We want the holidays merry; we want our children to experience wonder and joy that’ll eventually be treasured memories. Child safety expert and public speaker, Jill Goetz of SavvyParentsSafeKids offers this guest post to help parents support their children in setting up and then respecting boundaries when friends and family come knocking for the holidays.
The Holidays are here! November, December and January are busy months for families in America celebrating national and religious holidays. There are family dinners and event with friends stopping by. Many traditions involve visiting loved ones far away, or spending extra time with those nearby. As we raise safe children we want to endow them with three types of boundaries; physical, personal and relational. This holiday season is the perfect time to check in with your children regarding physical boundaries.
Do they have to sit on Santa’s lap? NOPE
Do they have to hug the neighbor? NOPE
Do they have to kiss Grandma? NOPE
We are NOT encouraging you to raise anti-social, rude children. We ARE empowering you to raise children aware of their own ability to determine who can touch their body, when and how. It is the beginning lesson as we teach consent, and it is the backbone of self-protection.
Before the next large social event begins, ask your child how they would like to greet the guests and family members. Hugs, kisses, handshakes and hi-fives are great. Pound it! BOOM! Some children prefer a verbal greeting which is totally acceptable as well. If your child is especially shy, or slow-to-warm in social settings then stay close and offer them the support they need. Be observant. Whether visiting a new location or places you’ve been before be sure to step in if other adults are attempting physical contact after your child has made it obvious that contact is unwanted.
About the Author: Jill Goetz is the Early Education Specialist at SavvyParentsSafeKids. She is certified MERIT trainer and holds a Masters Degree in Education. Prior to joining Savvy Parents Safe Kids, she had extensive experience working as a preschool teacher, center director and school administrator. As a parent, she knows the importance of keeping children safe and is excited about her role in sharing the prevention piece and educating families to raise kids who will be safer within our community