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Body Safety Programme

Good Touch / Bad Touch is a body-safety program that teaches our children a comfortable way to talk about a very sensitive problem. Children are taught what abuse is, personal body-safety rules, who can help them and what to do if they are threatened or harmed. Good Touch / Bad Touch teaches children vital safety skills on a developmental level compatible with their age group. The lessons are positive and taught according to values such as respect for oneself and others, compassion, humour, honesty, caring and responsibility.

Informing children of the following concepts helps to reduce their vulnerability to abuse:

  1. Touch can be good, bad or confusing.
  2. Children are precious and have the right to know all the safety rules.
  3. Children can say “NO!” to touches they don’t like.
  4. Children can tell a trusted adult if they ever have a problem with sexual abuse, bullying or other confusing touches.
  5. Abuse is NEVER the child’s fault.
Explain to your child that there are three kinds of touches. The three kinds of touches are:
Safe touches –

These are touches that keep children safe and are good for them, and that make children feel cared for and important. Safe touches can include hugging, pats on the back, and an arm around the shoulder. Safe touches can also include touches that might hurt, such as removing a splinter. Explain to children that when you remove a splinter, you are doing so to keep them healthy, which makes it a safe touch.

Unsafe touches- These are the touches that hurt children’s bodies or feelings (for example, hitting, pushing, pinching, and kicking). Teach children that these kinds of touches are not okay.

Unwanted touches- These are the touches that might be safe but that a child doesn’t want from that person or at that moment. It is okay for a child to say “no” to an unwanted touch, even if it is from a familiar person. Help your children practice saying “no” in a strong, yet polite voice. This will help children learn to set personal boundaries. Become Your Child’s Best Friend – Spend quality time with your children. Listen to them when they are sharing about what they did during the day. Assure them that they can share anything with you.

Make Them Understand the difference between Good and Bad Touch
  • Good Touch – It feels, pleasant and good, it is a way to show care, love and help. Explain with the help of examples like when mommy hugs you or papa gives you a goodnight kiss or your grandparents hold you in their arms and you hold your friend’s hands while playing.
  • Bad Touch – Touches that make you uncomfortable and you feel unpleasant and you want to stop it there and then. Again, use some examples to explain them like, it is a bad touch if you feel hurt, if you do not want to be touched, if someone touches your private parts without a reason, if someone touches you and tells you not to tell anyone, all these are examples of a bad touch.
When someone touches them in a wrong way teach them to
  • Say no! Tell the person that you don’t like it and you don’t want to be touched.
  • Get away fast! Run away from the person whose touch you don’t like. Never stay alone with that person ever again.
  • Call for help. You can scream.
  • Believe in yourself. You did nothing wrong.
  • If someone touches you in the wrong way, tell someone you trust what has happened. Don’t let threats scare you into running away or keeping quiet. When a person touches you and asks you to keep it a secret between the two of you, ask yourself, “Does the secret bother me?”
  • Don’t keep secrets that make you feel uncomfortable. Go to a person you trust-a parent, a relative, a teacher, or your doctor. If the person you go to doesn’t believe you, go to someone else you trust until someone believes you and helps you.
  • Do everything you can to stay away from the person who is touching you in the wrong way or making you feel uncomfortable. Don’t stay alone with a person who touches you in a way that makes you uncomfortable or makes you feel unsafe.
Relaxation Coping Skills: 
Coping skills are activities anyone can do to help manage difficult thoughts and feelings or challenging situations. It’s important for everyone to know and use coping skills.  Not all coping skills work in every situation, so it’s good to have a variety to help manage different challenges.
When I think about coping skills, I tend to divide them into 5 categories  – Relaxation, Movement, Distraction, Processing and Sensory coping skills. In this post, We are focusing on Relaxation Coping Skills, those skills designed to help your child calm down, settle and chill out.
Keep in mind that not all coping skills will work for all people.  For example, yoga does not work for my son, but my daughter loves it. Even if you think your child won’t benefit from a particular coping strategy, try it first to see if it will work before crossing it off the list.
At School:
These coping skills can be used as a transition, maybe at the beginning of the day, after lunch/recess, or as an end of the day or end of the week activity. These can also be used when a child is starting to get anxious or worried or stressed to help them calm down and relax.
I once worked with a child who would pick a random number like 76 and count to it to help him calm down.  Have your child pick a number and count to it.
5 4 3 2 1 Grounding:
Using your senses to help kids calm down and relax. Kids look for 5 things they see, 4 things they feel, 3 things they hear, 2 things they smell, and 1 thing they taste
Imagine your favorite place: 
A child’s imagination is a powerful tool to use to help them take a mini vacation to their favorite place, no matter where they are.
Use a calming jar / relaxation jar: 
This is an activity that can be done with one child in a one on one setting, in a small group, or even in a large class setting. Kids shake up their jars and watch the glitter settle to the ground. As the glitter settles, encourage them to settle their mind too.
At home:
You might want to try one of these before school, before sitting down to start homework or before bed. Here are a few coping skills that can be helpful when you want your child to calm their energy or get settled to do work.
Just try a few yoga poses and see how it feels.  It helps kids take deep breaths and relax.
Take a shower / bath: 
Some kids absolutely love to relax by taking a bath. Add bubbles, even play some soothing music.
Take a mindful walk:
Taking a walk and getting out in nature is a great way for kids to calm down. Take a few minutes of the walk and make it mindful – have them use their senses and focus on what they notice – what do they smell? what do they notice with their eyes? what do they hear? It’s a great way to introduce mindfulness to kids!
Progressive muscle relaxation:
The body responds to stress with muscle tension, which can cause pain or discomfort. In turn, tense muscles relay to the body that it’s stressed, which keeps the stress–muscle-tension cycle going. Progressive muscle relaxation helps break this cycle by reducing muscle tension and general mental anxiety. Progressive muscle relaxation often helps people get to sleep.
You can use a recording to help you go through all the muscle groups, or you can just learn the order of muscle groups and work through them from memory.
  1. Choose a place where you can lie down on your back and stretch out comfortably, such as a carpeted floor.
  2. Inhale and tense each muscle group (like squeezing a lemon) for 4 to 10 seconds, then exhale and suddenly and completely relax the muscle group (do not relax it gradually). Give yourself 10 to 20 seconds to relax.
  3. When you are finished, return to alertness by counting backwards from 5 to 1.
Muscle groups and how to tense them
  • Hands: Clench them.
  • Wrists and forearms: Extend them and bend your hands back at the wrist.
  • Biceps and upper arms: Clench your hands into fists, bend your arms at the elbows, and flex your biceps.
  • Shoulders: Shrug them.
  • Forehead: Wrinkle it into a deep frown.
  • Around the eyes and bridge of the nose: Close your eyes as tightly as possible. (Remove contact lenses before beginning the exercise.)
  • Around the mouth: Press your lips together tightly. (Check your facial area for tension.)
  • Back of the neck: Press your head back hard.
  • Front of the neck: Touch your chin to your chest. (Check your neck and head for tension.)
  • Chest: Take a deep breath and hold it, then exhale.
  • Back: Arch your back up and away from the floor.
  • Stomach: Suck it into a tight knot. (Check your chest and stomach for tension.)
  • Hips and buttocks: Press the buttocks together tightly.
  • Thighs: Clench them hard.
  • Lower legs: Point your toes toward your face, as if trying to bring the toes up to touch your head. Then point your toes away and curl them downward at the same time. (Check the area from your waist down for tension.)
 Deep Breathing:
There are many different ways to talk with kids about deep breathing. A simple one is to tell kids to breathe in like they are smelling a flower and breathe out like they are blowing out birthday candle.