Security Check: 5 Rules for Stranger Safety

Instead of: Don't take candy from a stranger

Say: Don't take anything from anyone except your parents, babysitter, teacher, or friend's mom or dad on a playdate.

"Kids this age are very literal," says Dr. Shubin. "So when you warn them not to accept candy, they're not likely to interpret it to also mean that they shouldn't take a balloon or crayons." So it's best to tell your child to check with you before accepting anything. To make sure your kid gets it, role-play a few scenarios. For instance, pretend to be a stranger who asks your child if she wants a cookie. Even if your daughter says "No thanks," see how she'll react when pushed. Counter with "I asked your mom and she thinks it's okay" to see whether she'll give in or hold firm.

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