May 182016

How to Talk to Your Child About Strangers

From tackling peer pressure to learning to achieve five whole minutes without a cell phone in hand, addressing tough topics with your kids head-on can be hard. Even with the littlest ones, it’s not always easy to explain why you can’t get them that cute puppy and why they need to be nice to their sister. But with Netflix, your kid’s favorite shows can open the door for these tricky, sometimes awkward (hello parents of tweens and teens!), conversations.

Wouldn’t it be nice if our kids came with a stranger danger warning attached to their brain? Every parent wants to instill the common sense of staying away from strangers into their children. However, every parent knows that isn’t possible. I wanted to share some tips with how you can talk to your children about the danger of strangers.

Talk about adults you can trust.

Kids are way smarter than we give them credit for, but it’s still important to talk to them about adults they can trust. Talk to your child about who they can trust and who they can’t trust. I’m pretty straightforward with my kids and tell them that no one else will pick them up, unless I tell them that personally. I tell them that if they don’t feel right about something, then go with their gut instinct.

Talk about acceptable behavior.

It’s best to be honest with your child than to sugar coat anything. Stranger danger doesn’t just happen when your child is on his or her way home from school. Stranger danger can happen anywhere. It’s important that kids know what is acceptable behavior and what is not.

Talk about strangers coming in all forms.

A lot of times when we think about teaching our kids about strangers, we make them picture a super creepy man or woman. Strangers come in all shapes and sizes, which is why it’s important to talk to your kids about the dangers of talking to people they don’t know.

Talk through different scenarios.

If your kids are anything like mine, then sometimes they have to see it to believe it. Walking through different scenarios with your child is a smart move. For example: Ask your child what they would do if a car rolled up beside them and asked them to get it. Children should be able to picture different scenarios in their heads, so they can make a quick but smart decision when put in a weird situation.

Awareness is key.

Teaching your child to be aware of their surroundings is important. They should know what’s going on around them as they walk, ride their bikes, or even go in public places.

Having the “stranger” talk with your child is such a difficult topic, but it’s one that needs done. I try not to scare my kids when I talk to them about the strangers around them, but I am honest.

Netflix is host to a variety of family-friendly shows that explore a range of real-life issues with equal measures of humor, angst and heart. No matter your situation, chances are there’s a show and episode that can kickstart a dialogue around the topic just by watching it together. Here are a few shows streaming on Netflix that can help get the conversations started:

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What are some ways you talk to your child about strangers?

Note: I am a member of the Netflix StreamTeam.  As part of the #streamteam, I have received product and complimentary service, but all opinions are 100% my own. 

  109 Responses to “How to Talk to Your Child About Strangers”

  1. Such an important topic to have an open line of communication with our kids. Also can’t thank you enough not only for the reminder, but for the Netflix shows that do deal with this, too.

  2. We like to help identify key helpers that might be the same in any location- front desk workers, security personnel and the like.

  3. I told my kids don’t talk to them and stressed the danger.

  4. Stranger Danger is definitely something we stressed with our girls. If you don’t know them, don’t talk to them. Period.

  5. Great tips! Strangers were something I seriously worried about in the states especially with our kids because they were so friendly to everyone. But here I don’t have to worry about it as much. I do still talk to them about it especially for when we travel.

  6. This is so important and the ideas that you have shared here are timeless. Thanks for sharing this!

  7. I actively identify adults that can be trusted for the most part and who they should & should not approach if they need help with anything.

  8. These are great tips. Lots of kids are not aware of the dangers of talking to strangers.

  9. These are awesome tips. I have told my daughter about stranger danger and she is really good about it, she is 13 now and sure knows the dangers.

  10. What an important topic to discuss with your kids. And, heart wrenching when they realize not everyone is trustworthy. I like your tip about watching shows on Netflix that deal with this issue.

  11. It’s so important to teach them this. Strangers most definitely come in creepy and normal form, so they need to be wary of everyone they don’t know.

  12. We’ve already had this talk. The only one I’m going to have to talk to now is my 4yr old who is a little too friendly. You can never be too careful.

