Open Communication

Establish Trust and Open Communication

  • Create opportunities for your child to talk to you.
  • Show your child you’re interested in them and what they do.
  • Be open to talking about difficult topics. Make it clear that you're someone they can confide in.
  • Ask your child to identify 3 adults they trust to tell if something bad happens.
Body Safety

Teach Children about their Bodies

  • Teach your child that some body parts are private. This can be as simple as describing that anything a bathing suit covers on the child’s body is private.
  • Teach correct words for private parts (penis, vagina, vulva, butt/bottom). Using these words and having your child know what they mean can help a child talk specifically if something inappropriate has happened.
  • Don't associate private parts and developmentally-expected sexual behaviors with shame and embarrassment.
  • Teach children:
    • No one needs to play with or take photos of your private parts.
    • No one needs you to play or help with their private parts.
    • No one should show you photos or videos of private parts.
Talk about Boundaries

Talk about Boundaries

  • Teach your child about giving and getting permission to be touched.
  • Model giving and asking for permission.
  • Coach children in the moment if you notice they're crossing the boundaries of others.
  • Empower your child to say "no" to unwanted touches, even hugs/kisses from family members and friends.
Everyday Moments

Talk about safety and healthy relationships often

  • Incorporate safety talks into everyday, teachable moments.
  • Use examples from songs, movies, and shows to start meaningful conversations.
  • Be open to questions children may have. If you don't know the answer, it's okay to ask for support from others and return to the conversation at a later time.

Teach your Child these Safety Rules

Teach your child that the following rules apply to everyone, and they can say "no" to anyone who wants to break a rule. Let them know that if someone breaks a rule:

  • It's never your fault.
  • It's never too late to tell.
  • Tell a trusted adult. Keep telling until someone listens to you.
  • It's okay to tell me.  I'm glad you told me and want to help keep you safe.

The Rules:

  • Your body is yours

    Your body is yours. YOU decide how, when, and if you want to be touched. 

    • If a touch makes you feel uncomfortable, sad, confused, or not right, it's unsafe.
    • Giving consent to any touch is your right. Getting consent before touching anyone else is your responsibility.

    Define touch for your child. Avoid using the words like “bad” or “good” touch. Sometimes a “bad” touch might feel good to a child. Use language like safe, unsafe, confusing, or secret touches.

  • Never Keep Secrets

    Tell me or another grown-up you trust if someone asks you to keep a secret.

    A secret is when someone asks, threatens, or forces you not to tell about something they did. Secrets are unsafe. Telling about secrets is not tattling or snitching.

  • Always Ask First if...

    Someone wants you to go somewhere, do something, or wants to give you something, especially if you’ll be alone with someone else.

    As children get older, this can be modified to "Always Check In."

  • Stop, Block, Talk (Online Safety)

    STOP:

    Be careful about what you post and say or share with others. Don't post personal information (e.g. email address, home address, phone number, social media handle, etc.) online.

    BLOCK:

    Anyone who bothers you in any way. Do not feel bad about doing so. Report them if necessary.

    TALK:

    To someone you trust if something is bothering you.

    Read more about online safety here.

Download a PDF of Talk About It in Englishen español, or en português.


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