Every May 25, which is the anniversary of Etan Patz's disappearance, is recognized as National Missing Children's Day. It is an acknowledgement of the commitment to help locate and recover missing children like Etan and the promise to never forget a child no matter how long they have been missing. It also serves as a reminder to parents, guardians, families and communities of the need to make child safety a priority. NCMEC was inspired by National Missing Children’s Day to create the Take 25 Campaign ( www.take25.org), a national grassroots safety initiative that asks families, educators, community leaders and others to take 25 minutes to talk to children about safety. NCMEC partners with organizations around the country and provides free resources to help get these conversations started. In 2012, there were more than 11,000 Take 25 events in over 1,900 cities throughout the United States and abroad. With more than 800 local, regional, and national organizations partnering with the National Center, 2013 promises to be the most successful yet.
HOW DO WE TALK TO OUR KIDS ABOUT SAFETY?
When talking to kids about safety, it’s important not to scare them, but instead to communicate in a positive way that builds confidence and self-esteem. To begin the discussion, go to take25.org and click on their Conversation Starters and consider the following:
Spend time reviewing safety information before you talk to your children. That way, you’ll be better able to talk about the topic in a calm and reassuring manner.
Consider your child’s age
Gear discussions to your child’s level, taking into account their age and understanding. For instance, a typical four-year-old won’t sit through long explanations or retain a lot of information, so simple visuals and activities can be useful in keeping their attention.
Encourage children to talk openly about their questions and worries. Be sure to set clear guidelines, but try not to lecture or criticize. This can help to build a trusting relationship with children so they feel comfortable talking to you about their personal safety.
Identify trusted adults
Ask children to identify at least two trusted adults they can turn to for help if anything they encounter makes them feel scared, uncomfortable or confused. Encourage them to talk to you about how their trusted adult has helped them in the past and how they may need their help in the future.
Instead of waiting for “the right time” to talk to kids, make the most of everyday moments. A relaxed family meal provides the perfect opportunity to get kids to tune into safety messages, especially when favorite foods are on the menu. Learn more about talking to your kids about child saftey at: take25.org & missingkids.com.