12 tips for parents to help an anxious child

Here are a few ideas that you can use to help your child overcome anxiety. You don’t have to try them in any particular order. Children may respond differently to the different tasks, so be guided by their reactions as to which is most beneficial to them at the time. Please note: this is not an exhaustive list of things you can do — if you are concerned about your child’s level of anxiety, make sure to seek advice from a mental health professional.

Tips for parents, from the children’s book " How Big Are Your Worries, Little Bear? ", a beautifully illustrated story written to help children manage and overcome anxiety, anxious thoughts, stress and fearful situations.

Tips for parents, from the children’s book "How Big Are Your Worries, Little Bear?", a beautifully illustrated story written to help children manage and overcome anxiety, anxious thoughts, stress and fearful situations.

  • Explain what anxiety is to help the child recognise it and understand what is happening.

  • Introduce calming techniques and mindfulness:

    • give a slow breathing task

    • use the five senses grounding task

    • do some yoga stretches

  • Physical reassurance - ask if you can give them a hug or hold their hand.

  • Art therapy - to help express feelings they can’t put into words.

  • Verbal action - tell the worry to “Go away!"

  • Recognise even the smallest efforts and build the child’s confidence to ‘have a go’.

  • Do something fun together to give the child a break from their worries.

  • Try to not ‘fix’ everything - children need to learn how to cope and overcome challenges.

  • Help the child to write or draw a checklist of anxiety-busting strategies.

  • Visualisation - ask them to remember a time when they overcame anxiety previously.

  • Visualisation - ask the child to draw what it will look like when they have overcome their anxiety-inducing situation.

  • Model your own techniques - show or explain what you choose to do when you feel anxious.

These hints are expanded upon in the back of the children’s book "How Big Are Your Worries, Little Bear?", a beautifully illustrated story written to help children manage and overcome anxiety, anxious thoughts, stress and fearful situations.

How Big Are Your Worries Little Bear?

Little Bear is a worrier. He worries about everything! But with Mama Bear’s help, he soon learns his worries are not so big after all. Through this engaging story children will learn that everyday worries and fears can be overcome. Discussion questions and extra hints to help children manage anxiety are included.

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Would you like a copy of this poster?

Download:
pdf for printing
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More resources to help teach Social and Emotional Intelligence:

Social and Emotional Intelligence Bundle

Learning to recognise how another is feeling, showing kindness, and taking the time to really listen develops our ability to connect to one another in compassionate and meaningful ways. Story is the perfect vehicle to help children learn these strategies and how to cope with the many challenges of life they will encounter as they grow into adulthood. The four books in this bundle explore these topics in a way all children will relate to and engage with.

Included:

  • You, Me and Empathy

  • How Big Are Your Worries Little Bear?

  • Resilience

  • Talking About Feelings

Optional Extra: 12 Lesson Plans for Teachers ($10AU), covering the topic of Social and Emotional Intelligence. Total price shown above will update if this option is selected.

Teaching Children Social and Emotional Intelligence — Books and Resources

On this page we have collated all of our resources specifically for teaching children Social and Emotional Intelligence. The resources include books, lesson plans, free posters and activities.

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Why teach Social and Emotional Intelligence? Learning to recognise how another is feeling, showing kindness, and taking the time to really listen, develops our ability to connect to one another in compassionate and meaningful ways. Teaching children strategies on how to cope with challenging situations will help their self-confidence as they grow into adulthood. 

A child who is encouraged to be socially and emotionally intelligent from an early age will grow to be a confident, thoughtful and caring person.


Free resources:

Posters

Activities/Worksheets

Blog articles

Shop: Books & Teaching Resources

You may also like our children’s book Let’s Talk About Body Boundaries, Consent & Respect (from our Body Safety & Consent books) which teaches children about body ownership, respectful relationships, feelings and emotions, choices and recognising bullying behaviours. Best suited for ages 4-10 years.




Customer note: We ship our products worldwide from Melbourne, Australia. Individual books (including some non-English versions) are also available to purchase from Amazon, which may provide more economic shipping cost to US, UK and other Northern Hemisphere locations.


The resources featured on this page are proudly produced by Educate2Empower Publishing.

Educate2Empower Publishing is an international award winning niché children's book publisher who specializes in children's books on Body Safety, Consent, Gender Equality, Respectful Relationships, and Social and Emotional Intelligence

Our books combine beautiful illustrations with key educational concepts capturing the child's imagination as well as teaching them messages crucial to their development and safety.

Empowering children through age-appropriate stories, activities, important lessons and skills, and the encouragement of communication and discussion. The books can also be used to help prevent or overcome bullying, whilst promoting mental health, equality and diversity. Ideal for use and purchase by anyone who cares for children, including parents, school/kindergarten teachers, social workers, psychologists, community health services, family support services, and many more!

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month

April is an important month, globally designated for sexual assault awareness AND for child abuse prevention!

If you haven't yet started educating your children/students in Body Safety,
NOW is the time to start! 

If you have previously educated your children in Body Safety,
you can use this as an opportunity to check in
and see if they have retained the essential information.

 

You can also make a difference for other children and families within your community. Children living within abusive homes are not likely to receive Body Safety Education unless they can access it through their teachers. Speak with the people in charge at your school, kindergarten, childcare centre, or even sporting groups, and ask them what policies they have in place for protecting children. Let them know about our resources which make teaching Body Safety easy, fun, and most importantly age-appropriate for young children.



A Global Issue

In an effort to empower as many children as we can, we are translating our My Body Safety Rules poster into different languages and making all of them available for free download from our website.

At this time we have English UK, English US, and 16 other languages available! If you have family, friends or students who could use these, please spread the word.

Our My Body Safety Rules poster is currently available in English UK/US, Afrikaans, Arabic, Bulgarian, Danish, French, German, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Malaysian, Mongolian, Romanian, Spanish, Swedish, Vietnamese, and Xhosa.

If you are able to provide a translation for another language, we would love to hear from you! Please visit our page for guidelines and template.
 

Book Translations and International Distribution

At Education2Empower Publishing, our books are initially written and published in English, and made available for purchase via our website shop and also on Amazon sites. Our content is globally relevant, and so we are endeavouring to have our book content translated and available in countries around the world.

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We currently have a number of titles translated and available on Amazon:

  • "Some Secrets Should Never Be Kept" is available in Spanish, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, German, and French translations.

  • Spanish editions of "No Means No!", "You, Me and Empathy", and "No Difference Between Us" are also available.

 

Some books have also been translated to local languages and/or are available in:

World Vision India has produced and is distributing these Indian translations of My Body! What I Say Goes!

World Vision India has produced and is distributing these Indian translations of My Body! What I Say Goes!

