Friday, October 7, 2016

Sexual and Stranger Safety for Preschoolers (Free Checklist).

Single Mom, safety, sexual. stranger, free, printable, checklist

Noah and I have been working on a few things the last  6 months one of things I want to share is sexual safety. Now Noah and I are working on sexual and stranger safety but I feel sexual safety is not as talked about. I was sexually abused at a young age (something I talked about here), and this is something I never want to happen to my son. I took a class on sexuality and it talked about talking about sexuality as young as 3 and talking about sexual abuse while children are young (in a manner they can understand).  Sometimes as parents to save out children from seeing the cruelty and ugliness of the world we wait until they are older to talk about such things as sexual abuse, but the problem is it needs to be talked about before they are at great risk not after. When children hit preschool age they are  at greater risk for sexual abuse. For this reason, I am going to give three tips (and a free checklist) on helping children be sexually safe. 

This post is not about sexual abuse it is about teaching your child sexual safety.
Tip one, call private areas by their name.  I know you are thinking “why?” The reason for not coming up with nicknames for child’s private area is safety and making their sexuality okay (but we are going to focus on safety). As I tell people you want any touching or talking to come to your attention as fast as possible and with immediate response. If you call your sons privets area a “snake” and he runs up to strange and says “someone tried to touch his snake” what do you think the response will be? Not the same as if he ran up to stranger and said “someone tried to touch his penis.” The point is children start off as strangers to teachers, nurses, police, basically people you entrust to keep your child safe. Set your child up so they can communicate clearly what someone else did.

Tip two, let your child know they can say “No” to anyone when it comes to their body. I started teaching my son this as soon as he could talk. He knows that he is not allowed to touch others and they are not allowed to touch him. He knows he can tell an adult NO when it comes to his body. This is beyond important so many children feel like they cannot tell an adult no, but you as a parent need to give them the ability to do just that.

Tip three, Talk with your child. Nothing tops a good conversation (or many given the attention span). Two, three, and four year old's are capable of more than we give them credit for. Talk to your child about why they need to say no, how it is not okay for people to touch them, and let your child talk back with you. Children as we know ask WHY about everything and this conversation is no different, just be honest and answer question in a child friendly way.

Tip four, they do not have to go to the bathroom with anyone. This is not covered on the checklist because I have always let Noah choose if he felt comfortable going to the bathroom with others (90% of the time he only goes with me). Do not feel like your child has to feel okay going to bathroom with everyone, better to be safe than sorry.

Tip five, no undercover play. I do not let Noah play under the covers with anyone. If he is with someone he gets his blanket and the other person gets theirs. It might seem extreme but I have seen enough horror stories on sexual abuse and the blankets.

Tip six, watch your child. Nothing keeps your child safer than watching your child and I am not talking about being with them all the time (that will never happen). I am talking about personality, mood, body language and other such things. If you see bed-wetting, mood swings, depression, an all around change in your child, talk with them.

Tip seven, listen to your child.  If your child comes to you talking about anything listen. If your child says someone touch them, you keep it together get the details and remember they need you to show them how to get through this. But more than anything they need you to believe them, support them, love them, and listen.

The main goal is to keep our children safe and taking small steps go a long way in doing that. I know you have been waiting for this so here is the sexual safety list and a bonus a stranger safety list (click image for full list).

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Shakirah is a single mom to a 5 year old. She is a blogger, teacher, and graduate student. Her goal is to bring a more positive and realistic look into the lives of single mothers.

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