Sundays are for relaxing. But last Sunday, I had a more pressing concern to take care of. My daughter’s safety. So I pledged my Sunday morning to my daughter’s safety. Don’t worry. She is absolutely safe. But this was to keep her safe in the future as well.
One of my daughter’s schoolmate’s mother had invited a few mothers to her place to conduct a session on Child Safety. It was a really sweet gesture on her part. The session was based on Dr. Bhooshan Shukla’s ‘No Bad Touch’ program. You may read about it in detail here – http://nobadtouch.com/
You may check out the video as well: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6aH8Rwax09A
So through an interactive game, the facilitator tried to convey to the children how they can be safe and who they should run to in case of any untoward event.
I have tried to summarise some of the most important aspects of her session here. Remember, it’s important that the session is attended by the child and her parents or primary caregivers.
- Firstly, ask the child who he/she feels the safest around. Let him/her identify their bodyguard with whom the child feels comfortable and safe. A bodyguard is the one who will listen to the child, protect the child and make him/her feel safe.
- The kids should be taught to scream if they are approached by a stranger. Through various studies and researches on pedophiles, it’s been established that pedophiles and child molesters are cowards. If they come across a confident child or a child who can scream, they will avoid harming the child.
- Game – Ask the children to stand in the center of the room. The parents are standing away at various places in the room. The facilitator is the ‘denner‘ who runs after the children and tries to scare them. This should prompt them into screaming and looking out for their bodyguard. The bodyguard will place a safe arm around their ward which will make the child feel safe. Through this game, the kids are made to realise that screaming is their safety tool and that they should run away to their bodyguards in order to be safe. Also, the game highlights danger and opposite of danger – safe.
- Draw a picture or take a print out of a body silhouette. Circle the 3 danger zones on the body, the chest/breasts, the area between the legs and the bum in red and place a big cross on it. You may take a print out of these pictures. Show the kids that these are unsafe zones. And no one can or should touch them except their parents/caregivers while giving them a bath or the doctor during check up in the presence of their parents/caregivers.
- Make a promise to your child that you will always listen to your child (by keeping aside whatever important work you think you are doing at that point of time) when he/she comes running to you and always try your best to keep him/her safe. Reiterate this every few days so that your child is secured in this knowledge.
You may want to re-conduct this session every 6 months to boost up the memory of the small kids.
Here are some more handy tips:
- Make your child memorise your cellphone numbers (it may come as a shock to you, but a 3-year old can remember your phone numbers).
- Before you step out with your child, place a small chit with your contact number and address in the pocket of your child’s dress.
- If you visit a mall or a crowded public place with your child, show your child a place where he/she can come and find you if they get lost.
- Teach them to greet police personnel so that they soon understand that these people too can be approached in danger.
- Teach your child, quite convincingly, that they are not supposed to accept gifts or sweets from strangers. My personal experience is that kids nod their heads before parents, but forget it as soon as they see the sweets. It is also because parents get very upset with their kids eating chocolates and sweets and try to ration their consumption. The trick is to tell your kids that every time she refuses a sweet from a stranger, you will give her two instead. I feel decayed teeth are a small price to pay compared to the danger.
Have you already made your child aware with good touch-bad touch? If not, hurry up. You may be putting your child’s safety at risk.