Last week we started to look at reducing the risk of child sexual abuse from people around children, specifically during babysitting. This week we are talking about sleepovers and how adults can help kids be safer from sexual abuse while they’re staying away from home.
Because some sexual abuse happens during care moments, sleepovers are safer when your kids can bath, toilet and dress themselves. Before this, it is a good idea to restrict sleepovers to people you know best.
Before the sleepover, check out the plans for the night. Find out who will be supervising and find out where the kids will be sleeping and who else will be there. Check with your kids whether they genuinely want to sleepover with the other children. Make sure that they’re not feeling pressured or attracted by something else in the house like games, toys, xbox etc. and that they will not have access to R rated games/movies/internet.
You can let the adults at the sleepover know about your family’s ‘touching rules’ and ‘no secrets’ rule in your family by saying something like “oh I thought I should probably mention that if Jo says something like ‘I’m not allowed to keep secrets’ or mentions ‘touching rules’, that it’s something our family has recently put in place. Touching rules are rules for private parts and say that it is ok to touch your own, it is not ok to touch someone else’s, and it is not ok for someone else to touch yours’. It is something we are heard about through HELP: Auckland. If you have any questions about any of it, please sing out”.
Arrange to call your child before bedtime to check their comfort levels. Make sure they know they can phone at any time – even in the middle of the night- if they are worried or concerned. It can help to arrange this in front of the sleepover parents so they know what you will be doing.
This Week’s Activities
Make a reminder list in your phone to use when your child has sleepovers. The list could include prompts like: