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Awareness Parenting and Childcare Travel

Avoid Losing Your Child in Public Places

Every parent’s worst nightmare is losing your kid in public places. Parents love to travel with their children or take them out. Child safety should be of paramount importance. Just as we say ‘Prevention is better than cure’ if some tips are kept in mind when you travel with small kids such fearful situations can be avoided.

Dress your child in bright colours

In public places, it is easier to spot a child in bright colours. Before entering the crowded area, help your child memorize how you are dressed. This can help your child describe what you are wearing in case your child gets lost in the crowd. This can also help people in tracing his dear ones easily.

Device a plan for the day

Try to make a plan which is specific to the place you are going to. Point out a meeting spot to your child. Help the child to recognize the spot and its surroundings well. Ensure that the meeting point that you have selected can be easily located and reached by your child. Ask him to reach there and to wait if he gets separated from the group.

Train your child on what to do when he gets lost

Children should be taught what they must do if they get lost in public places. For a child’s safety, you must teach them that they must approach a responsible adult, for example, a security guard, a police or a mother with children. Children must explain the situation to adults and seek their help. Make them understand that they should never accept a ride from a stranger or never exit the premises if he/she is lost in an enclosed area like a mall or park and never accept food items or drink from strangers.

Help your child to memorise a few important details

For a child’s security, your child should be able to tell their full name and age, their home address, their parent’s full name and their mobile number.

If your child is too small to memorize, you can write them down in a piece of paper and place it in his or her pocket. You can also think of making an ID card for your child to wear in public places.

Keep a recent digital photo of your child with you

This is in case your child does get lost in a public place. Recent photographs describing features of your baby will help those involved in the search recognize the child from the crowd.

Consider using a digital tracking device

With the growth of Technology, using a digital tracking system can be of help. This can help you keep track of your child’s location using a smartphone that has access to the GPS device’s tracking signal.

Give him a mobile phone

If your child is old enough, you can consider giving him a mobile phone. Hand him at least a feature phone just for the duration of the trip. In case he gets lost can be used to get in touch with the parents.

Stay alert

Remember that you should not get too distracted or involved in a conversation with your spouse, friends, or other family members. Have an eye on where your kids are and what they are up to. Staying alert in a public place is the best precaution that can be taken for your child safety.

Losing your child in a public place can indeed be a traumatic experience. So when you start planning to take your children out to have fun; prepare them well for what they should do in case they get separated from their parents. This will help the children to be alert and act wisely even if they get lost in a crowd, and will be doing the appropriate things as their parents have taught them.

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Awareness

Right Time to Have “The Talk” with Kids About Their Private Parts

Kids are always innocent by themselves, so are their activities. We can see them flying here and there without any concerns or fear of their own. They are always in a world of fantasies. They get excited with minute things which might seem to be so unimportant for us! Children explore the world and they are curious about everything they see.

As our kids grow, they start observing and identifying everything they come across. Slowly they will realize that their parents (father and mother) don’t share the same anatomy. With curiosity in their minds, they may end up in the wrong ways in discovering these differences in their genitals, puberty changes and sex. As parents, it is important to clear our kids’ doubts and questions in a way they understand. While we may be tempted to delay as long as possible, talking to our kids early, openly is the best choice.

Importance of such a conversation

As parents, it is natural to feel awkward involving ourselves in a conversation about private body parts. Even adults hesitate to discuss these. Moreover, we would also be confused about how and what to say and how much to talk about. All these will either stop us from starting such talk or will compel us to stop the conversation as early as possible.

Kids learn much more about their private parts much before we parents expect them to. Instead of keeping them ignorant, it is always better to give them the right information at the right time otherwise our children will depend on their peer groups or the internet for accessing more information. This might mislead them in the future.

Finding the right time to talk

The earlier the better. Right from the time a child is born he/she starts learning from observation. According to experts, parents should start creating awareness to children in their age-appropriate manner about their private parts.

This should begin during their toddler years. Out of curiosity kids themselves ask questions about their body parts. Use these opportunities to teach them the names of their genitals. Satisfy their curiosity. Bath time and dressing time must be ideal to engage in such talks.

Always be real and honest

As parents, we might feel strange to teach the name of genitals at a very young age. But it is okay to teach children that these are private parts and the words like penis and vagina at a later stage. It must be ensured that they know these names and realize that there is no shame in naming or speaking of their genitals when used in an appropriate context.

As kids grow, they’ll start asking more and more. They’ll ask us how they were made, it is up to us to clarify their doubts in an age-appropriate way. We can explain that they came from mama’s tummy. Once they grasp it, they are sure to come with more doubts. Share details slowly, honestly and factually. Open the door for questions from the baby, don’t tell all at once.

Teaching the boundaries

This being the most important should be taught without fail. Emphasize that our kids’ bodies and their genitals are very private. They must understand the significance of keeping it safe. Other people do not possess any right to see or touch their private parts. As parents, we can tell our kids that only Mama, daddy and sometimes their paediatrician should see or touch their private parts in case they need them while nursing, not otherwise. As they grow, complete ownership of their body belongs to them.

