In lieu of the horrific events of sexual abuse at Miramonte Elementary school, I wanted to remind my readers that there is a great organization in Santa Monica, run by Pattie Fitzgerald, called, Safely Ever After, a “non fearful safety program for parents and kids.” Fitzgerald teaches safety workshops for kids, and parents, focusing on empowering kids so that they have the tools they need to navigate potentially threatening situations. Fitzgerald offers these tips—reprinted from Safely Ever After’s website with its permission—that she urges parents share with their young children.
Safely Ever After’s “Super Ten Play It Safe Rules for Kids and Grownups”
1. I am the boss of my body.
2. I know my name, address, phone number and my parents’ names.
3. Safe grownups don’t ask kids for help!! They go to other grownups if they need assistance.
4. I never go anywhere or take anything from someone I don’t know.
5. I must check first with my safe-smarts grownup for permission before I go anywhere, change my plans, or get into a car even if it’s with someone I know. If I can’t check first, then the answer is no.
6. Everybody’s bathing suit areas are private.
7. I don’t have to be polite, if someone makes me feel scared or uncomfortable. It’s OK to say no even to a grownup, if I have to.
8. I don’t keep secrets especially if they make me feel scared or uneasy.
9. If I ever get lost in a public place, I can freeze and yell or go to a mom with kids and ask for help.
10. I will always pay attention to my special inner voice, especially if I get an “uh-oh” feeling.
I found the list incredibly helpful and just the right tone to share with my kids. Safely Ever After has a number of helpful resources on its website, in addition to information about how your community could organize a safety workshop.
Also, Fitzgerald reminded me that the old adage “don’t talk to strangers” leaves out an important aspect when speaking to kids about safety. In her program she stresses that what you want to teach your kids is to recognize “tricky” people, as many times people who may take advantage of children are not strangers at all.
She also has a great children’s book on Amazon, called,”No Trespassing, This is my body” that reinforces these tips in a way kids can really understand.