What preventive steps can I teach a 3 year old?


Dear Stop It Now!,

I have a three year old daughter. Is my child too young for me to teach her anything that could help keep her safe from being sexually abused? If so, when would be a good age to start?*

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Dear Concerned Parent,

It is never too early to promote safety concepts with children. I’ll give you an example of something easy to do with a child of your daughter’s age. We always encourage parents to teach their children anatomically correct names of private body parts. But talking about anything sexual with kids can be so uncomfortable that many of us prefer to approach the subject matter indirectly by teaching our children cute-sounding nicknames for genitals rather than names that are both anatomically correct and generally known. 

This means that if a small child is being sexually abused, there’s a chance that he or she may not have the correct language to communicate to adults what is happening. On our helpline we once heard about a small toddler who told parents and other family members that a certain person had touched her pocketbook. It took too long for her parents to finally realize that “pocketbook” was the nickname that they had taught their child for vagina.

There are a wide range of actions parents and other adults can take that help keep children safe from sexual harm. However, please remember that adults are responsible for the overall safety of our children. So, while it is vital that parents talk with their children about safety issues, it is also vital that adults do all that they can to create a safe environment for children. Take a look at some more of Stop It Now!'s information below to learn more.

Take care,
Stop It Now! 

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Last edited on: March 5th, 2019