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Hape Your Body Puzzles:  Perfect for preschoolers wanting to learn about their body systems!
We have checked this DVD out from our library a couple different times and our boys LOVE it. Subscribe below for regular updates and a FREE copy of Seasonal Kids Activities and more great freebies!
Unless otherwise stated, each of the activities shared on this blog require adult supervision at ALL times. Children depend on you to keep them safe! 1 in 10 children will be sexually abused by their 18th birthday! As a parent, you have a unique opportunity to educate children about child abuse, child sexual abuse and other important topics that directly impact their safety and well-being. In order to assist you in communicating with your children, family members and the community about child abuse, we have developed a comprehensive list of books and websites for your information. In addition, there are many local and national resources available for your information in learning more about child abuse and how to protect your child and the children in your community.
While talking to your child about keeping their bodies safe may seem a bit uncomfortable, we hope that you will come to view this conversation like any other safety conversation you have with your child. When speaking about specific body parts, we strongly encourage you to use the anatomically correct names of the body. You should firmly but gently explain to your child that no one should ever see or touch the private parts of their body.
Of course, sometimes an adult will need to touch or see the private parts of a child’s body. Even if an adult needs to see the private parts of a child’s body and it’s to keep them clean and healthy, it should be that persons job to do so. Protecting our children from child sexual abuse is all about helping them to learn boundaries. As hard as it might be, don’t pressure your kids into hugging or kissing family members (and this should include you) if it makes them feel uncomfortable. Frequently, we are asked what to do about children touching other children by parents or teachers. It can sometimes be difficult to know what normal sexual behavior is for children as they grow and develop. If your child does tell you about something that is bothering them (even something as small as a playground argument), take the time to really listen. People often want to know the answer to two deceptively difficult questions, “Why do people abuse?” and “How do I know who to trust with my child?”.
However, once you know a little bit about how predators operate, this need for a pre-existing relationship makes sense. The child abuse community often talks about how abusers “groom” children, and that’s true – they do. If your child is involved in an extracurricular or enrichment activity, limit the opportunities your child has to be alone with the supervising adult.
If being alone is critical to the activity, (it’s a one-on-one music lesson, it’s a tutoring session, etc.), try to increase the visibility of the activity. If you are leaving your child for an activity, make sure you know what the adult and the child will be doing. If a child discloses abuse to you, it is very important that you listen without judgment to what the child is telling you. For Day 22 of our 31 Days of Indoor Fun for Toddlers we had fun with this Hokey Pokey Roll & Sing activity!
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We hope it will become as routine as saying, “look both ways before you cross the street,” or “make sure to wash your hands after using the restroom.” We hope you will have this conversation not once, not twice, but all the time.
Allow them this independence and tell them they can always do something by themselves or alone if it is safe to do so.

