10 Core Kidpower “People Safety” Skills

Written by Irene van der Zande, Kidpower Founder and Executive Director

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At Kidpower, we use the term “People Safety” to mean people being safe with and around people. A strong foundation of People Safety skills can prepare individuals of all ages and abilities to enjoy life more through increased confidence, better relationships, and fewer problems with people. You can use these 10 core People Safety skills as a checklist to prepare children, teens, and adults, including those with special needs, to take charge of their safety and well-being:

1. Act with awareness, calm, and respectful confidence so that people will listen to you better and bother you less.

2. Protect your feelings from hurtful words or behavior instead of taking negative messages inside where they can make you miserable for a very long time.

3. Stay in charge of what you say and do by managing your emotional triggers so that you are able to think clearly, make wise choices, and act respectfully towards yourself and others no matter how you feel inside. Acting respectfully sometimes requires NOT doing what someone wants you to by refusing politely and instead doing what you think is best.

4. Recognize what is and is not safe so that you can assess a situation and avoid most trouble before it starts. This includes knowing and using Kidpower’s Relationship Safety Rules and Stranger Safety Rules.

5. Move away from trouble and towards safety so that you can stop problems quickly, before they grow.

6. Check First and Think First before you make decisions about what you do, who is with you, and where you go. Until they have the experience and the skills to make these decisions for themselves, children are safest if they Stay Together with their parents and other responsible adults and Check First before changing the plan. Both children and adults are safer if they Think First before taking action – and Check First with those who are responsible for the results of  their decisions.

7. Set powerful and respectful boundaries so that you can speak up for what you do and do not want, listen to what other people do and do not want, and work out problems with others.

8. Follow the safety rules about touch, teasing, and play in healthy relationships so that you can have fun and avoid unsafe behavior.

9. Persist until you get the help you need so that you know how to find people who have the power to help you, when and how to interrupt someone who is distracted or busy, and how to keep asking if someone doesn’t listen.

10. Be prepared to use your voice and body to stop an attack so that you can escape from a violent situation and get to safety where someone can help you.

Additional Resources
Seven Emotional Safety Techniques
Touch in Healthy Relationships
Teaching Kids to Be Safe Without Making Them Scared: Tips for Safety with Strangers and People Children Know
All our Safety Comics, curriculum books, and The Kidpower Book for Caring Adults


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About the Author

Irene van der Zande, Kidpower Founder and Executive Director
Kidpower Founder and Executive Irene van der Zande is a master at teaching safety through stories and practices and at inspiring others to do the same. Her child protection and personal safety expertise has been featured by USA Today, CNN, Today Moms, the LA Times, and The Wall Street Journal. Publications include: Bullying: What Adults Need to Know and Do to Keep Kids Safe, the Kidpower Safety Comics series, the Relationship Safety Skills Handbook for Teens and Adults, and The Kidpower Book for Caring Adults: Personal Safety, Self-Protection, Confidence, and Advocacy for Young People.
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