Tips From a Salisbury Childcare Center on Holiday Safety

Nov 01, 2022

The holidays can be a great time with family. It’s time to eat good food and make amazing memories. Unfortunately, for many children, this will be a season of duress. Statistics show that the majority of sexual abuse of children comes from family members or close family friends. 

These abusers take time to gain the trust of you and your children. The abuse can begin with actions that seem innocent but can turn into a nightmare. 

Many of us were raised to give hugs and speak to everyone—especially family at events. A few tips to keep your children safe during the holidays.

  1. Have honest conversations with them about safety. Let them know that it doesn’t matter who it is— even a grandparent or sibling— certain touches and actions are not okay. Create an open dialogue about “bad touches” and let them know they can come and tell you about it all. Many children hide abuse for years due to fear of not being believed or shame of the abuse. Your children need to know you are there for them regardless of any bad news. 
  2. Allow your children to say no. Just like you as an adult, your children are not going to like everyone. There might be someone who gives them a bad vibe— listen to them. They are not being disrespectful, they are setting boundaries. Even younger children deserve the respect to decide who they hug and who they don’t. 
  3. Allow you to say no. With many friends and family coming into town for the holidays and children off for winter break, slumber parties with family might be common. It is okay to say no and take your children home. It is okay to not have anyone else come stay at your home. 
  4. Your family will be okay with your boundaries. Sure, they might get offended at first- but respectfully, OH WELL. These are YOUR children. 

The CDC reports that 91% of child sexual abuse cases come from a family member or someone the child already knew. Having these conversations and setting boundaries with families can not only keep your children safe but also put potential abusers on notice— because you’re watching. YOu’re preparing your children with the tools to keep them safe. 

Some practices you can start to prepare your children for these family functions- 

  1. Ask them before you hug or hold them. Just a simple “is it okay if I give you a hug?” While this may sound odd, you are teaching your child that they have the final say over who can touch them. This is a great practice to start young. 
  2. Allowing them to say “no thank you” if they do not want to be touched. Don’t take this personally. Sometimes we as adults don’t want to be touched— and that is okay. 
  3. Ask them specifics about their day. “Who was there, what did you two do together…” normalize asking questions, so your children will pay attention and be ready to answer them next time. 

Yes, some family members will be upset when you say no more sleepovers. Yes, some will be offended when your little one says “no thank you” to a hug. Respectfully— so what?