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Young people are safer when their adults know who is with them, where they are going, and what they are doing.

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. As part of our global efforts to help protect kids from abuse, bullying, and other harmful behavior, each day this month, we will share a time-tested skill from our Kidpower® 30-Skill-Challenge Coaching Handbook.

Skill #25: Make a “Check First” Safety Plan! Do you always know where your kids are? Sadly, young people are most likely to be harmed by someone they know! They are much safer if their adults know where they are, who is with them, and what they are doing. So it’s vital that kids know what their plan is and are prepared to “Think and Check First” BEFORE they change the plan. For example, say your child is playing outside your home, and a neighbor invites them in for cookies. What should they do? Teach your child how to Check First with these important steps

This full practice is a part of the Kidpower® 30-Skill-Challenge Coaching Handbook.

You can introduce the Check First skill with children by simply saying, “Kids are safer if their grownups know where they are, who they are with, and what they are doing. Your job is to Check First any time your plan changes about where you are going and who you are with.”

Next, pick a situation relevant to the child you are practicing with. For example, “Let’s imagine I am your next-door neighbor and you know me really well.

Suppose you are playing in front of your house and the chair over there (or another designated area or person who could be the adult inside the house) is your grownup inside.”

“Let’s say I come up and say, ‘Hi! Do you want to come to my house for cookies?’ You might want to get cookies, right, but before you go with me you need to Check First with your adult at home.”

Coach the child to, “Say, ‘I would love to, but I have to Check First’ and start to walk to your grownup inside.”

“What if I say, ‘Oh, you don’t have to check, I already called your grownup.’ You still need to check for yourself.”

Coach the child to, “Say, ‘I will be right back, I just need to check’ and go to your grownup and say, ‘Can I go to the neighbor’s and have cookies?’ Great job!”

Other good times to Check First are before you touch anything new you haven’t seen before (a snake, a tool in the garage, etc.), before you play with anything that involves things that can be dangerous like matches or the stove, and before you talk to or take anything from someone you don’t know well.

If a child is old enough to be somewhere without their responsible adult, their job is to Think First.

For a FREE explanation on the simple methods you can use to teach children to use each of these skills, download the Kidpower® 30-Skill-Challenge Coaching Handbook on our website –this ebook will be FREE of charge in English, Spanish, and Arabic in honor of April as Child Abuse Prevention Month.

Please share this skill with others. Let’s work together to teach young people to take charge of their safety, increase self-confidence, and develop healthy, positive relationships! 

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Published: April 25, 2019   |   Last Updated: April 25, 2019

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: cartoon-illustrated Kidpower Safety Comics and Kidpower Teaching Books curriculum; Bullying: What Adults Need to Know and Do to Keep Kids Safe; the Relationship Safety Skills Handbook for Teens and Adults; Earliest Teachable Moment: Personal Safety for Babies, Toddlers, and Preschoolers; The Kidpower Book for Caring Adults: Personal Safety, Self-Protection, Confidence, and Advocacy for Young People, and the Amazon Best Seller Doing Right by Our Kids: Protecting Child Safety at All Levels.

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