If you would like the opportunity to translate and distribute our books in your area, please contact us.

 


A few things that YOU can do to help prevent child abuse.

Parents: If you’re reading this, you quite likely already have some (if not all) of our books and resources. This is fantastic! Your children are already being empowered with prevention education. But there is more you can do:

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  • Make sure to read and discuss your books/resources with your children more than once. Especially the My Body Safety Rules skillset (available as free downloadable posteranimation or explained in-depth within the My Body! What I Say Goes! children's book). Numerous readings and discussions will help to reinforce the skillset, so that children quickly remember what they can do in a situation where they feel unsafe.
     

  • Display the My Body Safety Rules poster in common areas (ie. on the fridge) - this can serve as both a reminder for your children, and also a deterrent for any unsuspected predator that may come into your home.
     

  • Ask your school if they are teaching Body Safety Education. If they aren't, print off a copy of our Catalogue and give it to them. There is no reason why they can't provide this education, and every reason why they should! Children who have abusers in their homes should not be left to fall through the cracks. It will also help the school decision makers to know that they have many parents in their community who are in support of prevention education being taught at school.
     

  • Spread the word! Talk to other parents about this - friends, family and other community groups. Forward this email to them. Give them our website address. Share our social pages. Check in at your local library to see if they have our books on the shelves, and if they don't, make a request for them to get them in.







Educators: 

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If you are a decision maker at your workplace, please ensure that your teachers are including Body Safety Education in their schedule. With simple professional development, teachers can teach Body Safety; two, 30-minute lessons over five weeks is all it takes to impart this crucial knowledge to children. Or you may be able to secure the services of a specialist educator in the Body Safety/ Protective Behaviours area, who can travel out to your school and run the classes for you.
If you are not a decision maker at your school or workplace, and you know that Body Safety Education is not yet part of the curriculum - PLEASE make an official request for it to be introduced. If you don't do it - who will? 

Our latest resources, specifically for teachers, are Lesson Plans that are integrated with the content of our books. With fun and engaging class-based activities to help reinforce the messages from the books.

Our Teacher's Resource Kit is a comprehensive collection that includes not just our books, but also a range of teaching materials, professional development PowerPoint presentation for teachers and information that you can use to inform parents about the education. This Kit covers all bases and makes it easy for schools to implement Body Safety and Respectful Relationships Education.

Lesson Plans for Teachers, Childcare Workers and Educators

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Lesson Plans for Body Safety & Consent.
Written by Jayneen Sanders and Yale Merceica, these 18 fully developed lesson plans incorporate questions and activities based on the messages in our books, to help you convey important and empowering life skills to your students.

The content is age-appropriate and suitable for Preschool and Primary/Elementary School classes.

Available as an optional extra with purchase of our Body Safety & Consent Bundle, or just the Lesson Plans if you already have the books!


Does your local school or childcare centre have our Body Safety and Consent books in their library?


We'd like you to ask this question of your local school, kindergarten or childcare centre TODAY! If their answer is no, then they need to seriously consider these resources. Our books, teaching kits and lesson plans now make it easier than ever to educate children in Body Safety, and help prevent child sexual abuse.

If you already have these books, please write to us and let us know how you and your children (or students) have reacted to the stories and messages within. Which elements were most helpful to you?

You can find all of our books and teaching kits for sale in the online shop on our website www.e2epublishing.info/shop (shipping to AUS/NZ) or if you are located in the Northern hemisphere, you can find all of our books individually on Amazon US or Amazon UK.

A Body Safety Message for the Holiday Season

Holiday season is upon us, and our kids are about to spend A LOT of time around people — family, extended family, friends, friends of friends, acquaintances and total strangers. They will be in amongst groups of people at family gatherings, Christmas parties, carol nights, NYE celebrations, camping grounds, parks, swimming pool or beach (or ski resorts if you’re in the Northern Hemisphere) , shopping centres, cinemas, etc.

We cannot stress enough how important it is for your children to be educated in Body Safety, especially at this time of year!

Give your kids:

  • the gift of confidence, in knowing what they can do if they feel worried, unsafe, unsure, intimidated,

  • the gift of being able to recognise what is inappropriate behaviour,

  • the gift of understanding what consent means and what rights they have, especially in relation to their own body.

Give yourself the gift of peace of mind, knowing you have done everything you can to help keep your children safe and happy.


Teaching the key messages of Body Safety is easy. 

They are positive messages that are age-appropriate for children. You can start with our free resources: 

My Body Safety Rules poster — available in 14 languages! See ALL posters…

We recommend that you put the poster up in your children’s bedroom/playroom so that they have easy access and a reminder of the rules whenever they need them. The fridge is a great place to put it too, so any visitors in your house know that your children are educated in Body Safety. The double benefit of this is, 1. deterring potential predators, and 2. educating other families or children who don’t know about Body Safety.


You can also gift the knowledge of Body Safety to your local community - take a printed poster to your local swimming pool, sporting club, hospital or shopping centre and ask if they can pin it up in a prominent place, on their noticeboard, or outside public toilets.



If you want to know more about WHY and HOW to teach your children Body Safety, please read this comprehensive article: Protect Your Child From Sexual Abuse


Our collection of children’s books also provide many important messages and skills, with engaging dialogue and beautiful colour illustrations to help you empower your children in a fun and positive way.


This is why we need to stop using gender stereotypes and promote gender equality in our homes and schools

'The causes of family violence are complex and include gender inequality and community attitudes towards women...There is no doubt that violence against women and children is deeply rooted in power imbalances that are reinforced by gender norms and stereotypes.'
(p2, State of Victoria, Royal Commission into Family Violence: Summary and recommendations, Parl Paper No 132 (2014–16).


'Stereotypes about men and women are reinforced through practices such as social tolerance of discrimination and the idea that violence against women is sometimes justified by women’s behaviour—for example, if a woman has sex with another man. Gender inequality is itself influenced by other forms of inequality such as race, disability, socio-economic status, geography and the impacts of colonisation. For this reason prevention efforts need to focus on these population-level risks, or root causes, in order to address the conditions in which violence against women can thrive.’
(p17, State of Victoria, Royal Commission into Family Violence: Report and recommendations Vol I, Parl Paper No 132 (2014–16).


As parents and teachers, we hold the keys to reducing gender inequality and consequently reducing family violence. For many of us, gender stereotyping is ingrained in the way we were brought up as children, and the way we act as adults. We do need to stop and think about the subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) ways in which we promote gender stereotypes and actively work to change this.

