How do we have the talk?
1. Use Actual Names for Body Parts
When you teach your children their body parts like head, shoulders, knees and toes you use their actual names. It is important to do the same when it comes to their private parts or any part that is covered by a bathing suit. It is best to avoid using pet names for any body part.
2. Secrets Vs. Surprises
Tell the difference between secrets and surprises. Explain that we do not keep secrets so we can keep everyone safe. If someone asks them to keep a secret, especially if someone touches or shows their private parts, tell a trusted adult. Instead, we have surprises. Surprises can be a gift that we got someone or a surprise party that we are having. The best thing about a surprise is that everyone finds out about it at the end.
3: Safe Vs. Unsafe Touch
Talk with your child and give examples about what safe or unsafe touch can look like. Safe touch could be hugs or high fives or maybe snuggles. Unsafe touch is when someone touches or makes them touch their private parts. If this ever happens, tell a trusted adult and keep telling until someone listens.
Let your child know that if they feel something is wrong or if they do not want to be touched it’s ok to say no. No matter who it is. THEY are the boss of THEIR OWN body!
The thing about feelings is we don’t know what they are until someone teaches us. Talk about happy, sad, mad and all the other feelings. Discuss what they can feel like and how they know when they or other are feeling a feeling. This can be done when reading a book or watching tv, or when you are talking about each other’s day.
It is important to talk about feelings because we need to know when our body is telling us that we are uncomfortable. Our heart can start beating really fast, our belly can start to have butterflies, or our palms can get sweaty.
Tell your child that If anything or anyone is making them feel uncomfortable, tell them “No I don’t like that” and tell a trusted adult.
5: Trusted Adults
Make a list of adults who we can trust. This list will be any person that your child can go to if someone attempts to touch or touches them inappropriately.
6: Be Specific
All the things that come with talking about body safety are very important. It is crucial to make sure that you child knows exactly what you are talking about and what to do if needed.
Most importantly– take a deep breath. Caregivers sometimes have a difficult time having this conversation with their toddler or young child. It is ok. You are the expert on your children and you will do great! The most important thing is to continue to have “The Talk” continuously to make sure that your children know exactly what to do and that they are the Ruler of Their Body!