Body Safety is a crucial topic that every parent needs to discuss early on with their child. We instruct our children on all kinds of safety rules. However, when it comes to body safety, it is a subject that is discussed or referred to in hushed tones. Why? Because it is unfathomable that such a heinous crime can be committed against children. The statistics, however, will disagree with you and leave you aghast. The disinclination to address body safety is akin to not informing your child about touching fire. The results of such ignorance can prove to be unfortunate. Silverline School, in this blog, looks into essential aspects of child safety and why adults need to be more vociferous on this subject.
Our blog will cover the following essential questions we must discuss with our children.
1. What is Body Safety?
2. Why should children be taught about body safety rules?
3. What is the right age to discuss body safety?
4. What are the Body Safety rules for children?
5. Body Safety activities for preschoolers.
6. Book Recommendations on body safety rules for children.
Body safety is an imperative education that children should receive to understand sexually abusive behaviours, inappropriate touching, and safe and unsafe touch.
It is merely not cautioning the child to stay away from strangers. It is a necessary life skill.
Body safety explains the following safety aspects to children:
How many times do we caution our children to be safe?
Despairingly, we also have to add stringent words of caution regarding body safety to the list. It is as important, or probably more important, than road safety, food safety, physical safety, and mental safety.
Children are vulnerable as they lack the means and strength to fight an ill-intentioned adult. It becomes essential to discuss body safety with children when
Educating children about the body safety rules helps them identify inappropriate sexual behaviour and also teaches them to communicate any untoward incident to parents or a trusted adult. It also arms the children with strategies to get out of such distressful situations. It is a vital life skill to identify and prevent sexual abuse.
Here are some essential body safety rules that we need to communicate to children.
1) Education about Body Ownership and Boundaries.
Children need to be instilled with a firm understanding that their bodies belong to them and they are the boss of their bodies. No one has the right to touch you in a way that makes you uncomfortable.
We need to teach children to create body boundaries that no one should be allowed to overstep. It is their right to speak up and stop someone who breaches the safety threshold set for them.
No uncle, aunt, or grandparent can force the child to give hugs, kisses, or sit on their lap.
Drawing such a clear boundary should not be viewed as disrespect to family or loved ones but a foremost and imperative step in ensuring the body safety of your child.
It sets the right body autonomy rules from an early age.
In most cases, the abuser is known to children and is someone from the family or a closely known person.
As parents, we go the extra mile to keep our children away from strangers but negligently grant unchecked access to family and friends. This unsupervised access can become an easy way for an abuser to take advantage.
Therefore, the same body safety rules for every adult will not confound your child.
2) Using anatomically correct names for the private parts:
Educate children on the correct usage of private parts. There should be no silly names kept for these body parts. Normalize the correct usage, as everyone has the same body parts.
3) Which body parts are private?
To offer an easy explanation to this question, we can tell children that the body parts covered by our swimsuits are our private body parts. We don’t let anyone view or touch these body parts. We also do not touch or view someone else’s private body parts.
4) Keeping Secrets.
5) Who are my Trusted Adults?
Ensure that your child has a circle of trusted adults apart from parents, like a teacher or a grandparent, they can confide in.
This is because, often, children are threatened or manipulated not to tell their parents. So, in this way, a second circle of safety is created for the child.
Here are a few examples of how to engage preschoolers in body safety activities.
Here are some of our book recommendations that will help you frame and initiate body safety talk with your child:
Body Safety does not relate to education on sex and sexual abuse. These talks are age-appropriate communication on keeping one’s body safe. This communication should not make the child fearful.
To educate our children, we need to first remove the taboos around discussing such topics. Increased transparency around the topic of body safety will lead to strengthened vigilance and communication.
It will also make your child aware of their safety when you are not around.
Silverline, one of the top primary schools in Ghaziabad, considers the subject of children’s body safety paramount, and we hope to see more open dialogues amongst parents, educators, and children around it.