I had a dream last night that me and my kids were leaving to go somewhere and it was night time. I had already put the baby in his car seat and realized my almost 4 year old was at the far edge of our yard. When I called out to him he thought it was funny to run the other way.
In my dream he ran across the street (we live on a semi-busy neighborhood road) and ran down the sidewalk away from me. I remember trying to decide to either leave the baby in the car, run after Monkey, or wait for my friend who would be out in a minute to watch the baby. I chose the last choice in my dream. Because of this decision, by the time I could run after him he had turned a corner and I couldn't find him.
All I could think was what if somebody picked him up or he went into somebody's house because I didn't teach him early enough about stranger danger.
You can bet that our conversation at breakfast revolved around stranger danger and situations like this.
I chose to talk to him in scenarios. I told him about my dream and talked to him about what to do if somebody ever told him to go with them or offer him candy. I told him that if that if anybody were to tell him to come with them or to get into their car, even if they told him they would take him to mommy and daddy, to run the other way and scream. I also told him the same if somebody offered him candy and told him the only time to take candy from strangers is on halloween with mommy and daddy or if we are with him and say it is ok.
I also explained situations where if he's lost to look for a person in a uniform, like a police officer.
I told him to never go anywhere with anybody unless mommy or daddy told him he could.
I think that he understood our conversation and I didn't make him scared of people in general. It is also important to maintain that conversation and remind him every so often without scaring him.
Children are so innocent and trusting, it is hard to tell them that there are people out there who will lie so they can hurt them.