The X Factor--an exit strategy for kids...image of an exit sign above stairs out of a subway

The X-Factor—An exit strategy for kids

Recently I posted this reel on Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn about a brilliant personal safety plan—“exit strategy,” if you prefer—for your child to utilize when they’re in a sticky situation and need a way out.

Last time I looked, this 60-second reel had over 2,100 views. I’m super psyched this strategy is getting out into the world! Again. More on that shortly.

If you’ve read my child safety book, The Brave Knight, you know:

I’m super passionate about helping kids create “personal safety plans” for all the scenarios that scare them. 

If ___ happens, then I will ____.

That’s basically how to structure a personal safety plan, or as my child safety collaboration partner, Kimberly King, says: “exit strategy.” If you’d like to read more about personal safety plans, click here.

Here’s how the X-Plan—or the X-Factor, as I like to call it—works:

First your child lays the groundwork:

For this, they’ll need to:

  • Identify 5 “safe adults” willing to help them in an emergency situation.
  • Ask if they can add these adults’ names and numbers to their cell phone contacts.
  • Let these adults know that if they need help, your child will text them the letter “X.”
  • Tell their safe adults if they receive the “X”  text, they should call your child immediately and say: “There’s a family emergency. I need to pick you up now. Where are you?”

The assisting adult will then pick up your child as soon as possible and get them somewhere safe, no questions asked.

NOTE: It’s super important to resist the urge to ask questions. You want your child to always feel safe enough to ask for help.

With that said, it’s quite possible your child will provide the details of the situation at some point.

When might your child need the X-Factor?

Ask your kid if they’ve ever been in a situation where they felt nervous, maybe even unsafe? Their gut tells them what’s happening is wrong or a really bad idea.

Perhaps someone asks them to:

  • Vandalize a building
  • Shoplift
  • Bully another student
  • Share a sexually explicit photo
  • Do a drug
  • Drink and drive
  • Experiment with an activity they saw in a pornographic video

These are just a few examples of situations in which a child you love may want an exit strategy. The X-Factor allows your child to get help from a safe adult without losing social credibility.

Let me be clear. The X-Plan is not my brain baby.

It’s the super savvy escape strategy cooked up by Bert Fulks. You can read his 2017 blog post on the idea here. Fulks and the X-Plan went on to become pretty dang famous, being featured in places like The Today Show and Good Housekeeping magazine. He’s got a book out, too. Find it here.* 

This school year, I plan to tell kids about the X-Factor in my body safety assemblies in West Virginia schools. Going forward, I’ll tell grownups about it too, if they’ll listen. In fact,

To speak about child safety with professionals, parents, and kids,

Kimberly and I were planning a road trip to Pennsylvania to provide a body safety training. Until we got word that due to circumstances beyond our control, the event was called off. That’s the sad news.

The good news is we now have a bunch of book bundles prepared, plus a super helpful parent resource we developed for the training.

Want to know what’s in our book bundles?

Here you go:

  • A copy of my child safety book, The Brave Knight, signed by me!
  • A copy of Kimberly’s child safety book, I Said No (Have I told you lately that I Said No has sold 250,000 copies? It’s currently undergoing an extreme makeover, but I have copies of the most recent iteration of the book.).
  • A red flag and a green flag (featured in I Said No)
  • Lots of dragon stickers, and what the heck! I’ll throw in some colorful sticky dragons too!
  • A QR code so you can access our handy-dandy parent resource sheet.

If you want to see what the book bundle looks like, or better yet, if you want to buy the book bundle, click here to see the item in my BRAND NEW STORE!! Since we have a finite number of book bundles, we suggest you take advantage of this offer while supplies last!


Stay safe out there, friend!

*Affiliate link: Buy this item (within 24 hours of clicking the link) and I get a tiny percentage. Which helps me pay my teammembers!

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