  13. This is such an important issue but one I can imagine is difficult to broach. You want to be honest but you don’t want to truamatise your children by telling too much.

  14. Scary stuff to think about. I will be watching these with my kids!

  15. I am always worried about my son talking to strangers (he is somewhat outgoing), but he knows a few things! One thing for sure he knows that adults should not be asking for help form kids, but having other adults help them.

  16. Thank you so much for this post. This is something we must always remind our children of. There are so many different kinds of danger lurking around, and we must, as parents teach our children to be vigilant and be on the look out for people who might do them harm.

  17. This is a great post and it is so important to talk to the kids about strangers. I am glad that my son is grown and I don’t have to worry about it now.

  18. I don’t even like my 8 year old boy going to the bathroom by himself. People today are so crazy and like you said, come in many forms. They can look just like us! Such an important topic to cover!

  19. I think children really identify with stranger danger when it is communicated by characters they love and trust. Sometimes kids tend to tune out what mom and dad are saying!

  20. Yep it’s hard for kids to make the correct call in situations like that. Are they being rude? Are they just being smart? – stranger danger. It’s so good to talk to them.

    I love: Talk through different scenarios.

  21. These are great tips. There are some real creep shows out there, and our kids need to know how to be on the lookout for people who might do them harm.

  22. Stranger danger and good touch/bad touch should go hand in hand. Give them the information they need in an age appropriate way. Videos and books are a great way to start the conversation.

  23. This is definitely a topic that needs to be talked about more. With laws changing, times changing and all sorts of craziness in this world, you can never be too prepared.

  24. This has to be one of the hardest issues for a parent – how to teach without taking away the essence of childhood. It is such a shame that there are people that would harm children so that it has to be taught.

  25. I know this probably breaks every parenting rule, but my kids watch Criminal Minds. I tell them all the time to be careful of certain situations because they don’t want to end up like a Criminal Minds victim.

  26. Such an important topic and one that needs major attention! Great tips for getting that going!
    Karen |

  27. Educating our kids about the dangers of strangers is so important. You provide great tips on how to handle this difficult conversation. Thanks for the advice.

  28. As a teacher, we always had great conversations about strangers. The kids always had stories of times when they met a stranger and how it felt, meeting new people with and without parents. Your guidelines sound logical and reasonable to me.

  29. These are some really great tips! We have tried to explain how to act with strangers to our 3-year-old daughter, and the result is that she is afraid all the people she does not know. We have to work on this topic more for sure. My daughter loves The Hive, have to check out the other shows too.

  30. I will be watching all of those shows on Netflix next week when the grand kids are here. I talk to them about strangers every time they are here because it’s really a fear of mine that something might happen to them.

  31. Such great advice. We thought we had it all covered then one day my little said, well, if someone brought me ice cream, I could eat it. UGH… NO… NO… YOU CAN NOT! Lol

  32. This is great advice. I made sure my kids knew all about what to look out for when they were young, and now that they’re older, I still give them refresher courses.

  33. Unfortunately, “stranger danger” is a reality and it is important to talk about it with our kids. I really like the idea of discussing different possible scenarios with them.

  34. I always talk my kids through different scenarios when we go to new places. I thought the new Fuller House was great about touching on issues like this.

  35. yes! this is so important. Kids can start learning things like personal boundaries from toddlerhood.

  36. It seems like there are more and more news reports about child abduction, but it’s probably just the spread of information being easier. Regardless, it’s scary stuff! Time to review safety procedures with my kids.

  37. It’s nice to see that Netflix has so many great shows to cover the stranger topic. You should definitely talk to your kids about, but movies and shows can help reinforce your message.

  38. When my son was younger we also talked to him about strangers. It was a combination of people we didn’t know as well as people we did know. IT doesn’t have to be someone you do not know to cause harm.

  39. Good suggestion of ways to talk to kids about strangers. The more examples you give them, the better prepared they’ll be.

  40. I guess I’m probably the oddball, but maybe it’s because I don’t live in the United States? My children see me talking to “strangers” all the time and making new friends, and they are growing/have grown to be trusting and friendly. So far, it’s working (my eldest is 20 and in college, my youngest two are toddlers). However, I can certainly understand that different places will require different rules and attitudes.

