Today, October 6, the United States observes Child Health Day, proclaimed by President Calvin Coolidge in 1928. The day focuses on creating an awareness of ways to minimize or alleviate health problems that children may face, including asthma, diabetes and obesity.
It’s also the perfect opportunity to sit down with your young child and share some Play It Safe rules.
Abbie Schiller is the CEO of The Mother Company, which provides tools to teach young children about safety, and author of a new children’s book, “Miles is the Boss of His Body,” about a 6-year-old who is uncomfortable with people patting, pinching and hugging him and finally draws the line.
Abbie shares six rules grownups should teach kids to Play It Safe.
“I Am the Boss of My Body!”
- Every child should feel their body belongs to them, and they can be the ‘boss of it.’ Being the boss of your body means they have the right to say no to any kind of touch, even if it’s from someone they usually care about. It’s not that all touching is bad, but sometimes a child doesn’t want a tickle or a hug from someone.
“I know my name, address and phone number, and my parent’s names too”
- Don’t forget: kids need to know their parents’ cell phone numbers.
“I never go anywhere or take anything from someone I don’t know.”
“I must check first with my parent or guardian for permission before I go anywhere, change my plans, or get into a car, even it it’s with someone I know. If I can’t check first, then the answer is NO!”
- Remind your child about the “check first rule” whenever you’re on your way to the park, a party or event, or even when they’re playing outside. “Check first” is a great way to monitor what someone is asking from your child.
“If I ever get lost in a public place, I can freeze & yell or go to a Mom with kids and ask for help.”
- Studies have shown that another mom with kids will be most sympathetic to a lost, frightened child and will stay with that child until the problem is resolved.
“I will always pay attention to my special inner voice, especially if I get an ‘Uh-Oh’ feeling.”
- That’s a child-friendly way to describe our instinct, when someone or something just doesn’t seem right. It’s crucial to teach kids to listen to their “uh-oh feeling.” You can say to your child: The “uh-oh” feeling is the little voice in your head that tells you “Uh-oh, this doesn’t seem right.” We want our children to feel comfortable telling us anytime they get an “uh-oh feeling.” It’s an empowering message for kids to know they can trust that feeling AND they can share that feeling with us at anytime.