The Channel 46

Go Mommy Roopika Sareen’s Parental Advice About Stranger Danger & Good Touch, Bad Touch

1. Start By Telling Children About Their Private Parts

Head, shoulders, knees and toes… and more! While we start teaching them about the basic body parts like the head, ears, eyes to a child as young as 1-year-old, we often skip chest, thighs and private parts. Tell them that the body parts we usually keep covered are our private parts and no one has the permission to touch them there. It is never too early to impart this vital education to your child, at least at a basic level.

2. Give Them Ownership Of Their Body

Empower the child to own his body and give them the freedom to refuse a hug, kiss or pat on the back if they are not comfortable with it. Let the child know that they have all the rights to refuse any inappropriate touch or situation by saying a loud NO. You must, as a parent, never force affection on your child. Be it your own or somebody else’s. A warm hug from a relative or a peck from a friend must be encouraged only if your child appreciates it and feels comfortable with it.

3. Use The Right Language

Usage of words that a child can comprehend is essential. But it is equally important to use the right terms for body parts. Let them know that there’s nothing dirty or bad about their bodies and that there is a difference between a female and male body. You may use relevant books or videos to assist you here.

4. Follow The ‘Swimsuit’ Rule

This is the easiest way to imbibe the knowledge of good and bad touch in children. Tell them that all parts covered with a swimsuit are private and that nobody can touch them there.

5. Talk About Feelings

It is important for a child to understand what a safe touch feels like. Mommy’s kiss, daddy’s peck, grandparent’s hug or a teacher’s pat – these all feel pleasant, good and make the child feel loved and confident. However, touches that make the child uncomfortable and unpleasant should be stopped right there.

6. Go Beyond The Rule Of ‘Do Not Talk To Strangers’

As much as it is exciting to see your ‘socially active’ 1-year-old interacting with passers-by – be it in an elevator, a shopping mall or even parks – the reality seeps in fast when you have to tell your preschooler that not everyone they meet is a friend.

7. Lay Down Some Basic Dos & Don’ts

It’s equally important for children to know who the ‘safe people’ are in their circle, like close friends, family members, they can turn to when they feel any discomfort with a person or situation. As you are out and about, point out other ‘safe people’ that can help if your child ever gets separated from you — store manager with a name tag, police and security officers, or a family with kids. It’s always a good idea to help children learn their house number, parents’ mobile number and other vital information.

8. Motivate Your Child To Confide In You

Spending quality time with your children would not only get you closer to them but also give them the assurance that they can share anything with you and you have full faith in them. Be open to all discussions without any inhibitions from your end too. Building a bond of trust with your child is important, right at a tender age. Basis this, instil a ‘No Secret’ rule at home.

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