To help with this, please use our posters (free to download, print and display):
- Tips on promoting Gender Equality in the Classroom
- We All Have A Job To Do (with included teaching notes PDF download)

You may also find our children’s books on Gender Equality useful:

Children’s book author Jayneen Sanders interviewed on The Sue Atkins Parenting Show – Body Safety and other ways to Empower Children

Children’s book author Jayneen Sanders interviewed on The Sue Atkins Parenting Show – Body Safety and other ways to Empower Children

We were thrilled when Sue Atkins (internationally recognised TV and Radio Parenting Expert) contacted us to set up an interview with Educate2Empower author and founder, Jayneen Sanders…

Read More

Body Safety Hints for Tweens and Teenagers

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You are growing up and your body is changing, but keeping yourself safe from harm is still the same as when you were younger. Remember YOUR body is YOUR body and no one has the right to touch it if you don’t want them to.

1. Don't allow a person to touch any part of your body or come inside your body boundary if it makes you feel uncomfortable. Speak your mind and tell them to STOP. Make a scene if necessary. Or tell a trusted adult if they won’t listen to you. No one has the right to touch you anywhere or come very close to you if YOU don’t want them to.

2. No one should ask to see your private parts, show you their private parts, ask you to touch their private parts or show you pictures of private parts. If they do, you need to get away quickly and tell a trusted adult straightaway. Asking you to do these things is NOT okay.

3. Giving your ‘consent’ means you have happily said ‘Yes’ to doing something, for example, you may say ‘Yes’ to holding hands or kissing. If some one tries to convince you and/or puts pressure on you to do a sexual act that you DO NOT want to do, this is NOT okay. Even if you feel like you can’t say ‘No’ to that person or you say ‘Maybe’ or ‘I’m not sure’ this does NOT mean ‘Yes’. What that person is doing is called ‘coercion’ and you need to tell a trusted adult straightaway. Remember you DO NOT have to do anything you don’t want to do. Your body is YOUR body!

4. If someone asks you to send them naked pictures of yourself, you do not have to do this. When you are under 18 it is actually against the law to send naked pictures to another person.

5. Do not disclose any personal information online or offline. This includes your address, school, phone number, etc. Make sure if you go out that a trusted adult knows where you are going.

6. When you are dating, both you and your partner need to be respectful of each other. Be wary of anyone who tries to control:

• what you do (they may read your texts or stalk you on social media or in life)

• what you say and/or

• where you go.

Violence (or the threat of violence) of any sort including intimidation, yelling and striking is NEVER okay. This is not respectful and this is NOT love.

7. When you are dating you ALWAYS have the right to change you mind. This may mean that you don’t want to date that person anymore. This may also include changing your mind and stopping a sexual activity that you may have agreed to in the past. Remember you have the right to change your mind at any time and this needs to be respected. When you say ‘No’ or ‘Stop’ the other person MUST stop.

8. Always trust your instincts. If you feel unsafe or a person makes you feel unsafe, act straightaway. Leave the situation and go to someone you trust and who makes you feel safe.

9. Remember you are NEVER EVER to blame if someone is disrespectful, violent, doesn’t listen to your wishes and/or tries to coerce you into something you don't want to do. All blame lies with that person. Never worry about making a scene. Be loud if you need to be to stop their actions. Never feel shameful or guilty because of another person's actions.

10. It is okay to go on dates and to flirt and to have fun. This does NOT mean you have agreed to any sexual contact. Remember when you say ‘No’ or you don’t say anything at all, this DOES NOT mean ‘Yes’. And even if you do say ‘Yes’ you can withdraw that consent at any time and change your mind. The person who is with you must respect your change of mind and stop.

It is important that you have a loud and strong voice. Remember it is your body and what you say goes!

Comment

Jay Sanders

Jayneen (Jay) Sanders is an experienced primary school teacher and a successful children's book author. She is also the mother of three teenage girls and has been a primary school councillor for over seven years. Her time spent in primary schools inspired her to ask: ‘What are we doing in schools to protect our children from sexual interference?’ When she realised very little was actually being done, she decided to write a book to help parents, carers and teachers to broach the subject of self-protection and to encourage children to speak up.

How to talk about body safety and consent with your child

How to talk about body safety and consent with your child

E2E Author, Jayneen Sanders, interviewed by Shevonne Hunt on Kinderling Kids Radio Conversation Hour (29th March 2018). Audio length 14mins. The mum, teacher, and author opens up about how she came to write her books, and simple ways we can talk to children about often very complex and uncomfortable topics.

Read More

10 Best Children’s Books to Help Kids with Anxiety

Here are ten fantastic books to help children understand, manage and overcome anxiety, worry and stress — providing through story, lessons and coping strategies that will stay with them as they grow up, facing the challenges that life throws at us.

1. How Big Are Your Worries Little Bear?
by Jayneen Sanders

Little Bear is a worrier. He worries about everything! But with Mama Bear’s help, he soon learns his worries are not so big after all.
Through this engaging and beautifully illustrated story, children will learn that everyday worries and fears can be overcome. It just takes a willingness to share with a helpful listener, and an understanding that making mistakes is how we learn.
Also included are helpful Discussion Questions for parents, caregivers and educators, and extra hints to help children manage anxiety.
Available in Australia from www.e2epublishing.info
and on Amazon for US [http://amzn.to/2iniWZ9] and UK [http://amzn.to/2AWRgFg] customers

 

2. Hey Warrior!
by Karen Young

A fantastic book to help children understand what actually happens in their brain when they experience anxiety. Kids can do amazing things with the right information. Understanding why anxiety feels the way it does, and where the physical symptoms come from, is a powerful step in turning anxiety around. This book is an amazing resource for kids 5 years and above who feel anxious and overwhelmed by those feelings.
Available at http://www.heysigmund.com/product/hey-warrior/

 

3. The Huge Bag of Worries
by Virginia Ironside

Wherever Jenny goes, her worries follow her — in a big blue bag. They are there when she goes swimming, when she is watching TV, and even when she is in the lavatory. Jenny decides they will have to go. But who can help her? A great book to use with anxious children as it helps sort worries through and make them seem more manageable. It emphasizes that we all have worries and what to do about them.
Available on Amazon for US [http://amzn.to/2iWiqVY] and UK [http://amzn.to/2jhUVDM] customers

 

4. When My Worries Get too Big
by Kari Dunn Buron

More than any other issue, 'losing control' can cause major problems for children. Through the irresistible character of Nicholas, this book gives young children an opportunity to explore with parents or teachers their own feelings as they react to events in their daily lives while learning some useful relaxation techniques. Children who use the simple strategies presented in this charming book, illustrated by the author, will find themselves relaxed and ready to work or play.
Available on Amazon for US [http://amzn.to/2iWkhtU] and UK [http://amzn.to/2iUw7Vm] customers

 

