What our kids should know about “safety”?
Zainab’s bone-chilling murder has shook us to the core. It has made us all question our role as parents and guardians to safeguard our younger generation. There is a general feeling of grief, outrage and utter disbelief at the sheer ineffectiveness our society. It has also brought to light an issue that needs to be immediately addressed instead of being swept under the carpet. Instead of piling u all the blame onto the government, we need to make conscious efforts to educate our kids and play our own role in preventing such heinous crimes.
Its about time that we become proactive as parents and educators and establish open lines of communication with our kids specially the school going kids who fall between the vulnerable age bracket of 5 to 15 years. Each stakeholder needs to be aware of his responsibility in preventing child abuse. The schools need to devise regulatory protocol to prevent such incidents at the school premises. However, it is never too early to talk about “safety” to kids.
Never go to an out-of-the-way isolated spot with anybody
Children should be clearly told to never accompany anyone to a secluded spot, be it a school teacher, an aya baji, the chowkeedaar chacha or even a senior student. Parents should clearly pinpoint one or two trusted personnel at school whom the children can approach in case they feel threatened or even uncomfortable around anyone.
Kids should have appropriate contact information
Children should know their way around their local neighborhood. They should be made to memorize important phone numbers of their parents and guardians not to be disclosed to strangers.
Any food item/treat from a stranger is a big NO
Children should be told to clearly and unequivocally refuse any eatable offered to them by a stranger.
Children’s belongings should not have their name tags on them
Do not label their school bags or water bottles in a manner that may facilitate a stranger to know their names and use that as a conversation starter with kids.
Be involved in their school activities
As parents we need to be more vigilant and actively keep an eye on their school activities, schedule and friends. Try to be in contact with parents of other kids at school so that they are aware of the general scheme of things at school.
Children should be aware of helplines and school emergency protocol
At the classroom level, children should be introduced to emergency helplines like Rescue 1122 and emergency management procedures. A school counselor available at all times in school can be a means to identify potential risks.
Be approachable to your kids
Always be ready to listen to their grievances and problems. Children should always feel safe and protected around their parents so that they never hesitate to confide in them.
Respect their bodies
They should be counseled about the concept of good touch and bad touch and how their private parts are a NO touch area for anybody. If they do not feel comfortable with hugging or kissing any relatives or visitors do not force them to do so. Teach them to politely refuse.
Do not over share your children’s information on social media
Oh yes its all the rage these days but our children’s safety is much more important than a few social media likes!!!!!!
May Allah protect all our children and safeguard their innocence.