Oct 22 2013

The Top 4 Talking Points For Parents & Kids!

Published by at 7:15 PM under Child Safety

Here are the top 4 talking points to help you get the safety dialog going with your kids.   Try using the “scriped red lines” below if you need a little help.  For more conversation starters check out “Super Duper Safety School” — a children’s book for parents and kids.  Each page has a safety rule AND the child-friendly language to explain it!

The Uh-Oh Feeling

That’s a child friendly way to describe our instinct, when someone or something just doesn’t seem right. Our own protective warning system, telling us to take action. Kids have very strong instincts, and it’s important to allow them to listen to this inner warning bell. How can you explain the Uh-Oh Feeling to them?   Try this:   “That’s the little voice in your head or your heart or your tummy that tells you “Uh-Oh, this doesn’t seem right” or “Uh-Oh, I don’t want to do this”.   It’s a powerful message…teaching kids that they can trust that feeling AND that they can share that feeling with us at anytime.
It’s also important for parents to listen to your own “uh-oh feeling” as well – especially when it relates to someone who interacts with our kids. In parent-speak: The minute you start making excuses for that Uh-Oh feeling, it’s a sure sign that something isn’t right and needs your attention. Don’t ignore it.

Check First

One of my favorite rules for kids because it’s pro-active and clear, and applies to any given situation… with people they know or don’t know!  “Check First” gives kids a very specific action to take. It can slow down a child from impulsively doing something unsafe such as taking something from someone or going off with someone.  AND when they check first, it gives the parent time to assess the situation.   Check First works in just about any scenario, and can prevent a child from being a predator’s target. For example, kids should check first: before helping someone find a lost pet, before going into a neighbor’s home to visit, before taking a ride with someone even if it’s with someone they know. AND… if you can’t check first, then the answer is NO  Check First works with people they “know, don’t know, or know a little bit.”  It works if they are approached by a stranger in the park with an enticing trick or lure, and it works with people they know, like a friendly neighbor inviting them into their home to play a game.   It works with people they “know a little bit”, like the ice cream man inviting them into his truck to pick out a treat.   Find teachable moments to remind your child of the “check first rule”… on your way to the park, a party or event, or even when they’re playing outside. CHECK FIRST is the way you will be able to monitor what someone is asking from your child.

Boss Of My Body

Every child should feel that their body belongs to them, and that they can be the “BOSS of it”. Even very young children understand what being the BOSS means. They know a Boss is in charge and a boss has power. Being the BOSS OF YOUR BODY means that they have the right to say NO to any kind of touch, even if it’s from someone they usually care about. It’s not that touching is bad, but sometimes a child doesn’t want a tickle or a hug from someone. They may have an Uh-Oh Feeling about that person, or they’re just not in the mood! We need to honor that. The unfortunate truth is that 90% of sexual abuse happens to kids by someone they know. It can be a relative, a family friend, or someone else close to the family-circle. When kids are taught that they’re the Boss of Their Body, they are more likely to speak up when a touch doesn’t feel right.

Need a way to start talking about “thumbs up and thumbs down touches?”    Try this:   Everybody has  “bathing suit zones” or “private parts” on their body . Being the BOSS means you can tell ANYONE to leave your private parts alone… even a bigger kid or a grownup!  Being the BOSS means you can tell someone else that you won’t touch THEIR private parts, either!”    Kids love being the BOSS and this one empowers them to be able to use their voice in any yucky, uncomfortable situation. Being the BOSS OF YOUR BODY even works on the playground at school, in case another child is being physically aggressive in some way. The BOSS is in charge of THEIR Body!  (Make sure your child knows that they should tell you anytime someone gives them an UH-OH feeling about private parts.)

Get Smart About Getting Lost

It’s the most frightening thing that a parent experiences… that instant when you look around and don’t see your child. It’s also pretty scary for your child when they suddenly realize you’re not close by. In this scenario, it’s important that a child knows what to do to get help quickly. Teach your child what to do ahead of time.
1) Stay put! Just stand still and call out loudly for your parent. Chances are you’re still nearby and will hear them.
2) They can ask another MOM with KIDS for help. Statistically, this is the least risky “stranger” and you simply want your child to make the safest choice if they are lost and need assistance.
3) They can ask a CASH REGISTER PERSON if one is nearby. This person usually has a microphone and can make an announcement. A child should stay right by the cash register once that announcement is made and wait for you.

Option #2 is the safest, strongest choice. Studies have shown that another MOM with KIDS will be most sympathetic to a lost, frightened child and will stay with that child until the problem is resolved and you’re reunited.
Be sure to remind your child that you’d never go back to the car to wait for them, so they should never go into the parking lot looking for you.
With older children (9 and up), you can pick a designated spot to reunite. “If we get separated, we’ll meet at the merry-go-round or the front cash register.”

BTW, when you are reunited, hug your child and let them know they did the right thing in finding you. Try not to scold them for getting lost. They are probably just as upset as you are.  Just use this as a teachable moment to reinforce the importance of sticking close by when you’re out and about.

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