5. What to Do When You Worry Too Much
by Dawn Huebner

"What to Do When You Worry Too Much" is an interactive self-help book designed to guide 6-12 year olds and their parents through the cognitive-behavioral techniques most often used in the treatment of generalized anxiety. Engaging, encouraging, and easy to follow, this book educates, motivates, and empowers children to work towards change. It includes a note to parents.
Available on Amazon for US [http://amzn.to/2kmUY4x] and UK [http://amzn.to/2iYJynm] customers

 

6. It's Okay to Make Mistakes
by Todd Parr

This book, suitable for younger children, embraces life's happy accidents, the mistakes and mess-ups that can lead to self-discovery. Todd Parr brings a timely theme to life with his signature bold, kid-friendly illustrations and a passion for making readers feel good about themselves, encouraging them to try new things, experiment, and dare to explore new paths.
Available on Amazon for US [http://amzn.to/2AtlK14] and UK [http://amzn.to/2ipKRrv] customers

 


7. Wilma Jean the Worry Machine
by Julia Cook

Everyone feels fear, worry and apprehension from time to time, but when these feelings prevent a person from doing what he/she wants and/or needs to do, anxiety becomes a disability. This fun and humorous book addresses the problem of anxiety in a way that relates to children of all ages. It offers creative strategies for parents and teachers to use that can lessen the severity of anxiety. The goal of the book is to give children the tools needed to feel more in control of their anxiety.
Available on Amazon for US [http://amzn.to/2ji0diC] and UK [http://amzn.to/2imynkq] customers

 

8. David and the Worry Beast
by Anne Marie Guanci

David could not stop thinking about the basket he had missed at the end of the big game. He was worried that he might do it again. He was worried that his team mates would be angry with him. He was worried that his parents would not be proud of him. He was also worried about an upcoming math test. In fact, David was worried a lot. " Luckily, David finally confided in his parents and school nurse, both of whom gave him support and techniques for controlling the "worry beast" within him.
Available on Amazon for US [http://amzn.to/2zRYbfc] and UK [http://amzn.to/2imyqN8] customers

 

9. When Worry Takes Hold
by Liz Haske

One night just before the lights went out, Worry snuck into Maya's mind. Worry grew bigger and bigger until there was no space left for anything else; just darkness and fear. Maya finally finds Courage, through the form of a calming breath, and learns how to break free from Worry's hold.
Available on Amazon for US [http://amzn.to/2inzAI9] and UK [http://amzn.to/2iXpvFR] customers

 

10.  100th Day Worries
by Margery Cuyler

When Jessica's teacher tells everyone in class to find 100 things to bring to school for their 100th day, Jessica starts to worry. She wants to bring something really good but what? 100 marshmallows? No, too sticky. 100 yo-yos? Nah, that's silly. When Jessica reaches the 99th day, she really starts to worry. She still doesn't know what to bring! This book explores general anxiety through the familiar scenario of school by providing the reader with helpful strategies to mange everyday worries.
Available on Amazon for US [http://amzn.to/2BLOjF9] and UK [http://amzn.to/2iXq02H] customers

 

For more great books and resources to empower children, see the complete range at http://www.e2epublishing.info/books

1 Comment

Jay Sanders

Jayneen (Jay) Sanders is an experienced primary school teacher and a successful children's book author. She is also the mother of three teenage girls and has been a primary school councillor for over seven years. Her time spent in primary schools inspired her to ask: ‘What are we doing in schools to protect our children from sexual interference?’ When she realised very little was actually being done, she decided to write a book to help parents, carers and teachers to broach the subject of self-protection and to encourage children to speak up.

#NoMore #MeToo for the Next Generation

I say #NoMore #MeToo for the next generation. We can stop this! As active and engaged parents, caregivers, educators and health professionals we can help stop sexual assault, so our kids will grow into adulthood free from sexploitation, misogyny, gender inequality and sexual assault. How do we do this? We EDUCATE our kids — the next generation — from the day they are born.

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Kids need to know:

1. that they have rights, a voice and body autonomy

2. that they have choices

3. what consent means in regards to giving it, asking for it and withdrawing consent at anytime

4. that ‘No Means No!’ It does not mean ‘maybe’ or ‘I’m not sure’

5. that all genders are equal

6. that gender stereotypes are out-dated and must be challenged

7. that respect for each other and our diversity is crucial for a cohesive world

8. that empathy, kindness and compassion need to be nurtured

9. that as humans we are more the same than we are different

10. that we need to stand up for others when they are unable to do so; we need to be that person that says, ‘Hey! That’s not right!’

Start educating kids from an early age. Provide age-appropriate and empowering books and resources that teach these values. Model what it means to be a true, caring, global citizen. We can do this. We need to do this. We must say #NoMore #MeToo for the next generation and ALL generations to follow.

Jayneen Sanders is a teacher, author, mother of three and writes children’s books on Body Safety, Gender Equality, Consent, Respect and Social and Emotional Intelligence

 

Making Our Kids Feel Guilty About Saying ‘No’ Is Never Okay

Here’s the thing… it is okay for our kids to say, ‘No’ to hugs and kisses. After all, a child’s body is their body and they are the boss of it.

So When Auntie Jeanie or Grandpa Bob comes in for that big smoochy kiss or that crushing bear hug, it is absolutely fine for your child to say, ‘No’.

In fact, both Auntie Jeanie and Grandpa Bob need to be educated in this space. They need to know that asking your child’s permission for a kiss or hug is a necessary requirement. It is not okay for the ‘said relatives’ to assume that they can just come on in to your child’s body space and take whatever affection they want. Consent is the key here! Adults, teenagers and other children need to ask for that hug or kiss, and if consent is not given, then ‘No’ does mean ‘No’, and this ‘No’ needs to be respected and adhered to.

Which brings me to another point, guilt. It is never okay to make a child feel guilty if they decide not to give their consent to various forms of affection. None of the old, ‘Poor Grandpa. He looks so sad.’ Or, ‘Just give Auntie Jeanie a little kiss. She has come all this way to see you.’ This kind of rhetoric is not okay. Not sharing your body does not warrant a guilt response. Girls, in particular, grow up feeling a sense of guilt about many things — guilty about being assertive (often termed ‘bossy’), guilty about being too loud, guilty about eating ice-cream, guilty about saying ‘No’ to that ‘nice boy’. Guilty about so many things! (BTW: please feel free to add incidences where you were made to feel guilty growing up, and even now as adult.)

When a child says, ‘No’ to a hug or a kiss from any person, let’s be clear about this, it is their right. They should never be made to feel guilty. This kind of ‘guilting’ has consequences as your child grows into a teenager and an adult. It can undermine their confidence and make them feel that when things go wrong it is their fault. As parents we want our children to feel empowered. We want them to be proud of who they are and that their decisions are respected. Saying ‘No’ is okay, and respecting that ‘No’ is crucial.

