Because children are our most valuable resource
And we want to know how to keep them safe.
Tattling is when a child/tween or teen goes to their grownup and in a whiney voice starts telling a story of how someone has done them wrong.
Reporting is when a child comes to you about the safety of himself or herself or someone else. This usually has a more serious tone in their voice.
It tells where we live, our phone number, our birthday, our family members, and our school or work place. If there was ever an emergency, such as your child getting separated from you, this information would be vital to your child’s safety.
A stranger is simply someone that your child does not know or a person they do not know well. We are surrounded by strangers every day whether we are at school, the supermarket, the park, or even at a fun place like Disney. Strangers do not dress or look a certain way. **Not all strangers are scary.** And often times we as adults need to talk to strangers in various situations and settings.
Good secrets make you feel special, loved, and excited. It could be a secret about a surprise (such as a party or a vacation). Good secrets always have an ending because you get to tell the secret when the time is right (such as yelling “Surprise” at the party, or learning that you are going on a trip). Both the person telling the good secret and the person receiving the good secret feel happy.
Bad secrets are different. The person telling the bad secret never, ever wants you to tell anyone. They want this secret to go on forever. It is a bad secret if anyone is uncomfortable. A bad secret makes you feel confused, sad, weird, and even frustrated. A bad secret should never be kept secret. It must be shared with a trusted adult.
We teach our children to listen to the people that are responsible for taking care of them, such as their parents, teachers, and guardians. However, we often omit the fact that children do not have to obey everyone. If anyone ever makes your children feel uncomfortable, confused, scared, or unsafe, they have the right to say “NO”.
The first step is to help our children recognize their inner safety voice. That is the little voice in their head that tells them that something is not right. Their inner safety voice may be thinking, “This doesn’t feel right”, or “I might get hurt”, or even, “My parents would be upset with me”. This inner safety voice also gives signs in your body when something doesn’t seem right, such as a rapid heartbeat or butterflies in your stomach.
Once children recognize their inner safety voice, they can use their out-loud voice to help keep themselves safe. Let your children know that they have your permission to say “NO”, or “STOP” if they ever feel uncomfortable or unsafe with adults, friends, and even family members. When you encourage your children to listen to and use their safety voice, you are helping them become confident, empowered, and aware of their own safety.
There is a time and a place for a Poker Face. Sometimes in our children’s lives, they want to share something with us but are worried about what our response will be. Having a Poker Face, a calm, open, supportive face, when a child is telling you something important can be the difference between them continuing to share with you or them shutting down. As parents we can get very excitable, protective, defensive, and plain old angry at times. Our goal is to create an environment with our children that lets them know you are an approachable parent and that they can talk to you about anything. This is where practicing using a Poker Face really comes in.
Start practicing using a Poker face with the little things that your child shares with you. “I failed my math test.” “I got shoved by a big kid on the bus stop.” “I am sad about grandma being sick.”
At some point in your child’s life they are going to share something big with you. Perhaps something happened online that confused or scared them, or someone crossed their body boundaries, or they are feeling depressed. Our response as parents, in that moment of them sharing with us, is the beginning of the healing process for your child. Using a Poker Face, staying calm and compassionate, (even if internally you are an emotional wreck), helps set the tone for your child’s healing process.
Tell me about your own family.
Ask about their parents and siblings, and what kind of family life they had while growing up. Ask them to talk about themselves. It will give you a very good idea of their experiences with children and their attitudes to responsibility.
Why do you want to be a babysitter or at home camp counselor?
It is fine that they are working for the money, but they should mention that they love children and enjoy being with them.
What do you like to do with kids?
This is an important question. They should know how to interact with children in your child’s age group. Of course, fun and creative ideas that you know will engage your child are a bonus. It is an added challenge entertaining kids during the pandemic as parks and community pools have not reopened (as of this writing). Can this candidate list at least a few ideas that would be something new for your kids?
Are you comfortable with infant duties?
Can they change diapers, prepare bottles, or feed an infant? How much experience do they have?
How do you discipline children?
You are trying to determine if their methods gel with your standards. They may mention time outs, taking away a special treat, or talking firmly with a child. You must tell them your rules. Now is the time to explain that you do not believe in spanking or any type of physical discipline. They must respect your views. Note their demeanor.
How do you get an infant down for a nap?
You want to see indicators of patience. Ask them to tell you about a time when they were in a difficult or frustrating situation with a child. Assess how well they dealt with it.
When is it proper to let a baby cry and for how long?
You should reach an agreement on this. It helps if you share the same philosophy.
