Christmas is a crazy time of the year. Relatives and friends will be coming and going, things will become hectic, and your kids will be a huge part of this exciting mix. However, two very important things to consider before things get really busy, you’re distracted and the kids are off … somewhere!
1. Prior to the Christmas/holiday rush, discuss with your child how they might like to greet family and friends in a way that makes your child feel comfortable. Remember, it may have been years since they have seen people, or they may have never met some family members before. Now might be a good time to read or reread ‘No Means No!’ and have that conversation not only about greetings but consent and body boundaries. So when good old Uncle Joe rushes through the door with his arms out wide and your little one hesitates, support your child by allowing them to greet in a way they have chosen not Uncle Joe! It may be a high-five, a handshake or that great big hug, but it must be your child’s choice! After all, it is THEIR body and they are the boss of it!
2. In over 85% of child sexual abuse cases, the child knew the offender (NSW Commission for Children and Young people, 2009). Sexual predators are in our homes and communities. Fact. And they will use every opportunity to groom both you and your child. The holiday season allows predators easy access to children. Therefore, make sure you revisit Body Safety skills with your child. And if you haven’t educated them in Body Safety than now is most definitely the time. Educating your child with these skills will lessen the likelihood of them being targeted and consquently being sexually abused. Now is also an ideal time to read or reread "My Body! What I say Goes!" . And by displaying the My Body Safety Rules poster in your house you are basically saying to any potential predators that your child is educated in Body Safety and that means they are educated to to TELL! (BTW this poster is free to download!)
Enjoy this wonderful festive season with your family and friends but keep your radar tuned, and ensure you have safety measures in place for your child — these include safety messages around consent and body autonomy. Our kids are relying on us to provide this information and help keep them safe.
Jayneen Sanders (aka Jay Dale) is a teacher, author, mother of three daughters and an active advocate for sexual abuse prevention education and respectful relationships to be taught both in the home and in schools.
For more information on this topic and Jay’s children's books 'Some Secrets Should Never Be Kept', 'Pearl Fairweather Pirate Captain', ‘No Means No!’, ‘My Body! What I say Goes!’, ‘No Difference Between Us’, and her parents’ guide ‘Body Safety Education — A parents’ guide to protecting kids from sexual abuse’ go to www.e2epublishing.info
All books are also available on Amazon at http://amzn.to/2cC7QNb