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Talking to Strangers: A Handy Guide for Your Kids

Medically reviewed by Jezreel Esguerra, MD · General Practitioner

Written by Nikita Bhalla · Updated Dec 02, 2022

Talking to Strangers: A Handy Guide for Your Kids

It is impossible to protect children from talking to strangers all the time. They will need to be sent to school and will also take part in co-curricular activities with friends. At a certain age, they will become independent. It is essential for parents to teach them about proper behavior and what to do if someone crosses the acceptable limit. These tips can help your kids stay safe while you are not accompanying them.

Begin With Interaction About Basic Physical Safety

To begin the conversation about talking to strangers with your child, talk about general safety. Explain to them in detail the difference between safe touch and a harmful one.

Children four years old and above are mature enough to understand the various parts of their body. Make it clear to them that it is unacceptable for most people to touch them. Tell them to follow their instincts to differentiate between a safe and harmful touch. Give them the confidence to report to you the moment a touch is uncomfortable to them, even if it is from a relative or an acquaintance.

Introduce the Concept of Talking to Strangers

Children are usually ready for this discussion when they are around four years of age. You may begin the discussion by asking your kid if they know who a stranger is. If your children are not sure, tell them that a stranger can be anybody they do not know.

To avoid scaring children, highlight that a stranger is not necessarily a good person or a bad person. They are just someone they don’t know. Hence, it is best for them to exercise caution and stay away.

Introduce Trusted Adults to Your Child

Share with your children a few trusted friends of yours or adults they can seek out if they need help. They can be another trusted relative, teacher, or school counselor. 

Set Rules About Talking to Strangers

Set rules about how to talk to strangers. Parents should teach older preschoolers that if they are approached by a stranger, they should go straight to the trusted adults that you’ve identified. 

Children must be taught that it is fine to say hello to a stranger when they are close by, but they do not have to talk to every stranger who approaches them. However, they need to exercise caution regarding the people they interact with. Be clear that they should never go anywhere with strangers.

Talking to Strangers on the Internet is a ‘No’

You should keep a close tab on your child’s internet habits so that you can supervise what they are doing online. Young children should not join chat forums. Children under the age of 10 are often more likely to become targets of predators online. Tell children never to share personal information, answer questions, or fill out forms online.

Set Guidelines for Using Public Bathrooms

Safety when it comes to talking to strangers is especially crucial in public restrooms because by the age of six years, most kids are ready to use a public restroom by themselves. But make sure that you stand outside the door and tell your children to call if they need you. If anyone else offers help, they should know to turn it down by saying something like, “No, thanks. My parents can help me.” 

Prepare Older Kids for Being Home Alone

Teach them that if someone whom they don’t recognize is at the door, they should not open the door. If the visitor brings along a package, they should ask the person to come back another time.

Whether you own a landline or a mobile phone, decide if you want your children to answer the phone. If you intend to call home frequently when you are away, use caller ID so your children can know when you are calling.

Roleplay to Teach

Role-playing is an interesting way to teach kids how to safely handle talking to strangers. Talk with your children about what to do if they are approached by a stranger while they are at the park. For example, if a person drives up in a car and asks for an address, tell your children to take a step back and point in the direction. But if the stranger leaves their car and gets close to them, your children should take several steps back, turn around, and go inside the house or school to find an adult.

Repeat, Repeat, Repeat

There is no need to overreact. Just repeat the message more at specific situations like Halloween, vacations, parties or a trip. Basically, every time when your children may find strangers around them. Leave no stone unturned in reminding your child about the hazards of interaction with strangers.

Learn more about Child Health Issues here


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Medically reviewed by

Jezreel Esguerra, MD

General Practitioner

Written by Nikita Bhalla · Updated Dec 02, 2022

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