Safely Ever After
This October we welcomed Pattie Fitzgerald back to WLAPOM for her amazing KIDZ-POWER presentation via Zoom! Patty is the founder/author of Safely Ever After and has produced multiple books on child safety.
Pattie has appeared in person for many of our WLAPOM speaker events in the past - and is always a club favorite. You can read our notes here; and also watch the 'parents only' section of her talk by following the link below.
NB. We have intentionally not included parts of the talk which included our kids; or the Q&A at the end - but this 22min clip provides some GREAT insights:
** Safely Ever After "KIDZ POWER" with Pattie Fitzgerald
The documents/print-outs she mentions can also been downloaded here:
** 2021 SEA Coloring Pages
** 2021 BOOKLET RAISING SAFE KIDS
Try to be calm and lighthearted when talking to your kids about safety and important or scary stuff. Speak in a silly, smiley voice.
Pay attention to who's paying attention to your kids. Introduce yourself to whatever adults are spending time with them: "Marissa tells me all the time about you and how math class is hard!"
How well do you know the family? Have you been in that house? Are their older kids who are crazy or also have their friends over? Is it the babysitter or the nanny or the parents?
What have you taught your child? Do they know the No Secrets Rule?
With new families, you could say, "That's so nice, thank you! But I am always more comfortable going along on the first playdate with a new family. Hope you understand." Or ask to have the playdate in a public space. Minimize risk.
Try sleepunders: Parents tag along and you go home by 9pm. No kid really likes sleeping over at someone else's house, anyway.
Make a very short list of approved households and post it on the refrigerator.
Does the parent watching the kids have a new boyfriend or girlfriend over?
Respect that parents have different comfort levels about indoor/outdoor playdates at this time.
If available, get your kids vaccinated and/or tested - and don't make a big deal about it.
Speaking with another child who's pulling your child on the playground:
"Hi, I'm Marissa's mom and she's not really good on the slide yet. I'd really like it if you didn't pull her legs, please. Thank you!" This way you're not "discipling" or "confronting" their child.
Answering questions about death and dying:
Figure out what the child is communicating to you.
Dictate (repeat) back what they say. "What do you think?"
"It's very unusual that an adult or kid gets that sick from Covid, and our family is doing all the right things that we can to stay healthy."
Ask them what it is that they want to know or what they fear.
Take into consideration their parents' beliefs (if you know).
Let the child do more talking. "Wow, you've got a lot of Covid information! Tell me more!" As adults we often overtalk or give too much info.
"What happens when we die?" Keep it simple: "Our bodies and hearts stop beating and they just rest now."
Anytime you're not feeling okay about a proposal, it's okay. "I'm just not comfortable with that suggestion of taking Little Suzy to Disneyland, so I'm going to ask that you not bring it up again."
"Tell me what you did with Coach Joe today, and the lunch lady, etc." Make it seem like you're asking about a couple specific people and include the person you want to know more about.
You don't want to make "yucky feeling" just about private parts. It could feel "yucky" when someone pops them on the head, etc. Teach them to listen to their instincts without bringing shame into it.
Your child's welfare is the most important thing. If your kids sees you react to something very angrily or with a lot of fear, they're going to shut down on you. The first thing I say to them is "Wow, I'm so glad you're telling me. Tell me more. I might need to go tell them about the rules we have. You didn't do anything wrong, it's not your fault." You can get mad and angry later when you're calling the cops, but stay calm in front of your kid.
Ask yourself if you need to call Child Protective Services or the School Principal, or tell other parents?