As parents, it is our responsibility to make them realise that they must be very cautious with who touches them and where. Boundaries are important in terms of safety and consent. They must know how to say no to someone who cross such boundaries.

Keep Talking

Build a rapport with your kids. Ideally, we’ll have to initiate mini-conversation with kids regarding their body parts starting from the time kids begin talking. This will make them realize that this is not something to be ashamed of, that their bodies are not secret and it is their right to know and learn about this. Give them small snippets of information. Gradually educate them according to their age and understanding.

Is this important?

Yes, it is. If we lack the courage and think of explaining it all when they grow, it’s going to be difficult. The world has changed. Studies have proven that kids who are made aware of their private parts within the family are less likely to suffer sexual abuse.

This brings us to the conclusion that the more we communicate to our children as they grow, the safer they will be in the future. It is perhaps the parents who have openly shared to their kids about their genitalia and their boundaries have protected their kids from being a victim of child abuse.

Be their source of information

If we as parents share open and honest conversations right from their childhood, our kids will feel secure. This has paved the way to share many things which they need to know throughout their childhood and adolescence.

It’s easy!

If the child has never heard his parents talking about private parts of their bodies, the child may interpret it as something very shameful. They will no longer feel free to share anything related to their body parts or when someone has wrongly behaved with them or touched them with wrong intentions. To avoid this we must become someone with whom they can freely share all their stuff.

 As parents, we must be able to win the trust of our children. Only then our kids will have the confidence to open up all their issues with us. With small talks and conversations, this can be done. Let us be the source of their information and a place to get all their doubts clarified.

Believe yourself, it’s not that difficult. And not a bad thing which needs to be kept secret. Providing children with accurate, age-appropriate information is one of the most important things that should be done to ensure that our children grow up safe, healthy and secure in their bodies with confidence. The earlier the better! Happy parenting!

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Awareness Parenting and Childcare

Child Safety: Identifying the Common Signs of Sexual Abuse

Signs of child sexual abuse could be emotional and/or physical, with physical symptoms being less common. Emotional signs can vary from “too ideal” behaviour to depression, withdrawal, or unexplained anger. It is vital to remember that some children may show no signs at all. There are also red flag behaviours you can recognize if you know what to look for to assist intervene in the grooming process.

Emotional Signs

Emotional and behavioural changes or signs are more common than physical signs and can include:

  • Depression and anxiety
  • Change in eating habits
  • Sleep disturbances, including night terrors or nightmares
  • Unusual fear of certain places or people; unwillingness to be unaccompanied with a certain person
  • Withdrawal; runaway behaviour
  • Changes in mood include aggressiveness towards pets, parents, friends, siblings, and anger
  • Frequent unexplained or health problems such as stomach aches or headaches
  • Alteration in attitude towards academic or school performance; no interest in sports, friends or other activities
  • Poor confidence; avoidance of relations
  • Self-mutilation or change in body discernment, such as thinking of body or self as bad or dirty; suicidal thoughts
  • Unusual behaviours, for instance, thumb-sucking or bedwetting
  • Abnormal knowledge or sexual behaviours of advanced sexual behaviours and language
  • Too “ideal” behaviour or overly compliant behaviour
Physical Signs of Abuse

The physical signs of sexual abuse are not usual. But, when physical signs are present, they might include bumps, bleeding, bruising and redness, or scabs around the mouth, anus, or genital. Sexually transmitted diseases, urinary tract infections, and penile discharge or abnormal vaginal discharge are also warning signs.

Other indirect physical signs comprise:

  • Headaches
  • Wetting or soiling accidents unrelated to toilet training
  • Chronic stomach pain
  • Chronic or relentless pain during stool movements or while passing urine
  • Sexually transmitted diseases
Symptoms that a person may be harming a child

Keeping children safe can be as hard as numerous perpetrators who abuse children sexually are in positions of trust. Keeping a kid away from the perpetrator may indicate major changes in your own life.

Be cautious of an adult who spends time with kids and exhibits the following behaviours:

  • Does not admire boundaries or listen when anyone tells them “no”
  • Engages in touching a child inappropriately
  • Tries to be a kid’s buddy instead of filling an adult role in the child’s life
  • Does not seem to have age-appropriate relation
  • Discusses with children about their relationships or personal problems
  • Spends time alone with children outside of their role in the child’s life or makes up justifications to be alone with the kid
  • Expresses bizarre curiosity in the sexual development of the child, such as sexualizing normal behaviours or commenting on sexual uniqueness
  • Offers gifts to the kid without reason or occasion
  • Spends a lot of time with your kid
Taking action is not easy, but it is vital

It is not always easy to recognize child sexual abuse—and it can be even more demanding to step in if you believe something is not right. If a child informs you that a particular person makes them feel embarrassing, even if they cannot tell you everything, pay attention.

Consult with somebody who can assist you find out if this is something that must be reported, such as a staff member from your local sexual assault service provider.