Keeping Your Child Safe: Against Bullies, During Festivals And At Home
As parents, keeping our children safe and preparing them to deal with unpleasant incidents is our duty. As children grow, they will interact with different people and we can’t always be there to look out for them. Here are some ways to equip children to face the world.
Bullies and Buddies:
Have a school buddy system; teach your child to have a buddy in school. Talk to your child’s school and daycare to allow the buddy concept, so kids can go together to the toilet etc. and not be caught alone in such places.
Bullies are everywhere and can strike unannounced. Bus children especially face a lot of bullying so talk to your child about the 3 points about bullying.
When faced with bullying, don’t talk directly to the bully or his/her parents. Escalate it to the class teacher. If the school does not do anything about it, approach the parents of the bully and have a meeting.
- We have to stop allowing others to kiss and hug our children without their consent. Hugging and kissing is an infringement on the personal space of an individual and should be done only with consent.
- Give a list of names to your child who can hug and kiss them and teach your child to say no and move or wiggle away.
- Don’t force your child to kiss and hug any random adult.
Safety During Celebrations:
Don’t allow any adults to play ‘holi’ with your child. Inform all your adult friends and family members that you do not want your child to be touched anywhere on the body. They can put colour on his/her cheeks only. And that too after taking the child’s consent.
Crackers can be avoided if you make up your mind! If your child has to burst crackers then ensure that s/he is wearing safe clothes and stands at a safe distance from the crackers. Never allow your child to burst crackers wearing festive clothes as they can catch fire and can be cumbersome if your child has to flee suddenly from a flame etc.
Sitting on Santa’s lap in malls and parties should be avoided. Do we know the person who is wearing the costume? How are we sure it is not a paedophile? Also, are we sure the costume the person is wearing is free of germs? When was it washed?
The same goes for annual day costumes and fancy dress celebrations if you are hiring the costume I would suggest to get it laundered before your child wears it. Also put some light cotton clothes under the costume so that the costume is not touching your child’s body. You know that many children have used it before your child, right? If possible and when you have the option then get a costume stitched for your child.
Domestic Help Safety:
- Ensure that the help you appoint are police verified.
- If they are going to come in physical contact with your child, it is advisable to get them tested for HIV and TB.
- Also take care of their health, ensure that they are taken care of when they fall sick.
- Talk to them about good touch bad touch and that you don’t like your child to be touched on particular parts.
- Teach them to wash their hands with a disinfectant before cooking or touching any food or your child. Infact make this a habit with everyone in the family. Sanitizers are good for adults, children don’t need them. Washing thoroughly with soap and water is enough.
Screen and Television Safety:
- Ensure that children watch content appropriate for their age, else it will affect their emotional and social development. They become precocious for their age and then have problems adjusting with their peer group and adults.
- Ensure that if your child wants to play on the mobile or tablet, it is on flight mode so that the Wi-Fi signals don’t harm your child. Also, even without the Wi-Fi a phone is transmitting and research has proven that this damages young children’s brains. So be careful.
- Ensure that your child is not addicted to games and activities on screens. If you will use the screen to pacify your child when your child is upset or when your child is bored or use it to calm down a tantrum then your child will seek screens and screen voices when emotional, so it will lead to teenagers who get hooked on blue whale challenges.
Safety is our right and responsibility, especially the safety of our children, so insist on it…always.
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