One of the questions Kids Have Rights educators are asked by children in the classroom is, “What do I do if someone gives me touches that are not safe when I am away from home?”
When your child is spending time away from home, it is important to have conversations which will help them be prepared if a situation occurs where they feel uncomfortable or unsafe.
Playdates and sleepovers are fun and exciting for children. Yet, if something should happen where they feel uncomfortable or unsafe while away from home, it can be challenging for them to make on the spot decisions and know what to do next. Discussion before they go, and “what if” type situations help kids feel prepared and give them knowledge on what to do if something happens they are not comfortable with while they are away at camp or at a friend’s house for a playdate or sleepover.
A conversation about safety while spending time away from home doesn’t need to be a long lecture or include scary details. Children need clear, concise ideas on how to handle tough situations. One way to start the conversation is talking about how there may be occasions where the time away from home isn’t working out to be fun. If they get a funny feeling inside about something a friend, another kid, a teenager or grown-up wants them to do that makes them feel unsafe or uncomfortable they can always call you. Your family might have a code word your child can use when they need to be picked up. Or they might simply say, “Things aren’t going well. I need you to pick me up.” Helping them be prepared ahead of time gives them the tools if they need to use them.
Reassure your child they won’t be in trouble for calling you, your job is to make sure they are safe.