Some of the latest news reports on children’s safety have been giving me great anxiety – we’ve been hearing of toddlers going missing and being abused more frequently.
In light of National Child Protection Week, I thought I would look into some safety tips that all parents can consider teaching their little ones:
- Teach your child that their body is special and that no one is allowed to touch their private parts, even adults! Explain to them that they must not touch other people’s private parts too.
- As soon as your child is old enough to speak, teach them your phone number, as well as the 10111 emergency number. Lesedi still says my number in the rhythmic/song-like pattern I thought him in when he was 3 years old but I’m just glad that he knows it. Once they grasp the numbers, you can teach them their home address too.
- Teach your child that it’s okay to say NO to an adult, if they feel uncomfortable or scared around them. E.g. if an adult asks them to go somewhere with them, and they feel scared they can say no.
- Teach them not to ask strangers for things, such as sweets or accept money, sweets and lifts from people that they do not know, regardless of what the person says. Tell them to scream “NO” as loudly as they can.
- Teach them some of the things that they can do if they get lost – for example, in a shopping centre, they must stand in once place and shout out your name or their name so they you can try and find them. If they can’t find you, they should find the people with the same uniform (e.g. security guards and shop assistants), at last resort another mom with children. You will have to keep pointing out security guards or shop assistants when you go out, so that your child would be familiar enough with them to be able to identify them in an emergency.
I think the quick win is to build an open relationship with your children. Encourage them to talk to you about anything they want so that they can feel comfortable to do this when they are in trouble too. With my son, I have drilled into him that it’s okay to make mistakes, but that he needs to own up to them and tell me. If he wets his bed or spills juice by mistake, that’s the first thing he will tell me and I hope that he will be able to do the same if he is ever in trouble. As much as we try to teach our children’s not to be tattle-tales, we must be careful to emphasize when it is okay to tell-on another child or adult.
What safety tips have you taught your children? Let me know if the comment section above this post title or on social media.
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Modern Zulu Mom