Jayneen Sanders is the author of the children’s book ‘No Means No’, and books for children on body safety, consent, gender equality, respectful relationships and emotional intelligence. For more information go to: www.e2epublishing.info All Jayneen's books are available on Amazon.

Comment

Jay Sanders

Jayneen (Jay) Sanders is an experienced primary school teacher and a successful children's book author. She is also the mother of three teenage girls and has been a primary school councillor for over seven years. Her time spent in primary schools inspired her to ask: ‘What are we doing in schools to protect our children from sexual interference?’ When she realised very little was actually being done, she decided to write a book to help parents, carers and teachers to broach the subject of self-protection and to encourage children to speak up.

Don’t Tell Me I’m Pretty, Tell Me I’m Smart

‘Don’t tell me I’m pretty, tell me I’m smart … and funny, artistic, kind, loving, friendly, unique, strong, fierce and clever. I am so much more than pretty.’

When relatives or family friends are introduced to a young girl, they will often open the conversation with something like this ...  ‘Hello! You look pretty today. Your dress is beautiful.’

Don’t worry, we are all guilty of it; but by focusing only on a young girl’s physical appearance, what we are actually saying is this is what society values most about you.

It is important for us to shift our focus away from physical appearances towards the numerous qualities any young girl possesses. She needs to know and we all need to know she is so much more! So for all those relatives and friends out there who feel a little awkward and don’t actually know what to say to a young girl child, here are a few example conversations.

‘Hello! It’s so nice to meet you. What have you been doing today? Playing with Lego? That sounds like fun. You must be very good at building, can you show me?’

‘What games do you like? Which is your favorite? Why is this your favorite game?’

‘What books do you like to read? Why do you like those books? Can you read a book to me. Wow! You are such a great reader.’

‘You are so strong. Let’s try one more arm wrestle.’

‘I love your drawing. You are very talented. Can you tell me about your drawing?’

‘You make me laugh with your funny faces. You really are very funny! Let’s try another one!’

‘Do you want to play football with me? Great catch! You are very good at sports, aren’t you? What other sports do you like to play?’

‘What’s your favorite subject a school? Math! Great! Let’s do some adding up together. Wow! That was quick. You really are very clever.’

‘Who is your friend at kindergarten? What do you play? You must be such a good friend. You sound like you are very kind to each other.’

‘Can you show me some of your books? Look! A book on dinosaurs. I love dinosaurs too. Can you tell me everything you know about dinosaurs? You are really very smart! You know so much about dinosaurs!’

And on it goes! Of course, it is still absolutely fine to say to a young girl you look beautiful but remember it is only ONE aspect of her total self. A girl, and for that matter a woman, is so much more than just pretty.

Jayneen Sanders

All Jayneen’s books are published by Educate2Empower Publishing an award-winning niché children's book publisher who specializes in children's books on BODY SAFETY, CONSENT, GENDER EQUALITY and RESPECTFUL RELATIONSHIPS. Educate2Empower Publishing also provides free resources for parents, caregivers and educators on these important topics. For more information go to: www.e2epublishing.info  All Jayneen's books are available on Amazon.

Comment

Jay Sanders

Jayneen (Jay) Sanders is an experienced primary school teacher and a successful children's book author. She is also the mother of three teenage girls and has been a primary school councillor for over seven years. Her time spent in primary schools inspired her to ask: ‘What are we doing in schools to protect our children from sexual interference?’ When she realised very little was actually being done, she decided to write a book to help parents, carers and teachers to broach the subject of self-protection and to encourage children to speak up.

Children's Books with a Difference

As a teacher, writer and mother I am devoted to the education of children. However, it is not their academic achievement that I am so focused upon. What is important to me, is that children:

• develop emotional and social intelligence

• are educated in age-appropriate Body Safety

• understand the terms ‘respect’ and ‘consent’

• know gender equality is non-negotiable.

These are the reasons why I write the children's books I do! Children are visual learners and what better way for them to talk about these important topics than through story.

I write both fiction and non-fiction texts, and my books are a hybrid of traditional children’s books with an educational thread. I always provide discussion questions for the adult reader to assist them in drawing out the child’s learning. Of course, some adults know exactly how to extend the conversation and embed the important message, but many are grateful for the scaffolding. A number of my books have child-centered questions on the page so the child can express how they interpreted the text and the illustrations, and the emotions they or the character may have felt. That way the child feels invested in the story and can share things that are also important to them. 

I am concerned that children are becoming less engaged with the people around them and more engaged with the technology that is so easily accessible. Empathy is about engaging with others. The research tells us empathy is a learned trait, and hence why I wrote my latest children’s book ‘You, Me and Empathy’. Teaching children to see the world from another person’s point of view is crucial to a kind, compassionate and empathetic society, and therefore, I believe teaching empathy from an early age is critical.

I am passionate about empowering children, and I am adamant there is a way to broach these challenging topics with children through well-crafted and engaging stories.

Jayneen Sanders

All Jayneen’s books are published by Educate2Empower Publishing an award-winning niché children's book publisher who specializes in children's books on BODY SAFETY, CONSENT, GENDER EQUALITY and RESPECTFUL RELATIONSHIPS. Educate2Empower Publishing also provides free resources for parents, carergivers and educators on these important topics. For more information go to: www.e2epublishing.info  All Jayneen's books are available on Amazon.

Comment

Jay Sanders

Jayneen (Jay) Sanders is an experienced primary school teacher and a successful children's book author. She is also the mother of three teenage girls and has been a primary school councillor for over seven years. Her time spent in primary schools inspired her to ask: ‘What are we doing in schools to protect our children from sexual interference?’ When she realised very little was actually being done, she decided to write a book to help parents, carers and teachers to broach the subject of self-protection and to encourage children to speak up.

12 Confronting Child Sexual Abuse Statistics All Parents Need to Know

As a parent and an educator I find the statistics below both confronting and horrifying. However, they do highlight the reasons WHY we need to teach the children in our care Body Safety from the earliest of years. Such age-appropriate knowledge is empowering for children, and might well be the difference between a child becoming one of these statistics or not.

As an advocate for Body Safety Education in both homes and schools, I have heard many sad and crippling stories from adult survivors; but it’s this one shared comment that stays with me, “If only I had known from the first inappropriate touch it was wrong, my life could have been so different.”

I am not a survivor of childhood sexual abuse but I am a mother and teacher who believes we can do better by our kids. We need to put our adult fear of this topic aside, and take on the responsibility of educating our children so they know to tell, and keep on telling until they are believed. We also have a responsibility to educate ourselves so we know the signs of sexual abuse and grooming. Believing a child when they disclose sexual abuse is of the utmost importance, as is our reaction to the disclosure.