  41. Our daughter is such a talker. She loves talking to anyone around her. Because of this, we have already started talking to her about strangers. She is still super young, but we’re hoping that it sinks in the more we talk to her about it.

  42. It has been my rosary when I keep on telling my kids about strangers, specially to my daughter. I hope they always listen.

  43. Great reminder of how important those open lines of communication really are. Kids face too many challenges to have to do so alone!

  44. I always thought I had done a good job of teaching my children about talking to strangers. That all changed when I witnessed them heading to the road to talk to a strange car with two strange men asking about their lost puppy. I about had a heart attack. It’s so hard to make sure they really understand.

  45. This is a very important topic to discuss with your kids. This is a great post to cover all the important points while not scaring your kids completely.

  46. This is an extremely important topic to talk about with your kiddos. Thank you for sharing this!

  47. It is so important to talk to your kids about strangers. When my kids were little we used to talk to them about the dangers of talking to strangers. These are great tips.

  48. This is great advice. It’s never too early to talk to kids about strangers. I still remind our teenager on a regular basis.

  49. It is so difficult to get the whole stranger danger thing through to my sons but they don’t speak to ANYone who they haven’t formed some sort of bond with (usually super shy) .. I will keep trying to have this talk – thanks for some tips!

  50. This is such great advice. I always talk to my daughters about this. I think they really need to know more about strangers. My oldest is very shy, so she won’t even talk to anyone she doesn’t know.

  51. My ex and I had many talks with kiddo about strangers when she was younger. Now that she is a bit older, I still talk to her about them when we hang out.

  52. It is so important to talk to your kids about strangers. I weave this into everyday conversation.

  53. Living in a small town it would be easy to become complacent about stranger danger. Really appreciate the reminders.

  54. It’s definitely important to make sure that they are aware of the dangers that talking to strangers can bring, in a world like ours, you’ll never know what these people can do and that’s what terrifies me the most. These are very helpful tips and I love that you included episodes of their favorite shows too.

  55. The most important one is def. “Talk about scenarios” and even act them out. Everyone needs to do this will all of life’s situations. Temptation, strangers, etc.

  56. I think it is so important to go over the details of stranger danger! Thank you for sharing the ideas of where to start!

  57. I continually discuss this with my daughter as I need to have her ‘radar’ on at all times just to be aware.

  58. Being aware of their surroundings is key. It’s so hard to teach them that balance between careful and being paranoid.

  59. It is so important to be purposeful in talking to our children about strangers. My sister gave her son a code word in case anyone else tried to pick him up even if they were familiar. I thought that was a great idea!

  60. I’m trying to think back and remember what my parents told me about strangers. i know we discussed it but i can’t really remember how it was brought up. it is so important to discuss though. when i have children i know i’ll be discussing this with them

  61. It is important to talk with out children about dangerous people and situations. We cannot be afraid or hesitant to prepare them for possible dangers.

  62. The world is s scary place. This is imperative for every parent to read.

  63. This is a great topic and SO important! You can never be too careful these days!

  64. SO important! My little guy is 2 wand he’s SO friendly and says hi to everyone

  65. Very well said! Awareness is the real key. Let your child know the worst possible things that could happen if she won’t get aware of her surroundings. This is a really helpful article!

  66. Good tips right here, we need more like this from actual parents and actual experiences. I have no kids yet, but for me I would always go for the “always be on their side” approach.

  67. This is an important article for sure. This is especially and dangerously true in today’s world of smart devices.

  68. All great and very important tips. Better safe than sorry with the kids, always.

  69. This is a very important topic to discuss with your child. These are great tips. Creating different scenarios will help them understand it fully.

  70. This is such an important thing to teach. It is a hard lesson to teach because you probably also want to teach respect to adults and kindness to all.

  71. This is so important. Aside from talking to them, the twins are also taught in school about this. They were even given whistles for them to use when a stranger tries to talk to them.

