Child Safety Tips
These child safety tips can be taught and rehearsed regularly in order to combat anxiety in children and their parents.
The Number One of Child Safety Tips
1. It Is My Body - I Can Choose What Happens With It
My memories of anxiety in childhood are filled with examples of being
tickled by relatives when I clearly did not want that.
know how to avoid it and it seemed common practice by extended family
members, probably as a way of making contact with young children.
I'm sure it
was harmless and with good intent, however, I can clearly remember
not only really disliking the
feeling of being constrained and then tickled furiously, but being
scared stiff I would wet myself and being quite frantic about
asking for them to stop.
I can remember one relative saying,
"You want me to stop do you?", over and over as he continued to
scrabble his fingers into my ribs. These memories bring back thoughts of
excruciating embarrassment and a sense of having no control over myself
at all. This can be a cause of much anxiety in children.
Being told to hug and kiss other adults when I didn't want to is also
an embarrassing memory. Children should always know they have a choice when
it comes to this form of intimacy.
They should know that they do not have to kiss Auntie Mavis or Uncle Harry if they do not want to. I clearly remember feeling that I would embarrass my mother if I didn't
do as I was told to - and I clearly remember not wanting to be that
close to a particular uncle.
It made me feel quite powerless.
Children need to learn that they can trust their feelings
- not to have
them ridden over by their parent's instructions to hug someone just to make
the other person feel better.
2. Combat Anxiety In Children - Help Them Learn To Trust
A true safeguard for children is to give them the sure and certain
knowledge that they are listened to and really heard.
If they can trust that you will listen
and respond accordingly to small
details, then they can learn to trust you with bigger, more secretive
Listening and responding to the apparent little things creates
a set of experiences that children can rely on. If they trust
you to be there for them, they will almost certainly feel more able to come to
you with more complex issues.
3. Child Safety Tips - Understanding Secrets
It helps your children to understand about secretive behaviour if you
explain that secrets usually have a 'use by' date. For
example, we keep gifts secret until birthday or Christmas time and we
keep surprise outings or parties secret until the day of the occasion.
If we are told to keep a secret for all time, with no cut
off date, then it is usually a bad secret and therefore needs to be told now. It is really important that you assume a non-judgmental attitude and appear unshocked when
initially listening to your child's deepest secrets.
very capable of 'editing' in order to protect you.
4. Child Safety Tips - Be Available To Your Children
It takes time and intention to create a safe haven for a
child. To be able to be heard with an open heart and a non
judgmental mind is a treasure we all need. What a gift to
offer to your children!
I would recommend making regular opportunities
to be available to hear your children's thoughts, to share your own with them, and to
open the way for ongoing dialogue about hopes, fears, dreams and
Sitting around the meal table together provides for an enriching,
secure family environment which fosters sharing and listening.
Another simple way is to regularly spend one on one time with each of your
children and foster an exchange of confidences. Taking an interest and
simply being there for them all takes time and a positive intention on
Maybe you could walk together, eat out together or take part in a fun
activity. A really valuable sharing time is the quiet time
before bed when the day's activities are quietly discussed and fears
can be settled before sleep.
5. Child Safety Tips - Release Anxiety in Children
Encourage your older children to write a diary each day, with emphasis
on feelings rather than as a calendar of events. Maintain strict
privacy around this as a means of helping them to establish a broad
base of trust.
Pouring one's feelings out in a diary should be an
experience of release and needs to be a reliable exercise for your
child - one in which there is no room for prying by
I still have a diary I wrote when I was
nine years old and it clearly outlines some of the uncertainties that
were happening for me at the time as well as the means to confront
Make sure your children know about emergency
procedures, phone numbers,
and back up plans.
6. Child Safety Tips - Teach Strategies For Safety
Keep lists of names and numbers of the
people they can seek help from.
Develop a supportive network of family and
friends whom your children
know and trust.
Speak about police and others in authority with respect around your children. You never know when your child may have to trust a policeman for help.
Keep a watchful eye on their cell phone and
7. Child Safety Tips - Teach Your Children To SCREAM LOUDLY
As a counselor I have often been told of people's inability to call out
for help or to make a noise during a crisis situation. If we are
trained in childhood to be quiet and not make too much noise, it can be really
difficult to scream for help or call out loudly.
have heard people explain that as children, they struggled with the
idea of politeness when they should have been yelling for help. It may
be difficult to imagine, but struggling with when to be polite can be a
source of great anxiety in children, especially when they feel unsure
of their own judgment.
I suggest you hold practice sessions and show your children how to make
a noise when they need to! Tell them that a siren on an
emergency vehicle is a safety noise,
and the louder it sounds the more
everyone is aware of the danger.
8. Child Safety Tips - Watch For Signs Of Bullying
||Speak with your children about
bullying, both about acting as the bully and as the
recipient of bullying behaviour.
Tell them some of your own
stories about seeing or experiencing bullying and encourage
conversation about this aspect of school life.
Barbara Coloroso has
written an excellent book on The Bully,
The Bullied and the Bystander.
This very readable book addresses all aspects of bullying, including that
played by the bystander.
9. Child Safety Tips - Promote Safe Risk Taking
Promote safe risk taking so that your children learn to trust their
feelings and learn the difference between what is safe and unsafe.
them to see the difference between adventures and risky behaviour
so that they continue to step out confidently.
10. Child Safety Tips - Be Aware of the Smaller Details in Your Children's Lives
Know who their friends are, what they are reading, which activities they are
enjoying and which are becoming burdensome.
Get to know their teachers
their friend's parents
find out about their hopes and dreams
learn to know their personalities clearly
what their fears are.
Anxiety in children is framed in many
and various ways. Knowing your children's daily life intimately
helps provide a framework for you to access and support them.
out what they are good at and what they are embarrassed by - all this
intimate knowledge gives you an awareness of their daily lives and
helps you to watch for any changes. be your child's champion!
Learning these child safety tips and rehearsing their use regularly is
one way to help combat anxiety in children and to promote greater self
control and confidence.
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