Helping kids make safe decisions: Ten Dos and Don’ts to Teach Them


Teaching your child to make safe decisions about who they interact with, what they do and where they go is an important task for every parent.  As summer approaches, your child is likely to be more out and about, playing with friends, at day camps, etc.  Here are ten dos and don’ts that we recommend you teach your child to help them make good decisions.

  1. Kids: DO tell your parents where you are going, who you’ll be with, and when you’ll be home.  Parents: DO decide what you want them to do if they are at a friend’s house and the parent leaves. Should they call you?  Should they come home?

  3. Kids: If you and a friend are on the computer at your house, and a "yucky" picture comes up on the computer screen, DO get off the computer – and DO tell a grownup what happened! Parents: If your child or a child you know tells you about an experience like this, DO  listen and consider adjusting the parental controls on the family computer.

  5. Kids: If you're playing outside with a group of friends, and an adult or an older kid you "sort of" know from your neighborhood says you should come inside their house for a treat, DON’T go inside and DO tell a grownup you trust what happened!

  7. Kids: DON’T answer the door when you are home without an adult. 

  9. Parents: DO decide whether you want your children to answer the phone when they’re home alone.  If they do, what do you want them to say? Kids:  If you answer the phone while you’re home without a grown-up, DON’T tell the caller that you are home alone.

  11. Kids: DON’T get into a car with anyone unless your parents have said it’s okay. Parents: DO talk to your children about who it is safe to accept a ride from.  Consider deciding on a code word to signal it’s okay to accept the ride that only you, your child, and the approved driver know.

  13. Parents: DO talk with your kids about adults in their lives they can trust, so if they feel worked about someone or something, they know who they can talk to.

  15. Kids: DO call ahead of time if you think you’re going to be late coming home. That way mom and dad won’t worry.

  17. Kids: If a kid you know says it's okay with their parents that you come home with him or her after day care, and you haven't checked it out with your parents—DON’T go home with them.  Instead, ask if you can do it another time.

  19. Kids: If you’re at day camp and another kid takes your lunch, steals your money or makes you feel afraid – DO tell a trustworthy adult about it, and get help. Parents: Again, DO talk with your kids about the adults in their lives that they can trust.

While there are many things to discuss with your kids about making safe decisions, these ten should give you a good start.  What are some rules you have set with your own children?  How do you help them make safe choices?

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