How to teach your child about personal safety and awareness of strangers?

Ensuring your child’s safety is a top priority for each parent. Teaching them about personal safety and awareness of strangers is a critical life skill that helps them navigate the world with confidence and security. This guide offers Indian parents practical tips, examples, and strategies on how to educate their children on matters of personal safety and stranger awareness.


Understanding the Concept of Strangers


A stranger is someone your child doesn’t know or doesn’t know well. This could be anyone, from a passerby on the street to a new neighbour or a person at a social gathering. It is not guaranteed that all strangers are harmless to your child. Therefore, it’s essential to teach children that they shouldn’t judge someone solely based on appearance or friendly behaviour. Educating children on the concept of strangers is impertinent as they are naturally curious, friendly, and trusting.

Cultivating a Sense of Personal Boundaries

Personal boundaries are the limits we set for ourselves in terms of what we are comfortable with, both physically and emotionally, and, in today’s world, digitally. It is essential to teach your child about space and that it’s okay to tell someone if they are making them uncomfortable.
Respecting personal boundaries is a key aspect of safety education. It is also important to make your child aware of the difference between a good touch (like a hug from family) and a bad touch (uncomfortable or inappropriate touching). Encourage your child to speak up, provide them with a safe space to come, and inform you if they are being made to feel uncomfortable by anyone, whether known or unknown. Let them know it’s okay to say “no” if they feel uncomfortable, and teach them to trust their instincts. Also, ensure to teach your child about online boundaries and not to disclose personal information on the web.

Identifying ‘Safe’ Strangers

Safe strangers are individuals whom children can turn to in times of need, like police officers, teachers, or store employees. You can inform them of uniformed personnel like police officers, security guards, and firefighters and teach them to identify these by showing them pictures. Also, point out teachers, school staff, and family and friends who can be approached if they feel unsafe. A fun way to teach younger children is to show them pictures of strangers and ask them who they feel is safe or unsafe and why. This will teach them to trust their own instincts in a situation where you are not around.

Teaching the Concept of Stranger Danger

Stranger danger is the idea that not all strangers are safe and that children should be cautious around people they don’t know. Key teaching points include not accepting gifts or food from unknown people, never going anywhere with someone they do not know regardless of what the stranger promises them, the importance of saying ‘no’ to strangers, and even running away if they feel threatened. These concepts are more challenging to teach younger kids, and role-playing games may be an effective way. Older children are easier to teach, but it is important to make them aware nevertheless.

Developing a Safety Network

A safety network is a group of trusted individuals whom your child can rely on in case of an emergency. Make sure your child can identify about five trusted adults whom they can turn to in case of trouble. These can be friends, teachers, or even neighbours. Equip your child with the contact information of these trusted adults, and for younger children, teach them how to get in touch with them. Have emergency plans in place and practice them with your children so they know what to do in a real emergency. Ensure you inform the people in question informed that your child may contact them in case of an emergency so that they are prepared to help.

Additional Tips for Children with Special Needs


Clear Communication

Use clear and straightforward language. Clearly tell your child: “Never go with anyone unless you come and ask me.” Or “I will tell you ahead of time if you’re going with anyone other than me.” You can also use pictures and videos to illustrate various scenarios.


Repetition and Reinforcement

Go over safety scenarios often and reinforce learning through repetition. Praise them when they get it right and use rewards to encourage them to learn the safety precautions while practising.


Build Confidence

Work closely with your child’s teachers and other caregivers to build their confidence in themselves. Teach them self-advocacy skills and ensure they feel comfortable speaking up for themselves. Reinforce reaching out to ‘safe’ adults for help if they ever feel like they are in danger.


Special Considerations

Be mindful of sensory issues affecting how a child perceives and reacts to strangers. Utilise behavioural strategies tailored to the child’s specific needs to ensure they grasp and apply safety concepts effectively.

Talk About Uncomfortable Feelings
Discuss situations that might make your child feel uncomfortable or scared. Ask them about times they’ve felt strange or ‘off’ and how that felt.
Act out scenarios involving strangers and teach your child to say ‘no’ and run away if they feel unsafe. Emphasise the importance of finding a trusted adult if they feel scared.

Make Kids the ‘Boss’ of Their Body
Teach your child that no one is allowed to touch their body in a way that makes them uncomfortable. Emphasise that they are in charge of their body and can say ‘no’ if someone tries to touch them inappropriately.



Teaching your child about personal safety and awareness of strangers is a crucial life skill that empowers them to navigate the world confidently and securely. By following these practical tips and strategies, you can ensure your children develop a strong sense of security and awareness. Start early, use age-appropriate language, role-play, emphasise the importance of identifying safe strangers, establish a safety network, and adapt your approach for children with special needs. This will help your child stay safe and build a strong foundation for their future.