Sometimes parents or guardians are too careless with the care or the supervision of their young children. They think just because the child is in the backyard that no one has access to her/or him, or that the child can't get into immediate life- threatening situations in a brief second of time. This is a fallacy. Children are innately curious, and can and do get into dangerous situation very quickly. Things to do to keep your children safe.
Keep an eye open: If your children are in the back of the house, or backyard make sure that you have easy visibility of them at all times. If you need to leave, make sure that someone res- ponsible is with them. Don't leave them in the yard, or don't leave her or him alone even for a moment if you have machinery on, such lawn equipment, a washer machine or dryer that they can get into. It sounds impossible but a child can climb into a washer machine or dryer without supervision and immediately be in trouble.
Never underestimate: Many parents are surprised by a child's agility, intelligence, or ability for his or her age. For an example just because your back gate is locked doesn't mean that the child will not be able to maneuver it open, or figure a way out of an enclosed place. Also many predators do not mind that a gate is locked, if they want to steal a child, they will wait for an opportunity and unlock or jump a fence, quickly move in and be gone in a moment. Don't risk it.
Know where children are walking: I have seen very young children and adolescents walking, riding a bike, or on a pair of roller skates that they can't maneuver very well, unaccompanied by any adults on major routes, or isolated streets, or worse near iso- lated parks or industrial sites. Children in this situation become easy and quick targets for predators in cars, or vans. Don't let them be another snatch and grab statistic. Tell them to stay close to your home or yard, and insist that they stay off these major areas.
Back up and Protection: It is important for young children and young adults to know that you are in their corner. That when something becomes very challenging, they will have someone to support them and back up their choices and they will not be left alone. Also children need to feel safe, and it is the adult's job to provide supervision not just to them but to be aware of everyone that is around them and what they are doing with your child. Don't just assume that the child is safe with someone that the family knows, or with other family members. Make sure that the child is safe and that they can tell you when they are not.
If a situation does occur with a relative or a family friend, or even another child, take immediate steps to separate the child from that situation and make sure that it never happens again. That way the child will know that this was not her fault and that you will not allow someone else to hurt her.
Often times when a child is being abused sexually, the abusing adult or older child will manipulate the child into silence, by a blatant threat to the child's mother or caregiver, or to the child her/himself. You need to make sure that the child knows that is not true, and that you are going to protect her/him, and that nothing bad will happen to you or the child if s/he tells you truly what is going on. You need to let them know that you are strong and that you are not going to get hurt.
Be aware of the signs that *** or physical abuse is going on. If a child becomes suddenly despondent, listless or un- focused it could be a sign that is something occurring. If your child really resists a person, and doesn't want to kiss, hug or be held or touched by a particular person, or becomes very dis- turbed if they have to go with that person, don't press the issue. If your child suddenly develops a fixation for her/his own genital area, or adults, or develops a more explicit *** vocabulary than their age, remember they could be repeating what they have been taught. Chronic Nightmares, chronic fits of temper, or the child becoming overly moody or aggressive, chronic constipation, or chronic lack of appetite could be signs that something is going on with your child and they are physically reacting to it. Don't assume that you know what is going on. Ask if someone or something is bothering them. Let them know they are very safe.
Safe touching and affection Children also need a lot of affec- tion and hugs. Tell them that you love them, give them atten- tion, comfort, and touch them in safe affectionate ways. It is important that you speak to children and make them aware of what is safe touching and what is not. In very simple words explain that certain areas are private and only for them. No one else has the right to touch certain areas, such as their mouths, genitals, or buttocks in ways that makes them feel uncom- fortable. Also explain that if anyone does touch them and it hurts or makes them feel uncomfortable, that the child should tell you right away. Let them know that you will listen to them. Assure them that nothing will happen to them. Keep them safe, and it will make all the difference in their world. Make it a safe and happy childhood.
Yoga Kat-aka Katheryn Hoban is a yoga teacher with twelve years experience. She teaches children's yoga ages 3-6, and 7-12 and Adults privately in NJ. She is the author the book DAUGHTER BELOVED which will come out next year. She has created a children's affirmation CD (ages 3-6) and an affirmation CD for adults. Yoga Kat is available for speaking or writing and can be reached at email@example.com or 201 970-9340