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Child Personal Safety for Preschoolers

Talk to Your Child About Inappropriate Touching by Others

It is appropriate and important to teach children as young as age four about personal safety. The Children's Trust sponsors a child personal-safety training program that helps teachers, parents, and other child services professionals learn how to teach children to protect themselves from dangerous or abusive situations. This training is presented in the same way we teach our children to cross the street safely and react appropriately in a fire drill. Four, five, and six year old children can begin talking with you about personal safety and learn skills through the directives below. Help your child learn these steps to protect himself should he encounter a dangerous or abusive situation. Through this training, when we are not with our children, they still have the knowledge and state of mind to do the right thing in the worst possible situation. For more information about the curriculum, visit www.childrenstrustma.org.

Child personal safety tips for young children

  • Teach your child to know and say his first name and last name.
  • Discuss with your child what he can do to make sure other children do not get lost.
  • Teach your child about the “buddy system” and how to use it.
  • Help your child remember that guns are not toys. If someone wants to play with a gun, he should say, “No, that's not safe,” and then tell a grown-up about the gun.
  • Teach your child the “always-ask-first-rule.” Teach your child that he must always ask you or another person in charge first to go somewhere with someone. Your child must understand that he must ask first to go away with someone. Practice the “always-ask-first-rule” with your child.
  • Tell your child that if someone is touching him and he wants them to stop, he can and needs to say words that mean “No!” Let your child know, the person must stop the touching. Similarly, if your child is touching someone else and that person says, “No,” your child needs to be respectful and stop.
  • Help your child practice safety rules , like saying “No,” getting away, and telling a responsible grown up.
  • Your child should know this rule: A bigger person should not touch a child's private body parts except to keep them clean and healthy. If someone does, a child needs to say words that mean “No.” Then get away and tell a grown up.
  • "I want to play with my dollhouse." Decide on a phrase your children can use so they can let you know if they ever feel unsafe at a group gathering.
  • Tell your child to never keep a secret about touching. Surprises like a birthday party are OK, but teach your child that there are no family secrets.

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