These statistics are a call to action for parents, carers and teachers everywhere — let’s educate ourselves and our kids in Body Safety, and like any good “ripple effect,” let’s educate others to do the same! I am asking you to play your part. Ironically, you may never know but your advocacy could positively change a child’s life forever.

1. Approximately 20 percent of girls (1 in 5) and 8 percent of boys (1 in 12.5) will be sexually abused before their 18th birthday (Pereda et al, 2009)

2. 95 percent of sexually abused children will be abused by someone they know and trust (NAPCAN 2009).

3. Of those molesting a child under six, 50 percent were family members. Family members also accounted for 23 percent of those abusing children 12 to 17 years (Snyder, 2000).

4. The most vulnerable age for children to be exposed to sexual assault is between 3 and 8 years with the majority of onset happening between these ages (Browne & Lynch, 1994).

5. Males made up 90 percent of adult child sexual assault perpetrators, while 3.9 percent of perpetrators were female, with a further 6 percent classified as ’unknown gender’ (McCloskey & Raphael, 2005).

6. As many of 40 percent of children who are sexually abused are abused by older, or more powerful children. (Finkelhor, 2012) Note: with the easy access to pornography we are seeing more and more cases of child on child sexual abuse, and older children/siblings sexually abusing younger children. Twenty-three percent of all 10 to 17 year olds experience exposure to unwanted pornography (Jones L., et al 2012).

7. Eighty-four percent of sexual victimization of children under 12 occurs in a residence (Snyder, 2000).

8. In 98 percent of child abuse cases reported to officials, children’s statements were found to be true (NSW Child Protection Council, cited in Dympna House 1998).

9. 1 in 3 adults would not believe a child if they disclosed sexual abuse (Australian Childhood Foundation, 2010).

10. Seventy-three percent of child victims do not tell anyone about the abuse for at least 1 year. Forty-five percent do not tell anyone for 5 years. Some never disclose (Broman-Fulks et al, 2007).

11. Survivors of childhood sexual abuse are 10 to 13 times more likely to attempt suicide. (Plunkett A, O’Toole B, Swanston H, Oates RK, Shrimpton S, Parkinson P 2001).

12. Children living without either parent (foster children) are 10 times more likely to be sexually abused than children who live with both biological parents. Children who live with a single parent that has a live-in partner are at the highest risk: they are 20 times more likely to be victims of sexual abuse than children living with both biological parents (Sedlack et al, 2010).

In my experience, children do not lie about sexual abuse and the research would indicate this. Please educate your child in Body Safety. I truly hope they may never need this knowledge but think of it as a safety belt — just in case.

We also know that children who are being sexually abused may first disclose to a friend. If that friend has been educated in Body Safety they will know to tell a trusted adult on their Safety Network. Educating children in Body Safety is in the best interests of all children.

If these statistics have raised any issues please, go to this links page. For more statistics and general information on child sexual abuse please visit Darkness to Light. To help get sexual abuse prevention education in all schools in the US please support Erin’s Law.

Free My Body Safety Rules poster to download for the children in your life.

Jayneen is the author of children’s books and a parent’s guide on Body Safety.

References

Australian Childhood Foundation (2010). Doing Nothing Hurts Children. Ringwood [Vic]: Australian Childhood Foundation.

Broman-Fulks, J. J., Ruggiero, K. J., Hanson, R. F., Smith, D. W., Resnick, H. S., Kilpatrick, D. G., & Saunders, B. E. (2007). Sexual assault disclosure in relation to adolescent mental health: Results from the National Survey of Adolescents. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 36: 260 – 266

Browne, K. & Lynch, M. (1994). Prevention: Actions speak louder than words. Child Abuse Review, 3: 241-244.

Fergusson, D. M., & Mullen, P. E. (1999). Childhood sexual abuse: An evidence based perspective. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications, Inc.

Finkelhor D. (2012) Characteristics of crimes against juveniles, Durham, NH: Crimes Against Children research Centre

Jones L., Mitchell K., Finkelhor D. (2012) Trends in youth victimization: findings from three youth internet safety surveys 2000-2010, Journal of Adolescent Health 50: 179-186

McCloskey KA, Raphael DN. Adult perpetrator gender asymmetries in child sexual assault victim selection: results from the 2000 National Incident-Based Report System. J Child Sex Abus. 2005;14(4):1-24.

New South Wales Child Protection Council, (1998). Managing Sex Offenders

Pereda, Guilera, Forns and Gomez-Benito (2009) The prevalence of child sexual abuse in community and student samples: a meta-analysis

Plunkett A, O’Toole B, Swanston H, Oates RK, Shrimpton S, Parkinson P. Suicide risk following child sexual abuse (2001)

Sedlak, A.J., Mettenburg, J., Basena, M., Petta, I., McPherson, K., Greene, A., and Li, S. (2010). Fourth National Incidence Study of Child Abuse and Neglect (NIS–4): Report to Congress, Executive Summary. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families.

Snyder, H. N. (2000). Sexual assault of young children as reported to law enforcement: Victim, incident, and offender characteristics. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Program, Bureau of Justice Statistics.

Note: Every attempt has been made to locate all references and their links. Due to the nature of this research statistics will vary according to the individual and/or team’s research data.

First published in The Huffingtonpost.

 

2 Comments

Jay Sanders

Jayneen (Jay) Sanders is an experienced primary school teacher and a successful children's book author. She is also the mother of three teenage girls and has been a primary school councillor for over seven years. Her time spent in primary schools inspired her to ask: ‘What are we doing in schools to protect our children from sexual interference?’ When she realised very little was actually being done, she decided to write a book to help parents, carers and teachers to broach the subject of self-protection and to encourage children to speak up.

What is Body Safety Education?

Body Safety Education (aka sexual abuse prevention education) aims to empower children with skills and knowledge that will lessen the likelihood of them becoming victims of childhood sexual abuse.

In summary, Body Safety Education teaches children:

  • the correct names for their private body parts

  • the difference between safe and unsafe touch

  • not to keep secrets that make them feel bad/uncomfortable

  • what to do if they are touched inappropriately

  • general assertiveness — especially in relation to their own body.

For a more in-depth coverage of Body Safety Education go to Jayneen's book 'Body Safety Education: a parents' guide to protecting kids from sexual abuse'

This book is also on Amazon at http://amzn.to/2cC7QNb

 
Comment

Jay Sanders

Jayneen (Jay) Sanders is an experienced primary school teacher and a successful children's book author. She is also the mother of three teenage girls and has been a primary school councillor for over seven years. Her time spent in primary schools inspired her to ask: ‘What are we doing in schools to protect our children from sexual interference?’ When she realised very little was actually being done, she decided to write a book to help parents, carers and teachers to broach the subject of self-protection and to encourage children to speak up.