Children need help developing these boundaries, and most importantly, they need your support. If a child says “stop tickling me,” then stop and let them know that you are stopping because they asked you to do so. We recommend the Healthy Sexual Development Chart as a wonderful resource to assist you in this area. We wish there were easy answers to these questions – it would make protecting children a lot simpler. Some common reasons may be that they wish to exert power and control over a child or they were also abused as a child. The abuser may be a family member, the child’s babysitter or daycare provider, teacher, clergy, neighbor, coach, music instructor, or someone in any other position of trust that allows them access to a child.
It is therefore, still important to talk to your child about basic safety rules concerning strangers (don’t talk to, take anything, or go anywhere with a stranger). The most powerful tool you have to protect your child is to talk to your child (see section above). You should know what other family members are doing with your child, what activities they are involved in, and all adults should sign on to a mantra of no secrets! Sometimes alone time is necessary, but remember, alone time does not have to be unseen time! Set rules, make sure you are comfortable, and make sure you keep communicating with your child. We did a human body study a couple of years ago and topped it off with a brain based obstacle course.
We were looking for information on the digestive system and next month my son wants to study the skeletal system. You can provide your child with information about child abuse and the tools necessary to empower them to stay safe and make good choices. Children forget things (you probably have to remind them to wash their hands every now and again), and they need reinforcement. We’ve included some ideas about how to cover each topic with your child, but you know your child best. Bath time and potty training are great times to incorporate teaching the private parts of the body to your little one. Use examples like uncles, aunts, moms, dads, brothers, sisters, cousins, babysitters, friends of the family, the child’s sport coach, music teacher, and clergy to help your child really understand that you will protect them from anyone that may be hurting them or making them feel uncomfortable. They get to ask questions at the doctor’s office or have a parent in the room to feel more comfortable. Ask your child who the adults are that keep them clean and healthy at home, at school, or elsewhere. Children should know that expressing love and affection is their choice, and they should be able to choose to whom they are affectionate.
If a child knows that you will support their choices about who touches them in daily and routine settings, you are also communicating to them that you will support them if someone touches them in an unnatural or abusive setting.
The truth is that these are very complex questions, and there is no one, easy answer to either question.
If a child or youth forms an online relationship with a person, they may not regard this person as a stranger. Clear, consistent, and early messages from you about what abuse is - that no one should ever touch them inappropriately and that they should tell you if anything ever happens - are your most powerful weapons against abuse. However, if we don’t talk about this possibility, then this allows abusers to continue to operate undetected in families for years.
If your child’s discomfort is new or out of character, ask them about it, listen to what they have to say, be supportive, and if necessary, be protective (proactive?).
The following information will help you to talk with your child about safety at home, in school, and in public areas. You should trust your instincts about how to have this conversation and do what feels the most comfortable.

In our school program, High Five!, we show children this picture of two children at the beach.
It may make them feel like these parts of the body are somehow different, and for a child experiencing sexual abuse, it may make them feel ashamed of their body. No one, it doesn’t matter who it is, should ever see or touch the private parts of your child’s body.
We explain to children that sometimes an adult needs to see or touch their private parts to keep them “clean and healthy” and this is ok. If affection makes them uncomfortable, we must help them to be able to recognize that discomfort and support their decisions. Your child will know that you support them, and they will remember this if they ever do need to tell you something really important. Sometimes an abuser may tell a child that they are not worthy of other people’s love, that a non-offending parent will choose the abuser over the child, or that a child is not special. While understanding an abuser’s actions helps the community with prevention and treatment, abuse should never be excused or diminished. They may treat a child extra special, buy them gifts, or offer to take them places to build a relationship. This helps to gain them access to children and it is counter to our stereotypical abuser, which allows them to abuse undetected.
However, the ease of creating a false identity online means that this person may very well be a stranger, even though the child thinks they “know” the person.
Also, simply knowing and accepting that an abuser could be someone you know means that you are more likely to remain vigilant in your child’s protection. By communicating with your child, you will provide an atmosphere of openness and honesty for years to come.
Your child may develop questions for you as they realize you are willing to talk to them about their body and keeping it safe. We tell them that the private parts of the body are very special and that they are “the parts of the body covered by your swimsuit.” It’s sometimes helpful to point out that boys and girls have different swimsuits because they have different private parts. Furthermore, if a child discloses abuse but uses a “nickname” for a part of their body instead of a word like “penis” this could lead to confusion and miscommunication. If this is something your child is doing, simply communicate that, “No one should ever see or touch the private parts of your body.
The best way to combat these powerful messages is to tell your child your love them, that they are special, and that you will protect them from any harm. Those who abuse are actively making a choice – indeed a series of choices – to hurt a child. When the relationship does escalate to one with abuse, the presence of this relationship is a powerful part of the abuse. The link below is a video of an abuser interview from “Protecting Our Children.” In it the abuser talks about how he gained the trust of his daughter (the child abuse victim) and the adults around her. As a parent, you should know where they are, who they are with, and what they did while away.
You are your child’s first and best teacher, and by having this conversation you are letting them know that you love them and will keep them safe.
It makes the child confused (they may think to themselves, “this person loves me, they would never hurt me, this must be ok.”).
Shying away from or being unwilling to have these conversations is what abusers rely on and hope for.

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