  72. These are all great tips. Thanks for sharing. Always best to err on the side of caution with kids.

  73. These are really great tips. It can be hard to know how to teach kids about strangers.

  74. In the world we live in, I agree it’s very important to talk to kids about strangers. Great tips.

  75. These are great tips for me to use as my son gets older!

  76. This is a very important matter to discuss with your kids. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

  77. Also you child should have an unusual word to be given if someone claims you sent them

  78. These Netflix titles are great for getting the conversation started. We have always openly discussed strangers and stranger danger with our kids.

  79. Great post. This is definitely something to address with our kids.

  80. Great post! I did not about these netflix titles. It is very important to talk about strangers to children and will be even better to watch a movie after the talk.

  81. This really is an amazing post and will surely be very helpful to every parents. Will share this to my best friend and friends.

  82. The world today is not the same safe world we have when we were kids. It is so smart to talk to your kids about strangers even at young age.

  83. Teaching your children to have awareness about strangers can be hard. My kids are super friendly to everyone and I hope that they wouldn’t just walk off with someone that they didn’t know.

  84. This is great to know and a really important conversation to have! It’s a crazy world we live in!

  85. This is a great topic and it’s so important to teach my kids don’t talk to strangers

  86. This is such an important topic. My kids have had the stranger danger talk!

  87. having an open discussion is very important. great key notes. will be sharing with some of my friends.

  88. Indeed awareness is the key! And we really have to talk this issue a lot with our kids. Thanks so much for sharing your insights 🙂

  89. This is such an important topic! Now that my daughter is getting older, this is something we are trying to explain to her.

  90. Robin-chan! What can I say besides I love your blog posts!
    This is so cool that you’re promoting this and the how to of it all.
    More and more parents need to read this. It’s no wonder you have a bijillion comments haha.
    Keep rocking on

  91. This is a must, I constantly have the talk with my 4 & 11 year old. We role play and everything, I want to make sure they know what to do. As they get older I adjust the talk but still keep it going.

    Great tips.

  92. I think you mentioned the single most important factor: that gut feeling. The body has a natural instinct and early warning system, and we have to teach our kids to listen to that response. Too often they don’t speak up because of manners or something — or people told them “go and give Uncle Fred a hug, what’s the matter with you?!” Um no – my child does not have to hug Uncle Fred if he/she does not want. Don’t teach my child they have no say over physical contact. Just. No. If Uncle Fred is truly a super duper man, he will maybe suggest a secret handshake or something that is comfortable with my child, instead of being butt hurt over a non offense.

  93. It so important to teach your children this. I would remind them all the time about strangers and never talk to them.

  94. This is such an important topic. I am already talking to my 3 year old about it!

  95. Love this! Such a hard topic, I love that you address it head on,

  96. I’ve been having more conversations with my son about this too. So important t omake sure my kids know what to do

  97. I really like that you included that strangers come in all forms. Sometimes a stranger can be someone who seems nice and approachable, but could be dangerous. This is definitely important to teach your kids.

  98. I’ve been talking to my son a lot about stranger danger in the last few years. Especially now that he understands what could happen to him!

  99. This is a very important reminder. I too don’t even feel comfortable talking to stangers.

  100. It is important to ensure our kids are aware about this. I keep talking to Bo et Oi about this just to make sure that they are in the safe side..

  101. As you said.. Awareness is essential! We can protect them everyday every single moment.. We just give them the tools and they have to learn

  102. Such an important topic which is much good for the current stage we live in. It is important to let them know about people whom they can trust & also make sure that which form of behavior is out of the limit so they know something is not right.

  103. Scenarios are a definite mus to talk through – so important to make them aware of what could happen! Fab post!

  104. This is such a terrifying topic for me! I am not a mother but I can’t imagine trying to talk with a child about this subject. You have such a great guide here, you’re fantastic!

  105. Such a powerful subject that is so important to discuss with our kids. I feel when my kids were younger it was important but now it is an even heavier and more important subject. So many kids have access to various forms of social media and can get involved with strangers without realizing. I love that Netflix is offering help for parents to educate

  106. It’s so important now a days for your child to know about stranger danger. Love this post. Love the “what’s acceptable language” too.

  107. I like that you’ve brought this topic up – it’s important for parents to talk to kids about strangers, and have it be a natural, informational discussion.