Free guide to help with safeguarding grandkids
THE safety of all children is paramount, particularly if they are your grandchildren and you are their primary carer.
But knowing how to start a conversation with them, especially when they haven't felt safe all of their short life, about what is personal safety and how they can protect themselves, can be a daunting prospect for older people.
The Daniel Morcombe Foundation has developed an answer to this conundrum with the release of its free Personal Safety Grandparents booklet.
It's an Australia-first and looks to provide the tools for grandparents as primary carers of their grandchildren, to have an ongoing conversation about the child's personal safety.
For primary school age children who have experienced trauma, neglect or abuse, their life experiences are unlikely to have been positive and their skills in staying safe undoubtedly need to be developed.
The foundation's national education manager, Georgina Livingstone, said the booklet is an extension to what the foundation is already doing and has been developed in response to talking with grandparents about personal safety for children.
"We talk a lot about the importance of personal safety, but what is sometimes missing in the conversation is the how do you have that conversation with children," Ms Livingstone said. "For grandparent carers in particular, having those conversations can sometimes be really hard; sometimes it doesn't come naturally."
The booklet is aimed at helping young children understand what safety is, learn about relationships and trust, how to identify feelings, name the public and private parts of the body and learn how to recognise, react and report unsafe situations.
It is designed to be completed by grandparents working side-by-side with their grandchild. The booklet has both instructions and conversation starters. Grandparents can decide how they want to present the information in line with their culture. "In some cultures it may not be appropriate for a male to be talking to a female about private body parts, for example," Ms Livingstone said.
Both the grandparent and grandchild are encouraged to be creative in the way they carry out the recommended activities which can be adapted for different learning styles and abilities.
The booklet can be downloaded for free from www.danielmorcombe.com.au. To access a hard copy, you can email the foundation on firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 1300 326 435.