I am finishing up as the part time Young People’s Services Librarian at Coolbellup to pursue a full time teacher librarian position commencing at the end of this month. I have dearly loved my Storytime sessions at Coolbellup Public Library and have enjoyed the easy rapport with parents and children. Our Storytime on Protective Behaviours on the 2oth of October 2014 was especially important and well received so I thought I would share this as my last blog post.
Teaching our children Protective Behaviours from an early age is vitally important in limiting the potential exploitation of children’s vulnerabilities and innocence. While the topic of child sex abuse is sensitive and can feel incredibly daunting to tackle as a parent, there are wonderful resources and strategies we can use to teach and protect our children and I’m going to share some of these with you:
Everyone’s Got A Bottom written by Tess Rowley and illustrated by Jodi Edwards
Everyone’s Got A Bottom is an very age appropriate book which informs young children of the specific names of their private parts in a very matter of fact and normal way. Using everyday situations the book explains the anatomical differences between boys and girls, why we wear clothes, as well as the natural progression of wanting more privacy as we get older. A version of the phrase “From my head to my toes I can say what goes” is repeated on every page and is something you can encourage your child to repeat with you when you read the book together. This is my friend’s three year old daughter’s favourite book and they read it at home regularly. As we only have one copy is circulation at the moment, I’d recommend reserving it using the library website. If it’s a real winner in your household, purchasing a copy from the Protective Behaviours WA website might be a worthwhile investment so you can read it together often.
Your Body Belongs to You written by Cornelia Spelman and illustrated by Teri Weidner
Further reinforcement that private parts should not be touched by others unless they are helping you go to the toilet or are a doctor examining you, is Cornelia Spelman’s Your Body Belongs to You. This book also conveys the message that it’s nice to be kissed and hugged, but we can say when we don’t want to be hugged or kissed by people at times by saying so. “My body belongs to me“ is a phrase repeated throughout this book. While we don’t have a copy in our collection, we do have a number of books available on a similar vein including: I’m The Boss of Me, My Body is Special and Belongs to Me, My Body Rules, and lastly Some Parts Are Not For Sharing. Your Body Belongs to You can be requested through inter library loans by library staff.
I’m The Boss of Me
written by Laura Fogarty and illustrated by Remi Bryant
My Body is Special and Belongs to Me
written by Sally Berenzweig and Cherie Benjoseph and illustrated by Lilah Cohen
My Body Rules
written by Caryn Anderson and Melanie Howe, and illustrated by Anne-Laure Simon and Danneil Hunt
Some Parts Are Not For Sharing
written by Julie K. Federico
Jasmine’s Butterflies written by Justine O’Malley and illustrated by Carey Lawrence
“NO! GO! TELL!” is a strong message your children can learn from Jasmine’s Butterflies. In this story Jasmine gets separated from her class on an excursion to the zoo and tries to ask different animals for help. This book assists children in recognising unsafe feelings and what to do when they are feeling unsafe or become lost.
Some Secrets Should Never Be Kept by Jayneen Saunders and illustrated by Craig Smith.
Some Secrets Should Never Be Kept tells the story of a little boy, Sir Alfred, being taken advantage of by his mother’s employer, Lord Henry. Sir Alfred learns that no matter what another person threatens or how much power they seem to have, some secrets should never be kept. Although a slightly heavier approach to the topic of Protective Behaviours for children, it is a valuable book in facilitating discussion with your children on very real, yet challenging issues. The book has a foreword containing contact details for Child Wise website and Child Wise National Child Abuse Prevention Helpline 1800 991 099.
A Rhyme to use with your children is Wibbly the Wombat. (See Protective Behaviours Resources for a copy you can read)
How about making Wibbly the Wombat puppets? You will need:
- Paper or thicker card suitable for a printer
- 5 Popsticks
- Crayons or colour pencils
- Glue or sticky tape
- Access to a printer to print out the character sheet (See Protective Behaviours Resources for a copy).
You also might want to use the My Helping Hand Network which involves your child tracing your hand and writing the names of five people they can talk to if they feel sacred or unsafe. You can also use the template attached in resources.
To find all our books on Protective Behaviours in the catalogue, you can enter the term Protective Behaviours into the search bar for all results.
As this is such an important area of education and awareness for children and parents alike we should not shy away from it, but matter of factly go about the process of informing and educating our children. To finish with a quote from somesecrets.info:
“We teach road safety. We teach water safety. Teach Body safety NOW”
If you need further support for your child or yourself you can contact:
- Kids Helpline 1800 551800
- Child Wise National Child Abuse Prevention Helpline 1800 991099
- Or visit the Royal Commission into Child Abuse website for support services specific to your circumstances.
Many thanks go to Genevieve from Protective Behaviours WA for supplying materials for this Storytime and subsequent blog post.
A fond farewell to all at Coolbellup Public Library