The words kidnapped, abducted, stolen and taken send shivers down the backs of parents everywhere making us wonder what more we can do to ensure our child’s safety. How can someone hurt an innocent child? Yet this kind of tragedy happens daily around the globe and news of these events can leave parents feeling frightened and insecure. Instituting a family password may just help to protect your child from harm.
When our children were little we noticed that in their playtime they would often invent words and then use them in everyday conversation. Some of the words they came up with were amusing and fun to say and even hubby and I began using them.
Early on we decided to use one of our children’s made up words as our family’s code word. When we introduced the idea to them we said that we would always let them know who to expect to pick them up, drive them somewhere or take them somewhere. We told them that they should never go with anyone other than those whom they had been told to go with.
However, sometimes emergencies might arise and things won’t always go as planned so we told them that, in those circumstances, someone unexpected might be showing up if one of us couldn’t be there. We told them that they could know if we had sent that person by asking them what our family code word was. If the person knew it, they could feel safe to go with them, but if they didn’t know it they should not.
As our girls grew older and enjoyed the privilege of walking home from school alone and playing outside unsupervised we knew that our family code word would protect them. Thankfully our family never had to put this safety precaution to the test and hopefully your family won’t either.
Here’s proof that a family code word works. Just a few days ago my husband shared this new article with me. It’s a GOOD NEWS story about a how a family code word saved a young girl from getting into a stranger’s car.
We urge you, if you haven’t done so already, to begin this discussion with your children today. Begin by telling them how much you love them and how you would never want anything bad to happen to them. Explain, as clearly as your children’s age will allow, that there are dangers out in the world and that one way to protect against those dangers is using a family code word.
Children should be made aware that this word is Top Secret and that they are not to share it with anyone. Only you, the parents, will share it with someone when the need arises. Go over different scenarios with your child where they might need to ask someone what the code word is. Ask them if they can think of situations where a code word might be needed. Their answers might surprise you. Always be clear by letting your child know who will be picking them up from events and reminding them if someone else shows up to ask that person for the code word.
Also, talk to your child about what to do if they are approached by someone who doesn’t know the code word. Recommend they reach out to school officials, police or other authority figures depending on the situation. It is also helpful if they can take note of unusual circumstances or, as in the case reported, record a portion of a license plate number.
Let’s keep our kids safe,
More ideas to keep your kids safe: