Lynden has really come out of his shell in the last few weeks. He's a little more adventurous and social, it's a nice change.
A few weeks ago my grandma took him to a puppet show in the park and afterwards he spotted some other kids running around and he wanted to go and join them. This is huge for him.
Last week my grandma commented on how tentative Lynden is around water and that we need to work on it. The next day while watering the flowers all he wanted to do was run around the hose and get soaked.
The following day he went fishing with Danny and played in the lake, no problems. Again, this is huge. And when we took him to the lake on Saturday he was totally comfortable playing in the water.
We even went to the local water park last week and he was content playing on his own, not needing me to be there with him. At the lake there was a park and he was happy to run off and do his own thing.
But, as a parent this opens a new door of concerns; strangers.
While at the water park Lynden and I talked a little about what to do if someone he didn't know talked to him (say "no" and run and find mommy). We talked about the fact they might offer him something (candy, car, ice cream, a puppy) and that it was important to say "no" and run and find mommy or daddy. I also told him that if someone he doesn't know says "your mom asked me to come and get you" that he is to say "no" and run and find us. I also stressed the importance of being able to see us and knowing where we are if he's off doing his own thing.
This was a little lost on him Saturday at the lake. He wanted to go and play at the park, which we could see from where we were, but we didn't know if he knew where to find us so I walked over to the park to show him.
Mild panic, he wasn't at the park.
I called for him, calmly since I didn't want to go into full panic-frantic mode, and just as Danny was joining me in calling him Lynden came running over from the fire trucks that were on the opposite side of the beach from us. Turns out he wasn't sure where we were so he went back to where we were earlier. After that we had another quiz about strangers and sent him off to play again.
It's a hard thing for a parent. I want him to feel comfortable enough to go and play on his own but aware of what to do when someone approaches him. I don't want to scare him and have him never wanting to leave our side.
Once we're comfortable with him knowing what to do we'll teach him to yell if someone tries to force him to go with someone he doesn't know and try to teach him why, without scaring him.
But it's hard, especially since some people don't react to children calling out for help. Since I wrote this post I've been thinking a lot about what I could teach my children to have people react. I've decided that I'm going to teach my children to say "call the police". I figure no matter what the situation is if a child asks for the police someone will call for help, at least that's my hope.
I wish we didn't have to worry about these things as parents, but we do.
How did you teach your children about stranger danger?