Prepare kids to run to safety and yell for help!

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Today concludes the Kidpower 30-Day Challenge with our #30 skill. First, we want to thank you for reading and participating in the Challenge which has provided helpful ways and resources in support of Child Abuse Prevention month. We hope you found it useful and informative, and that you shared them with others.

We wish to also give an extra special appreciation to all of you who were inspired to make a donation to support our global outreach efforts to help people take charge of their safety. Together, we can all make a difference!

Skill #30: Run to Safety to Escape Danger. Empower kids to escape from someone who is threatening them! Research shows that people who intend to hurt others want privacy and control. Staying quiet and going with someone who is acting dangerously gives the aggressor more privacy and more control. Running to safety while yelling can help protect kids from many kinds of harm. Surprisingly, without practice, even kids who run and yell all the time might freeze if they feel scared. Here’s how to make it fun for kids to practice escaping from danger.

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

If a big kid grabs your arm, it can be scary!

Knowing how to escape from a dangerous situation by running to safety while yelling for help can protect kids from many kinds of harm.

Without practice, even kids who run and yell all the time might freeze if they feel scared.

People who intend to hurt kids want privacy and control. Staying quiet and doing what someone who is acting dangerously says gives them more privacy and more control, which is like giving oxygen and fuel to a fire – it is likely to get bigger.

To practice, start by reviewing how to get help everywhere kids go. Ask, “Where are the places you are most likely to go? If you have a Safety Problem there, where would you get help? At the store if you got lost or someone bothered you? At school? At home? In your neighborhood?” Review how to get help any time where a they will be changes, such as a field trip or a vacation.

Next, review how to yell loudly. (Skill# 23: How and What to Yell to Be Safe) Take a breath, yell from your belly, make it short. Practice yelling and separating all the words clearly, “NO!… STOP!… I… NEED…HELP!”

Explain, “If someone or something seems dangerous to you, your job is to get away as quickly as you can and to get help. Remember that it’s okay to interrupt busy adults if you have a Safety Problem. If you feel scared, your plan is to yell and run to safety as soon as you can.” Remind older kids that their safety is more important than anyone’s embarrassment, inconvenience, or offense.

“Now, let’s practice! Pretend I’m acting scary and the wall over there is where Safety is – an adult who can help you.” Here’s how to practice:

You can pull your arm away, yell “NO!” and run to get help.

1. In a playful way, pretend to act scary by saying, “I’m going to GET you!” Or, “Shh. Just do what I say!”

2. Coach the child to turn and run, yelling, “STOP! I NEED HELP!”

3. Now go over and pretend to be Safety and say, “I will help you!”

For kids old enough to understand and use this information safely, make sure they learn some physical self defense so they can break away to escape someone who is trying to harm them.

Studies show that one strong move — leaving, running away, shouting for help – is enough to stop most attacks.

We teach that fighting is a last resort, but, if a child is about to be hurt and cannot just leave and get help, one strong physical self defense move can make a huge difference.

See online article How to Choose A Good Self-Defense Program for information on what to look for. Even a few hours of the right kind of training can greatly increase a young person’s safety and confidence.

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 30, 2019   |   Last Updated: April 30, 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.