“Christmas, it’s the most wonderful time of the year. Except for toddlers. Christmas can be a really dysregulating and overwhelming time of the year for many small people. This year will probably be even more so for many of our little ones who have spent the majority of the last 12 months in lockdown.” advices Sarah Bolitho, Positive Parenting Specialist from Secure Foundations.
How can we help combat this and prepare our children for this busy holiday period?
Busy Books Australia has a range of fun, engaging, interactive and educational Busy Books suitable for ages 18 months to 7 years of age. Our Busy Books and services not only covers the topics in the Busy Books, but also helps you as parents to open important conversations with your children. Our VIP Group provides you with access to our Panel of Experts, a range of therapists whom share with the VIP Group strategies on how to get the most out of your Busy Books and start those important conversations. Today we would like to share with you an amazing article by one of the Busy Books Australia Panel of Experts, Sarah Bolitho, a Positive Parenting Specialist from Secure Foundations. This article is written based on our My Body Mindfulness Time Busy Book in relation to incorporating body positivity and protective behaviours, which is especially important for our children around the holiday season.
“As a former child protection practitioner and sexual abuse investigator I’m passionate about supporting parents to hold protective behaviour conversations with their children from a very young age. Using teachable moments through play can help your little one to explore ideas of consent and body autonomy especially around Christmas time when many children will be surrounded by people they may not know. Parents often worry about offending people, my message is always “your child’s safety is always more important”.
For a simple activity from page 1 use the prompts on the page to match the body parts. Extend this conversation by talking to children about their private and public parts and use the correct anatomical names for these parts. Practise talking about sexual matters before your children reach an age where they may become reluctant. Use this an opportunity to discuss your house rules, things like:
- We can only touch our private parts when no one is around or in the bathroom
- We wear our underpants when playing with our brother/sister
- We use our penis to do wees
- When you’re playing if someone stays ‘stop’, you must stop
- If someone asks for space we must give them some
Depending on the age and stage of your little one you could extend this to discuss safety messages:
- Children can always decide who gets to touch them
- They always have the right to say no to touch
- We will always listen to and trust what they say
- Develop a code word or action that signals that they are uncomfortable if around unfamiliar (or familiar) people
Help them to recognise Early Warning Signs when feeling unsafe.
Notice when they have butterflies in their stomachs, or jelly legs, or they have a sore stomach or feel like running away.”
This is such an important message to help empower our children and support them during the busy holiday season. Thank you Sarah Bolitho from Secure Foundations for sharing this with us. If you like what you see here you can check out more of Sarahs articles on how to use our Busy Books to assist you with your parenting in our VIP Group and you can learn more about Sarah and what she does at www.securefoundations.com.au