Stranger Danger

My 3 year old step-kid is getting to the point where “stranger danger” is VERY important. They’re very shy and refuse to play with other kids...just the parents or other random adults. They will strike up a conversation with any passing adult and even try to open the door when people come knocking. This is TERRIFYING for my spouse and I. How do you handle stranger danger with a kid that young without making them completely terrified of the world?

  • Morgan
    Nov 26

    I have always just kept reminding my children they can not talk to others unless I okay it and that they need to stay by me unless they have permission to go play. As for the door answering, my children listened right away and have not answered the door unless told to. My oldest is 6 and youngest is 4 and it hasn't been an issue for me. However I know it's hard for a lot of kids to remember so I would reccomend a lock high on the door that she can not reach. My daughter still needs reminders about strangers but it takes persistence. My son doesn't ever have issues with talking to strangers or wandering off but is still good at socializing when appropriate. Just keep a close eye when out of the house and keep reminding her of stranger danger. Good luck!

  • Anne
    Nov 26

    This is good advice. ^ It helps to focus the conversation on boundaries rather than fear/danger. When I'm at the playground I expect my children to ask me if it's okay to go play with another kid or talk to someone new. Same thing if someone offers them food, gives them a toy, knocks on the door, etc. Even if it's someone we know! If we're out somewhere and they do something without asking me first, we immediately leave. You won't have to do this more than once in most cases — they get the picture!

  • Sabrina
    Nov 26

    My niece just turned 3 and is the same way. & she loves to “adventure.” I am her primary care taker and I struggled with a way to explain stranger danger to her and I finally figured out the perfect way; here’s how. I LOVED Monsters Inc. as a child but was always cautious of “monsters” after I watched it. So, I asked Myleah (my niece) if she wanted to watch my favorite childhood movie for our movie time one day. She of course said yes & we watched Monsters Inc. After the movie she asked me about the monsters & I gave her the Stranger Danger talk & told her the dangers of opening doors to “monsters” (people we don’t know.) I told her if she talks to people we don’t know they are like the monsters from the movie. I explained that they can’t come in the house or hurt her unless she opens the door without an adult & that if we’re out in public and she tries to talk to a stranger they could be a monster. She pretty much stopped completely. She even comes to get someone if someone comes to the door & if someone tries to talk to her in public she looks at us for assurance now.