3 Tips for Talking to Your Child About Body Safety

 

As a caregiver, keeping your child safe is an instinctive and lifelong priority – and something that is continually becoming harder to do with all of todays social media networks, electronic devices, and the extensive number of individuals they likely interact with inside and outside of the classroom. As your child progresses to pre-adolescence, adolescence, and young adulthood, it becomes easier to talk about scary, personal, serious, and all-over uncomfortable things and to provide them with information on what to look out for and do if they happen to find themselves in a bad spot. It’s no longer as necessary to tip-toe around wording and facts. However, younger children are naturally more vulnerable and trusting – leading to the question of “How and Should We Explain Body Safety to Them?” Below are a couple of quick tips.

Utilize pre-made resources:

Luckily, there are plenty of books written just for kids on body safety that take the stress out of preparing what needs to be said. Some of the top-rated childrens books on body safety include:

Some Secrets Should Never Be Kept – Jayneen Sanders

My Body Belongs to Me – Jill Starishevsky

Everyone’s Got a Bottom – Tess Rowley

Matilda Learns a Valuable Lesson – Holly Ann Martin

Jasmine’s Butterflies – Justine O’Malley

Amazing You – Dr. Gail Saltz

The Right Touch – Sandy Kleven

It’s My Body – Lory Freeman Girard

I Said No! – Zack and Kimberly King

Your Body Belongs to You – Cornelia Spelman

Monitor and restrict online activity:

It’s okay to be the “annoying” or “unfair” parent or guardian if it means keeping your child safe. Although you won’t be able to protect them from everything, think about blocking or enabling parental control settings on websites, interactive video games, and cell phone features that could lead to unwelcome connections and dangerous outcomes.

Ask questions:

Just because kids have been educated about body safety and what to do if they believe someone is crossing a boundary doesn’t always mean that they’ll voluntarily open up about it. Fear, shame, guilt, embarrassment, and anxiety are strong emotions that often accompany the subject. Questions such as “Did you feel safe this week?” or “Did anyone make you feel unsafe this week?” are examples of two easy and short check-in methods.

Julia Vulic, MA, CRC, PLPC, CPT

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