Giving Kids a Voice at Christmas Time

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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

 

Why You MUST Teach Kids Sexual Abuse Prevention Education

1. 20% of girls and 8% of boys will experience childhood sexual abuse before their 18th birthday (Fergusson & Mullen, 1999; NSW Commission for Children & Young People, 2009).

2. Approximately 95% of sex abusers are known to the child (NAPCAN 2009). They will be amongst your family, friends and the community. Remember sexual predators groom both YOU and YOUR CHILD.

3. The most vulnerable age for children to be exposed to sexual abuse is between 3 and 8 years with the majority of onset happening between these ages (Browne & Lynch, 1994). It is NEVER too early to start teaching Body Safety (aka sexual abuse prevention education) to children.

4. Up to 95% of child sexual abusers are male (Bagley, 1995). They can be single, married and have families of their own. Women do abuse but the majority of sexual predators are male.

5. In 98% of child abuse cases reported to officials, children’s statements were found to be true (NSW Child Protection Council, cited in Dympna House 1998). Children DO NOT lie about being sexually abused.

6. Children who live with a single parent that has a live-in partner are at the highest risk of sexual abuse: they are 20 times more likely to be victims of sexual abuse than children living with both biological parents (Sedlack et al, 2010). Be very careful who you bring into your home and your life.

7. Research tells us that your child is more likely to be sexually abused than suffer from asthma (Australian Institute of Health & Welfare, Bureau of Criminology and CASA House). Think about that!

My final point:  Don’t let your adult fear of this topic put children at risk. Body Safety Education is age-appropriate, empowering and key to keeping children safe from the life-long trauma that is childhood sexual abuse. Talk about this topic openly with family and friends, and educate your children and encourage others to do the same. As adults we have a duty of care to protect the children in our communities; so let’s work together to remove the shadows in which predators hide because this is exactly what they don’t want us to do!  

 

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

 

 

Comment

Jay Sanders

Jayneen (Jay) Sanders is an experienced primary school teacher and a successful children's book author. She is also the mother of three teenage girls and has been a primary school councillor for over seven years. Her time spent in primary schools inspired her to ask: ‘What are we doing in schools to protect our children from sexual interference?’ When she realised very little was actually being done, she decided to write a book to help parents, carers and teachers to broach the subject of self-protection and to encourage children to speak up.

Empowering Tweens, Teenage Girls and Young Women

As parents we want our girls to grow up confident, with an amazing sense of self-worth, a whole lot of resilience and respect for others and the world around them. In a world where gender inequality is still a major issue and sexual harassment of young girls is beginning younger and younger, we need empowered daughters. There is no easy fix for this, but as a mother of three young women here are a few suggestions.

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1. From a very young age educate your daughter to understand her body is her body, and that people must respect her personal body boundaries. This is her right.

2. Ensure you have an open dialogue with your daughter from a young age. Nothing should be off the table, including sex and pornography. That way if your daughter has any concerns she will feel comfortable to talk to you about them.

3. Self-confidence is key. Get your daughter into a sport or activity where she is valued and does relatively well. This will only increase her confidence and sense of self.

4. Feel confident about your own achievements. Never talk about yourself and/or your body in derogatory terms in front of your daughter. Remember our daughter’s are often listening (even we don’t think they are) and we are their role models.

5. As your daughter develops, sadly, she will encounter sexual harassment. How she copes with this will depend on the situation and the risk factors. I personally encourage my daughters to confidently walk away, call the male/s out on it if they feel safe to do so, tell a person in authority (if in the work place), tell me (when they were tweens and teenagers).

My estimate is that 99.9% of women have been sexually harassed in one form or another. We accept it, but it is actually UNACCEPTABLE. Men need to step up and STOP this practice. Men need to step up and CALL OUT other men who think they have a right to harass women. Parents need to educate their sons to respect women and that sexually harassing girls and women is never acceptable. Meanwhile … I hope the above points help your daughters in some small way!

 

written by Jayneen Sanders Copyright UpLoad Publishing

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

Comment

Jay Sanders

Jayneen (Jay) Sanders is an experienced primary school teacher and a successful children's book author. She is also the mother of three teenage girls and has been a primary school councillor for over seven years. Her time spent in primary schools inspired her to ask: ‘What are we doing in schools to protect our children from sexual interference?’ When she realised very little was actually being done, she decided to write a book to help parents, carers and teachers to broach the subject of self-protection and to encourage children to speak up.

Body Safety ‘What Ifs?’ for Kids

After children have been taught their Body Safety Rules, ask them these ‘What If?’ questions to reinforce the safety messages learnt.

What if?

What if someone asks to see your private parts?

You know: Your body belongs to you and your private parts are just for you.

Say: No! My private parts are just for me.

Action: Tell one of the adults on your *Safety Network straightaway. If they don’t believe you, tell another adult on your Safety Network.

 

What if?

What if a person tells you to keep a secret that makes you feel uncomfortable and unsafe?

You know: Secrets that make you feel uncomfortable or unsafe should NEVER be kept.

Say: I don’t keep secrets. I only keep happy surprises because they will be told.

Action: Tell one of the adults on your *Safety Network straightaway. If they don’t believe you, tell another adult on your Safety Network.

 

What if?

What if you feel any of your *Early Warning Signs in any situation?

You know: That this is your body letting you know something is not right.

Say: No! I don’t want to do that!

Action: Tell one of the adults on your *Safety Network straightaway. If they don’t believe you, tell another adult on your Safety Network.

 

What if?

What if someone shows you pictures on a phone, ipad or computer of adults, teenagers or children showing and/or touching their private parts.

You know: No-one should show you pictures of private parts. This is very wrong.

Say: No! Don’t show me those pictures! Kids should never see these kinds of pictures.

Action: Tell one of the adults on your *Safety Network straightaway. If they don’t believe you, tell another adult on your Safety Network.

 

What if?

What if someone tells you to play a ‘fun game’ where you both pull down your pants and show each other your private parts?

You know: Your body belongs to you and your private parts are just for you.

Say: No! My private parts are just for me.

Action: Tell one of the adults on your *Safety Network straightaway. If they don’t believe you, tell another adult on your Safety Network.

 

What if?

What if someone tells you (or sends you a message on a phone or computer) asking you to send pictures of your private parts?

You know: This is very wrong.

Say: No! This is wrong. Kids don’t do this. 

Action: Tell one of the adults on your *Safety Network straightaway. If they don’t believe you, tell another adult on your *Safety Network.

 

What if?

What if an adult, an older teenager or other kids start to make jokes about private parts?

You know: No-one should ever make jokes about private parts especially with kids.

