Lesson 1

Stranger Danger

 

Lesson Goal:

To educate children on the danger of strangers and how to deal with stranger situations.

 

Lesson Objectives:

  • Define what a stranger is.
  • Know how to handle situations with strangers.

 

Content Standards Addressed:

Common Core State Standards

National Standards

 

Studies show how children will still talk with, and sometimes even walk with, people they do not know. Parents are shocked when this happens.

A stranger is ANYONE the child does not know. This includes people they see on the television, attractive people, nice people and anyone they have never met before face-to-face. Sometimes children have a hard time understanding this concept because they feel they do "know" the person. Children need to know that even nice people are strangers and can be dangerous.

 

Some important points to talk to kids about include:

  1. Never talk to strangers.
  2. Never take things from strangers.
  3. Never accept a ride from strangers.
  4. Never give your name, address or telephone number to a stranger.
  5. Never open the door to a stranger.
  6. Never go to the park or far from home alone.
  7. If a stranger approaches, turn and run the opposite direction.
  8. If a stranger grabs you, scream, hit, kick and do whatever you need to do to get away from that person.
  9. If you get an "uh-oh" feeling, get away from the situation as soon as possible.
  10. Adults should not ask children for directions. If they do, you should tell them to ask an adult.
  11. If in a troublesome situation, you should go to a police officer, a neighborhood house, store, a person working out in the yard, teacher, church, school, etc.
  12. If a child seeks help at a house where the child does not know the residents, he/she should describe the situation, give the resident his/her parent's/guardian's number to call and wait outside while the person makes the call.
  13. Discuss the importance of every family having a codeword. A codeword can be used in case someone tries to say they are a family friend and are there to pick a child up from school, etc. A codeword should be something that would be easy to remember like the name of a family pet or a favorite meal.
  14. It is important for you to know your name and address in case you get lost or separated from your parents and need to ask for help.

Depending on the age of participants, it may never be appropriate for the children to be outside/at the park alone. Very young children should always have supervision.

Activities:

Puppets

1. Have children make puppets out of paper bags.

2. Have the children role play with their puppets what they would say if a stranger approached them.

3. Set up scenarios for the children to role-play with their puppets. Some of the scenarios may include:

  • A stranger asks for directions.
  • A stranger asks for candy.
  • A stranger needs help looking for his/her lost animal.
  • A stranger tell you your parents asked them to pick you up after school.

 

Codeword

1. This activity involves parent and child interaction.

2. Prior to distributing the Codeword Letter reproducible, tell the story below:

One evening, Eric's parents reminded him to never go with strangers. They warned him that if they could not pick him up from school they would send a trusted family friend, someone who would know the family codeword. Eric and his parents decided the codeword would be "spaghetti" because it was his favorite dinner and an easy word to remember.

Just a few weeks later, Eric's mom got sick at work and was unable to pick him up from school. She sent her friend Brenda to pick him up from school. Brenda arrived at school and told Eric about his mom being sick. She offered to give him a ride. Before getting in the car, Eric asked if she knew the family codeword. Brenda said, "Spaghetti." Brenda was impressed with Eric's show of responsibility. She took him home safely.



3. Instruct children that their homework assignment is to develop a codeword with their parents.

4. The next day discuss how the participants decided on their codeword. Don't ask children to reveal their codeword.

 

Reproducible: Codeword Letter

 

What To Do?

1. Read each scenario below to the participants as a group.

2. Allow children to give answers as to what would be the best thing to do in each scenario.

Scenario 1: You are home after school, and someone calls. The caller is asking for information about what your family is doing this weekend. 

Scenario 2: You and your friend are walking home after school, and a car pulls up to the curb. The driver asks you for directions.

Scenario 3: You are home alone after school, and someone comes to your door.

Scenario 4: You are walking home after school, and a man claiming to be a family friend said your mom and dad told him to pick you up.

Scenario 5: You are at the park, and an older lady asks if you would like to play a game with her away from the playground area.

Scenario 6: Someone you do not know grabs your hand and tries to pull you toward their car.

 

"Picture" a Stranger 

1. Collect pictures from magazines, photo albums, newspapers and catalogs. Make sure there are a variety of pictures: large people, small people, people of different races, attractive people, unattractive people, people wearing different styles of dress. Include a photo of a famous person, yourself and another adult the children know well.

2. Show the children the pictures of the different people.

3. Ask the children which people would be considered strangers. Children may identify unattractive people as strangers. And children may have a false sense of knowing famous people.

4. Emphasize that anyone they do now know is a strange even if they are nice, attractive or famous.

 

Leader's Fast Facts:

1. According to the U.S. Justice Department, the odds of a parent having a missing child are 1 in 42 (2003).

2. According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, most abductions are done by luring children into a vehicle, rather than taking them by force; about half are 4-11 years old, the rest 12 or older; 74 percent are girls (2003). ​