At Ray of Hope, we believe that you should talk to your kids about body safety EARLY, OPEN and OFTEN. As kids have headed back to school this week, now is a perfect time to reinforce some important body safety ideas. According to the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, you can talk P.A.N.T.S. with your kids to get the conversation started. While it may feel a little awkward at first, keep going – your child’s safety is worth it!
P – Privates are private. That means the areas covered by your underwear or bathing suit are places that no one should touch or look at. You can let your child know that a doctor, nurse or parent may need to look at their private areas, but they should always explain why, and ask permission first.
A – Always remember your body belongs to you. No one should ever make you do things that make you feel uncomfortable, embarrassed or scared. If that happens – tell a trusted adult. And keep telling a trusted adult until you are protected.
N – No means no! You have the right to say “no” – even to a family member or someone that you like. If you want to say “no”, it’s your choice.
T – Talk about secrets that upset you. Surprises can be fun, but no one should ever ask you to keep a secret that makes you feel sad, worried or frightened. Make a family rule – secrets aren’t allowed.
S – Speak up, someone can help. Talk about things that make you worried or scared. Parents, teachers or even the parent of friend can be trusted adults. They can help make sure kids are safe. Help your kids identify at least 5 people they can go to for help.
As kids get older, keep the lines of communication open. It’s important for preteens and teens to know how to keep themselves safe with their peers, adults and online. Let them know it is a matter of safety that you know where they are and with whom. That means asking questions about your kids’ online communications and cyber friends. Make sure that kids understand the risks and consequences of sending or receiving sexually explicit photos of themselves or someone else – it is dangerous and may be against the law.
To learn more or become further trained, contact Ray of Hope to discover training opportunities at 918-337-6177 or www.RayofHopeAC.org. Our organization offers an array of trainings from lunch-n-learns to in depth that will prepare you to talk to your kids, recognize abuse, respond appropriately and report it to the proper channels.
When we make conversations about body safety a matter of routine, just like reminding kids to buckle their seat belts or wear a helmet while on wheels, it helps reduce any embarrassment for you and your kids. So fight through the initial awkward, have the conversation, keep the lines of communication open, do frequent check-ins and keep on fighting for your kids’ safety.