Your 6-year-old now
Growing independence, natural innocence, and a lack of judgment and impulse control can place your child in risky situations. This is a good time to stress messages about stranger danger and safety.
How do you impart these lessons without panicking your child? Offer simple rules, experts advise: "Don't open the door unless you know who it is." "Don't go anywhere with someone you don't know." "Strangers who need help should ask other grown-ups, not kids, even for things like finding a puppy." These rules are easily understood by 6-year-olds; they're like putting on a bike helmet or eating dinner before getting dessert.
Role-playing helps reinforce safety rules. What does she do if someone offers her candy when she's not with a trusted adult or asks for help finding a lost dog?
Have her practice running, yelling "No," and shouting "I don't know this person" or "This is not my daddy." Teach her that screaming and getting other people's attention is the right thing to do in a situation like this. Tell her to go to a store clerk, identified by his sales nametag, if you become separated in a store.
Your life now
Having a hard time driving with a boisterous group of kids in the backseat? Instead of screaming and threatening, let your child know the deal. Matter-of-factly state the effect of such behavior, what you expect, and what the consequences will be: "I'm having a hard time driving. If you can't calm down, I will need to pull over so you can get settled back there and we'll be late for the party."
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