The things we see and read about in the news these days are enough to give any parent nightmares, no matter what the age of your child may be. We can’t imagine a person actually committing heinous crimes like these and yet they happen.
It isn’t possible to wrap our kids in bubble sheets and lock them up at home, but we can empower them by informing them about preventing unwanted touches and what to do in the event when something unfortunate happens. Most parents have a difficulty in beginning the conversation, so here are a few books that can help start the discussion with your young child.
1. ‘Your Body belongs to You’ by Cornelia Spelman
We also have other books by Cornelia Spelman and are fans of her writing. She explains matters in simple, short sentences and deals with topics pertaining to a child’s emotional health.
She defines what private parts are, and that a child can say no if he/she doesn’t want a hug or to be touched. Easy reading to kids aged 3 and above.
2. ‘Some Parts are not for sharing’ by Julie K. Fredrico
This is the ideal book to start talking about bodies and touches to a very young child, without too many details. The use of fish and simple sentences give a more ‘cartoonish’ effect that can help start the discussion in your home. Good for children 3 and above.
Rather than focusing only on good and bad touching, this book focuses on good and bad secrets. A surprise party is a good secret, but not an improper touch. Considering that most offenders tell the kids to keep the abuse a secret, this is a very useful book. An overall good read for kids aged 4 and above.
4. ‘I can play it safe’ by Alison Feigh
This again, is a general book about children’s safety, but in very kid friendly language. This book talks about what should be kept a secret, and about always checking in with home base and creating a community of trusted adults. Pretty much a must have book for kids aged 4 and above.
5. ‘I Can Be Safe: A First Look at Safety’ by Pat Thomas
Similar to the above recommendation, personal safety rules are explained in a non-scary way. Being aware of what to do in a certain situation helps kids feel more prepared and less likely to panic. Perfect for kids aged 4 and above.
6. ‘Reena’s Bollywood Dream: A Story about Sexual Abuse’ by Jewel Kats
A story for slightly older kids and closer home, considering the family in the book has relocated from India to America. Reena wants to be a Bollywood star, a passion shared by her uncle. But when he makes a video of her, she begins to feel something’s wrong. A great book to prove that you needn’t be afraid to tell your parents if you feel something’s not right. Suitable for ages 7 and above.
7. ‘Uncle Willy’s Tickles: A Child’s right to say No’ by Marcie Aboff
This is a good book especially for timid kids who might not have the courage to say ‘No’ to someone, especially a known adult. This book helps them realise that they aren’t going to be considered rude or bad if they reject anyone’s advances. This is especially important in an Indian scenario, where all children are given a blanket rule of respecting and obeying all elders. Good for kids aged 4 and up.
All these books are available on Amazon, and thus accessible to all. I hope they are of some help in helping our kids get informed and learn to keep themselves safe at all times. The more aware we become as a society, the more perpetrators will think before committing a crime.
Fabida Abdulla is a former software engineer turned stay at home Mother Lion to her four-year old son, whom she calls ‘The Cub’. She blogs about her crazy life at Shocks and Shoes.