If you were hiring a babysitter for your own children, what would you look for?
You will discover if your applicant values kindness and nurturing qualities or if they would simply want someone who is on time and tidy. See if your ideas match up.
What are your strengths and weaknesses?
Listen for key qualities like patience, kindness, creativity, or love of kids. You want to hear honesty when they describe the areas they are working on.
What work are you doing now? Why are you leaving?
Their answers will give you a sense of any difficulties in their past working relationships and an idea of their long-term plans.
What are your thoughts on child abuse?
Let them answer in general to see if they understand the concept. Ask if they have ever witnessed child abuse in any of the homes they have worked in. Have they ever been accused of hurting a child? You want them to know that you are very vigilant around this issue. You need to see if you can talk with them about preventing abuse in your home. Ask them if they would be willing to take a professional course about healthy boundaries and abuse prevention.
Does your state have age guidelines?
State by State Guidelines for Leaving Kids Home Alone
At what age is my kid old enough to stay home alone?
Age & Time Recommendations for Leaving Kids Home Alone
Prep Your Home
Get Your House Ready to Leave Your Kids Home Alone
Teach your Kids the Following 9 Skills
9 Skills to Teach Your Child
Activity: Prep for the Do’s and Don’ts
DOs and DON’Ts When I’m Home Alone
Activity: What will I do when home alone?
What I’ll Do When I’m Home Alone (Kids’ Home Alone Activity List)
Play the What if Game
Situations to Discuss With a Child Who Will Be Home Alone
Home Alone Starter Kit
Get Your FREE Home Alone Starter Kit
Preview My Body is Special and
Belongs to Me, Click here
Gather your children and join Cherie for a reading of My Body is Special and Belongs to Me
HOW BIG IS THE PROBLEM?
Child sexual abuse is a significant but preventable public health problem. Many children wait to report or never report child sexual abuse.
91% of chid sexual abuse is perpetrated by someone the child or child’s family knows.
Experiencing child sexual abuse is an adverse childhood experience (ACE) that can affect how a person thinks, acts, and feels over a lifetime, resulting in short- and long-term physical and mental/emotional health consequences.
The total lifetime economic burden of child sexual abuse in the United States in 2015 was estimated to be at least $9.3 billion. Although this is likely an underestimate of the true impact of the problem since child sexual abuse is underreported.
#QUESTION OF THE WEEK
Q: How do you best vet a babysitter?
Many of us need to leave our child with a nanny or babysitter. Finding the right person to trust with this responsibility is a very big decision. Often, parents aren’t sure what questions to ask, how personal they can be, or even where to begin. Here are some useful tips: Before you meet the potential…
National Sexual Assault Hotline
Hours: Available 24 hours
is the nation's largest anti-sexual violence organization. RAINN created and operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800.656.HOPE, online.rainn.org y rainn.org/es) in partnership with more than 1,000 local sexual assault service providers across the country and operates the DoD Safe Helpline for the Department of Defense. RAINN also carries out programs to prevent sexual violence, help survivors, and ensure that perpetrators are brought to justice.
Savvy Parents Safe Kids
Our mission is to teach and promote child safety best practices and prevention programs that empower parents, professionals and community leaders to help protect our children from harm's way.
Increasing child safety is the number one priority of AllianceNow, and we believe that the key to keeping our children safe is in community connections. We aim to improve the resources available to the community by facilitating partnerships and providing services that address public issues. Right now, with the current state of the world, we are focusing on at-home resources and tools that will bring awareness, educate, and promote community. AllianceNow is able to continue in this mission through private funders and generous donations from individuals like you.
Get involved. Empower. Encourage. Educate.
Hotline Contact Information
Phone: 800.4.A.CHILD (800.422.4453)
People They Help: Child abuse victims, parents, concerned individuals
Help for Parents
National Parent Helpline®
Phone: 855.4APARENT (855.427.2736) (available 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., PST, weekdays)
People They Help: Parents and caregivers needing emotional support and links to resources
Child Sexual Abuse
Darkness to Light
Phone: 866.FOR.LIGHT (866.367.5444)
People They Help: Children and adults needing local information or resources about sexual abuse
National Human Trafficking Hotline
People They Help: Victims of human trafficking and those reporting potential trafficking situations
National Domestic Violence Hotline
Phone: 800.799.SAFE (800.799.7233)
Video Phone Only for Deaf Callers: 206.518.9361
People They Help: Children, parents, friends, offenders
National Alliance on Mental Illness
Phone: 800.950.NAMI (800.950.6264) (available 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., ET, weekdays)
People They Help: Individuals, families, professionals