Teaching Children Personal Safety To Avoid Sexual Abuse
I’m interviewing Kimberly Perry, author of Say “NO!” and TELL! A Creative View of Personal Safety for Maisie (girls) and Daxton (boys).
Her professional underpinnings for this endeavor include 15 years of teaching and coaching in public and private schools in California, Michigan and North Carolina while specializing in preschool to 5th grade. I also earned a Bachelor of Arts in Kinesiology and a Masters of Arts in Teaching. After teaching Personal Safety to over 1000 elementary students, she was inspired to write the Say “NO!” and TELL! book series.
Inspired After Discovering The Heartbreaking Statistics On Ever-Increasing Instances Of Child Sexual Abuse
Anne: Why did you write a book about personal safety for young kids?
Kimberly: While serving as a Health and Physical Education Teacher in the Michigan public school system, I taught Personal Safety for over 1,000 elementary students and wondered why I had not been taught these prevention strategies when I was a child. The need to empower children with self-care skills and people safety tools is critical for well- being.
My professional underpinnings for this endeavor include 15 years of teaching and coaching in public and private schools in California, Michigan and North Carolina while specializing in preschool to 5th grade. I also earned a Bachelor of Arts in Kinesiology and a Masters of Arts in Teaching. How can it be that at least 2 out of every 10 girls and 1 out of every 10 boys are estimated to be sexually abused before their 14th birthday (childmolestationprevention.org)? Every eight minutes, Child Protective Services responds to a sexual abuse report (rainn.org). According to the CDC, about 1 in 6 boys and 1 in 4 girls are sexually abuse before the age of 18.
Kids need to be empowered with Personal Safety skills and tools so they know what to do when a questionable encounter happens.
Kimberly: Personal Safety is learning how to keep your body safe or sexual abuse prevention for kids. Kids learn to say NO to unsafe touches by protecting their bodies with boundaries to prevent or stop sexual abuse. The Say NO! and TELL! books empower kids with Personal Safety by using a THREE-phased approach ™ based on a proven and straight forward sequential method.
- Teach body awareness with basic hygiene (bathing), health (nutrition) and safety (swim) concepts
- Explains boundaries with more unique safety concepts such as Internet, stranger and people safety.
- Introduce Personal Safety – prevention awareness of safe boundaries for private parts.
Boundaries define personal property and allow us to take care of it by setting limits on others and internal limits within ourselves. The boundary of saying “NO!” defines ownership, lets others know that we exist apart from them and we are in control (Cloud 29, 43-44).
Part I has a story about Maisie Monarch or Daxton Dolphin where the characters embark on a journey of growing up and preparing for a migration trip. Parents teach them Personal Safety before they go and ask open ended questions throughout the story for you to define your family terminology and values. Part II of the book has 8 scenarios, in which I researched the predator and turned those tactics into life skills for kids, such as privacy, private moments, guard your eyes and ears, safe secrets, bribes, threats, safe games, etc.
The solutions section has numerous tools like a quiz, a Personal Safety Family Plan, resources and a removable section for grown-ups with stats and the THREE-phased steps in details with practical ideas.
Talking Point #3: Grown-ups need to empower kids with Personal Safety early because kids develop a natural curiosity about the human body when they are young. Say NO! and TELL! is a creative faction, read-aloud book for grown-ups to read to their young kids age 5 to 9.
What Is The Best Age To Begin Talking To A Child About Body Safety?
Kimberly: Kids develop a curiosity about the body and the gender identity parts early and is a natural part of developing body awareness. Pre-school through elementary school age (3 yrs. to 9 yrs.) is an important time to teach kids about private parts (using real anatomical words), boundaries, safe touches which feel comfortable, “your body belongs to you!” and it is okay to say “no thank you” to any touches, and privacy is okay too as you grow independent. Only safe caregivers may see, examine or clean your private parts, while you are really young, when you still need help.
In the Say NO! and TELL! books, each child-friendly concept builds on the others forming a strong foundation of wellness, while being considerate of preserving innocence and balancing naivety with wisdom. Please note this book does not cover reproduction, which is saved for an age-appropriate time at your discretion.
Grown-Ups And Kids Need To Have A Personal Safety Family Plan In Place For When They Encounter A Questionable Encounter
Anne: Talking to kids is important, but what should they do when they are exposed to a questionable encounter?
Kimberly: A basic Personal Safety Plan includes: memorizing address and phone number, a family code word or “danger” plus a check-in rule. Kids need to know how to dial 911, understand who are the safe givers and trusted grown-ups and make a list of the top five to contact, TELL if ANYONE ever tries an unsafe touch or does anything inappropriate with private parts, and keep telling until it stops.
Also, kids need to memorize (SAY NO, GET AWAY, TELL and KEEP TELLING):
Remember to say “NO!”
GET AWAY if you can!
KEEP TELLING until it stops! Take a stand!