Say: Stop! You should never joke about private parts with kids.

Action: Tell one of the adults on your *Safety Network straightaway. If they don’t believe you, tell another adult on your Safety Network.

 

 

What if?

What if children are playing around in the toilets (or playground) at school and trying to see other people’s private parts?

You know: Everyone’s body belongs to them and kids should not be trying to look at each other’s private parts.

Say: Stop! This is wrong. You are not allowed to look at other kids’ private parts.

Action: Tell one of the adults on your *Safety Network straightaway (usually your teacher or the teacher on duty). If they don’t believe you, tell another adult on your Safety Network.

 

*Safety Network: 3 to 5 adults that a child can trust and can tell anything to and know those adults will believe them.

*Early Warning Signs: when our body lets us know that we are scared or uncomfortable, i.e. we may have sweaty palms, sick tummy, shaky legs, heart racing, etc. Go to: www.e2epublishing.info/posters/ to download this free ‘Early Warning Signs’ poster to share with children.

written by Jayneen Sanders

Copyright UpLoad Publishing

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comment

Jay Sanders

Jayneen (Jay) Sanders is an experienced primary school teacher and a successful children's book author. She is also the mother of three teenage girls and has been a primary school councillor for over seven years. Her time spent in primary schools inspired her to ask: ‘What are we doing in schools to protect our children from sexual interference?’ When she realised very little was actually being done, she decided to write a book to help parents, carers and teachers to broach the subject of self-protection and to encourage children to speak up.

10 Top Tips to Empower Kids

As parents we want our kids to grow up confident, with an amazing sense of self-worth, a whole lot of resilience and respect for others and the world around them. As adults, we know persistence and tenacity are important traits when the going becomes tough. Children are a blank slate when they are born. It is a scary thought, but in the early years, children will become what adults tell them they are. I have seen this both as an educator and a mother. The child who is told they are stupid and worthless will believe that is what they are. A child who is nurtured to believe in him or herself, encouraged to take risks and is continually reinforced for their efforts with positive affirmations and respect, will most likely develop a strong belief in him or herself and their capabilities. And yes, as they grow, their peers and teachers will and do influence their sense of self, but we can only hope the positive foundations we have nurtured are solidly in place. Here are my top ten tips to empower kids so they can develop into confident, happy, respectful, well-adjusted and resilient teenagers and adults.

1. Give your child choice.

From a young age, allow your child to make decisions that directly relate to them. For example, allow them to choose between cereal or toast for breakfast; the red, pink, blue or green toothbrush; the orange T-shirt or the striped T-shirt. And dare I say it… allow them to choose their own outfits! Choice and voice go together. Allowing your child choice gives them a voice and therefore a say in what directly relates to them and their daily life.

2. Listen to your child.

Not only listen to your child’s voice but note their moods and listen for what is NOT being said. When you ask your child how they are after kindergarten or school, REALLY ask them how they are. Stop your busy life and engage with your child. Find out what may be upsetting them or what may being giving them loads of joy. Ensure nothing is off the table and ensure you child can tell you or ask you about anything. And if you child doesn’t like some-one or doesn’t wish to go with a certain person, listen. I don't wish to scare you unnecessarily but this is one of the signs a child may indirectly provide if they are being sexually abused.

3. Teach your child Body Safety.

There is nothing more empowering than teaching your child Body Safety Education from as young as two. Providing children with knowledge about their personal boundaries and their rights, especially in regards to their body is incredibly empowering. A child educated in Body Safety knows to tell, tell, tell if they are touched inappropriately, and is far less likely to be a victim of a sexual predator. Pedophiles rely on children keeping secrets and not knowing the sexual touch is wrong. An educated child who knows to tell is their worst nightmare! See my parents’ guide: ‘Body safety Education — a parents’ guide to protecting kids from sexual abuse’ to educate both yourself and your child. We can’t always be with our children, for example, when they are on a sleepover or scout camp, but we can provide ‘a safety belt’ so to speak through teaching them Body Safety Education! See also my children’s book ‘Some Secrets Should Never Be Kept’ which is a great tool to open up the discussion about safe and unsafe touch.

4. Allow your child to take risks.

I know it’s scary but sometimes we have to trust our kids and allow them to take some risks. Try to stop yourself reaching out, and trust your child to climb that tree, go down that big slide and swim a lap alone. (Believe me, it is really hard to not say a word when your 21-year-old daughter decides to travel the world alone starting with a one-way ticket to Istanbul!) On that point, a friend of mine restricted her children from doing so many physical things that now, the youngest in particular, is fearful to do anything, and this has translated into adulthood. Hold yourself back, not your child, and allow them to explore their world.

5. Use your words wisely.

Encourage your child’s endeavours with words such clever, smart, beautiful inside and out, creative, talented, etc. Particularly amongst young girls, I suggest you do not continually focus on their physical appearance and focus more on their talents and creative pursuits. And if an argument ensues as they always do, remember what has been said can’t be unsaid. As one wise person said to me — choose your battles wisely as words can and do hurt. On a personal note, every night when my girls were younger, I would kiss them good night and I would whisper something positive from the day such as, ‘I really loved how you tried so hard in netball today. You always make me proud.’ Going to sleep with such a positive thought ringing in your ears can only be empowering!

6. Encourage your child to follow their interests.

Your child’s interests may not always be your interests but if your son or daughter loves to dance or play football for example, than be as supportive and encouraging as you can. I know! This should go without saying!

7. Allow your child to greet others in a way they are comfortable with.

When greeting relatives, in particular, and your child doesn’t want to kiss Uncle Jo or Grandma than allow your child to choose a high five, blow a kiss or provide a hand-shake. Just because your child is a child doesn’t mean they should be forced to show affection. This only gives them the message that their wishes don’t matter. Your child should give hugs and kisses willingly, and all adults and other children need to respect this. See my children’s book ‘No Means No!’ which is on this very topic!

8. Discourage gender stereotyping.

Ensure your child believes he or she can be and do anything they set their heart to. There are no set roles for men and women! Believe in your child. There are no limits. Discourage gender stereotyping and do no become a party to the media’s continual bombardment.

9.  Encourage perseverance.

Life is not always easy, so encourage your child to try and keep on trying until they succeed or come close to it! I must admit I am a bit of a trier and it has held me in good stead!

10. Teach your child the ‘pirate stance’!

This a fun activity but actual an empowering one! Have your child stand for 30 seconds every second day (or so) like a pirate. Have your child place their hands on their hips, their legs slightly apart and their shoulders back. Research tells us this stance is incredibly empowering; particularly for girls. Give it a try yourself!

Bottom line is… the most empowering thing you can do as a parent for you child is to trust them, show respect and to encourage them in all they choose to do!

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