You can make your children safe in the world, or you can try to make a world safe for children
Recently , I was discussing something with a friend and this thought crossed my mind that it’s almost 2 years of the pandemic, there must be so many kids who have not seen or been to a school! Perhaps not joined one yet! I am sure you are teaching them something or the other! But Moms how are you explaining good/ bad or safe/ unsafe touch to kids? Have you introduced the concept of ” Stranger” to them?
Sharing few tips without getting into the widely available content that might help young moms
# Term it right– be it body parts or the specific kind of touch! So ideally it is better to call “safe” and “unsafe” touch instead of good bad touch. Because you need to instill the concept of safety here! And always remember , if you don’t give a different name to hands or legs , eyes or nose, then chest/ breast , penis and vagina shouldn’t be given names either! And most importantly if your child calls it the same in public, don’t hush them
# Frequency is important: Kids tend to forget, so repeat such discussion at certain intervals, and use different methods and tools – story, roleplay , puppets and toys, flash cards and activities , case study etc . Let them ask questions, and whatever you communicate keep it very clear and simple , they shouldn’t get confused!
# The concept of “Stranger” is often diluted by the actions of parents– where one tends to confuse a child more. Who according to you is more of a stranger for your child ?The guy who comes daily to deliver milk or the security guard who says hello to your child everyday? Or the grandparents/ uncle aunty who visit after 6/8/ 12 months and we ask our kids to give them a hug as soon as they reach! Don’t be surprised if they refuse to do that!It’s absolutely ok so please don’t force them!
# A constant dialogue is important- they might come up with curious questions, about their body, the changes, menstruation, sex and more.Don’t avoid them. Always be honest with your answers. If they find out you lied they might not come next time.Also don’t get angry when they come up with such queries.
# Introduce the concept of safety circle and through the activity explain who all around your child is allowed to touch what- Self – whole body ,close family (mom & dad )- give bath , kiss , hug, Grandparents- hug , friends- high five, acquaintances – only verbal communication etc.
You may refer to the following image
These discussions are always important- pandemic or no pandemic! Lockdown or no lockdown! Children should know about their body and how to protect themselves. What and who all are safe for them! They should know whom to reach out to when in trouble! Empower your child with knowledge as safety of children is imperative