Safety Tips - Talking to Children
What To Say When Talking to Your Children:
- Avoid scary details. Include general information when speaking to children. You know more than your child needs to know. Use language that is honest and age-appropriate (e.g. "there are people who do bad things to children").
- If your children could possibly have contact with a registered sex offender, you should show your children the sex offender's photo. In a manner that does not incite panic: instruct your children to avoid contact with the offender, even if the offender's offenses of conviction does not involve an offense against a child. Instruct them to avoid being in the vicinity of the offender's residence or workplace.
- Encourage your children to tell you if the sex offender initiates contact with them. Review the public safety materials with your children.
- Encourage your children to tell you about any contact from any other person who makes them feel uncomfortable. It is important to teach your children about appropriate and inappropriate contact and to encourage regular discussion about their interactions with other people.
- Teach your children: DON'T take rides from strangers; DON'T harass or visit any sex offender's home or yard; DO tell a safe adult if anyone acts inappropriately toward them (e.g. creepy, too friendly, threatening, offering gifts in a secret way, or touching them); DO RUN, SCREAM, and GET AWAY if someone is bothering them; DON'T keep secrets; DON'T assist strangers; DON'T go places alone; DO ask questions and DO talk about any uncomfortable feelings or interactions.
- Make it a habit to LISTEN to your children and to believe them. If a child feels listened to and believed about small everyday things, they are more likely to share the big scary things with you. Be sensitive to changes in your child's behavior. Pay attention to your child's feelings.