recap of a few of the lessons we presented:
Kids are safer when they are under the watchful eye of their protective family members / guardians. Moms and Dads take care of them at home, Teachers take care of them at school, Coaches take care of them at sports practices, and so forth. In our class, we taught the kids that they shouldn’t wander off on their own, by themselves. We reviewed examples, such as when they are at the grocery store or the movie theater, and we reinforced the lesson that it’s safer to stay together.
ASK PERMISSION FIRST
Kids are safer when we know where they are and what they’re doing. For this lesson, we taught the kids that it is super important to ask their parent’s / guardian’s permission before going and doing something. This could be something as simple as answering the front door at home – kids should go get their parents, not just open the door themselves – or something bigger like getting permission to go down the street to visit with their friends. If kids can gain the habit of asking first, of checking in with their parents / guardians, and of making sure things are okay, they will surely be more safe.
IF YOU’RE LOST, KNOW HOW TO GET HELP
When kids get lost or separated, it can be a frightening experience for them and for their family. For their own safety, kids should have a plan and know what to do if it happens. In our class, we taught kids that there are a few good ways to get help: (a) go tell the people who work there, (b) go tell a mom with kids. We tried to help the kids in our class understand that the people who work at a store are usually at the front counter / cashier area, and that they can tell those people that they are lost and need help. We also tried to help the kids understand that most moms with kids are nice and will help them. If kids have a plan of action when an emergency like getting lost happens, they will be safer in getting back to their loved ones.
BE AWARE OF LURES AND TRICKS
Dangerous adults may use lures, lies, and manipulation to coerce kids into uncomfortable or dangerous situations. We taught the kids in our class that they need to watch out for possible tricks – like an adult asking them to keep a secret from their family, an adult asking them for help (because adults should be asking other adults, not young kids), or an adult who tries to give them gifts in exchange for time together. We instructed the kids to ALWAYS go tell, and that it is best to get away from bad situations and get help right away from someone they trust.
STAY IN SAFE PLACES
There are some places in our communities and in our world where the risks of something bad happening to you are higher. We shared the lesson that, as they grow up and go off to college and jobs and vacations, the safe thing for kids to do is to stay away from dangerous areas.
All of the above lessons are about safety – but sometimes, no matter how much we do to prevent and avoid it, danger still finds us. This is why it is so important to learn and practice effective verbal and physical self-defense skills. We taught the kids in our class how to use their voice to speak up confidently and assertively, how to say NO and BACK OFF, and how to communicate when they need help. We also taught them how to escape some simple grabs and holds, such as if a bad guy grabs them by the arm. Furthermore, we reinforced the key point that it’s good to fight back when they are in serious physical danger, utilizing strikes to vulnerable areas of the bad guy’s body, like the eyes and groin. Escape is in the number one goal, and we should be willing to fight back in order to break free and get to safety.
To all the people who attended our Child Safety & Stranger Course, thank you! Honestly, we hope that none of you even needs to use any of these skills. But it is better to be aware and be prepared, just in case. We look forward to more of these classes and training sessions in the future.