Guidance for parents: 6 essential body safety guidelines every parent should teach their children

ByZarafshan Shiraz, New Delhi

Parents often prioritise teaching their children about water safety, street safety and other practical precautions like wearing raincoats in the rain and applying sunscreen in sunny weather but unfortunately, many overlook the importance of educating kids on personal boundaries. The well-being of your children should be your top concern, so it is crucial to inform and instruct them on body safety regulations.

Guidance for parents: 6 essential body safety guidelines every parent should teach their children (Photo by The Pragmatic Parent)

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Jagdish Kathwate, Consultant Neonatologist and Paediatrician at Motherhood Hospital in Pune’s Kharadi, shared, “Educating kids on bodily safety and initiating these discussions should not be delayed. Although addressing this topic may be uncomfortable or intimidating for both parent and child, neglecting it would harm your child significantly. It is important to consistently convey that you trust them completely and encourage them to share anything with you without fear of consequences.”

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According to him, parents should educate their children about these important guidelines:

  1. Encourage your children to assert their boundaries by teaching them to confidently decline unwanted physical contact like kisses or hugs. Help them understand the difference between appropriate and inappropriate touches.
  2. Establish a safety network for your children by identifying a group of trusted individuals they can turn to if they ever feel uneasy, frightened, or uncertain.
  3. Educate your children on the proper terminology for their private areas and empower them to speak up if anyone tries to touch those parts or asks them to do so. Remind them that they can always confide in their designated safety people if they encounter any discomfort in such situations.
  4. Introduce the concept of safe and unsafe touch to children as young as 3-5 age, helping them distinguish between affectionate gestures like hugs and high-fives that make them feel secure and loved, and inappropriate touches that make them feel uneasy and threatened.
  5. Educate children about recognizing early signs of danger. If they experience fear or discomfort, they may exhibit physical symptoms such as sweating, stomachaches, trembling, and a rapid heartbeat.
  6. See to it that children to never keep any secrets that make them uncomfortable or upset. Teach them to confide in trusted individuals if they ever feel unsafe or uneasy about a situation.

Dr Jagdish Kathwate asserted, “Teaching children about essential body safety guidelines is crucial for their overall well-being and protection. Empowering children with the knowledge of their bodies and boundaries can help them to recognize inappropriate behaviour and seek help when needed. Open communication about body safety from a young age fosters a safe and supportive environment where children feel empowered to speak up about any uncomfortable or unsafe situations they may encounter. Educating children about consent plays a key role in promoting healthy relationships and reducing the risk of abuse.”

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