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Continuing the Conversation

These resources are designed to complement the information contained in the Discussion Guide of What if?

Practice What if? Scenarios


makchic’s book serves as an introduction to the concept of ‘What Ifs’. Parents, caregivers or educators can pose a range of scenarios to the child, discussing possible reactions and positive actions the child might choose to take. This practice encourages problem solving, and reinforces the child’s understanding of body safety principles, in the event a similar situation should arise in the future. 

Other examples of ‘What If’ scenarios (beyond those covered in the book) include: 

  • WHAT IF someone offered you a ride back home from school?
  • WHAT IF someone asked you to show them your belly button?
  • WHAT IF you saw someone bullying another person?
  • WHAT IF someone took your toys without asking for permission? 

 

Excerpt from the Discussion Guide of What if?

Resources-Page-Image-1

Activities


Press the purple buttons to read more.

Personal space is the space around our body that we only allow people in at certain times. You can make your own rules about who you allow inside, but no one should ever come into your personal space or touch your body without your permission.  

Activity: 

  1. Use a hula hoop (or draw a circle on the ground) to make this space concrete and have the child stand in the center. 
  2. Inform the child that it is up to them who they would allow into the circle. It would also be best to ask for permission before stepping into someone else’s circle. 
  3. Have family members (including your child) take turns standing ‘too close’ or ‘just the right’ distance when talking to each other. Talk about how much space is everyone personally comfortable or not comfortable with. 

Further resources:

  • This video by Samsung kids has a catchy song on how to teach your child about personal space. 

You can also download a social story from Twinkl to read with your child about maintaining body boundaries in different situations.

What if Hula Hoop

Expressing (and identifying) emotions from an early age is often the first step towards teaching children to trust their instincts. Help children identify different emotions by having conversations with them about situations that make them happy, confused, scared or sad. 

Activity: 

  1. Play a guessing game where you and the child act out different emotions.
  2. To make it more fun for younger kids, ask the child to act out different animals using their expressions and body motions. For example: Angry Ape, Sad Snake, Confused Cat and others. 
  3. As a follow up, you could ask the child why the animal might feel a certain way. This will help them in identifying and articulating their feelings.
  4. They can also draw themselves doing something that makes them feel good, happy and safe. Reinforce that they are important and have the right to be safe!

Your body belongs to you and each body is special in its own way. 

It is also important to teach children that everyone has rights, and these rights cannot be taken away. According to The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, every child has the right to be heard, protected and taken seriously.

Activity: 

  1. Have the child create a poster about a child’s rights to safety, health and education. Discuss what are some other things that children would have the right to. Parents/guardians may refer to the summary of the Rights of the Child here.
  2. For younger children, have them draw a picture of what they like most about themself. Discuss why they chose that feature and share about how the uniqueness of every person makes this world a wonderful place.

We constantly remind children never to accept things from strangers. However, data shows that in most child sexual abuse cases, the abuser is someone known to, and trusted by the child. 

Gently let the child know that the person who makes them uncomfortable could be anyone – someone they know, someone they don’t know, or even someone they like.

Activity:

  1. Come up with your own safety rules with the child on what to do if something doesn’t feel ‘right’. (Refer to Warning Signs when Feeling Unsafe) 
  2. Discuss possible scenarios when a child might be vulnerable and what they can do in that situation.
  3. Go through possible tricks that could be used by an ‘abuser’, such as asking for help or offering a gift. 
  4. If the child finds themselves in a situation where they feel unsafe, encourage them to actively walk or run away, shout ’Go Away’, kick, or pull away – even if it is someone they know.
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Relating feelings to different touches can be confusing for adults – and even more so for kids! Children should know that they have a right to say no to any unwanted touch.

Activity: 

  1. Compile images of varying scenarios from a story book, newspaper, or even a family album. Scenarios can be anything from a child playing with a pet, an adult helping a crying child or someone making fun of another person. 
  2. Start a conversation by talking about how the child feels when they look at the particular image. Then connect it to whether they think it is a safe or unsafe situation.
  3. The practice of connecting feelings with a safe or unsafe situation/touch could help the child to listen to their bodies (i.e. their instincts) and recognise when they need to reach out for help.
  4. For younger children, parents can break it down by initially using the phrase ‘ok or not ok’ instead of safe or unsafe.
WI Talking 1

In Asian culture, greeting elders may involve physical touches, such as salam for the Malay community. But a child has the right to say “no” if they do not want to be touched by anyone. This helps them to learn and trust their instincts. Engage other adults around your child by explaining the reasons behind this practice and why it is important to support a child’s right to choose.

Activity:

  1. Act out examples of non-contact greetings, such as a friendly wave, a respectful bow, an elbow bump or a namaste.
  2. Remind children that saying “no” is ok and is not a sign of being disobedient, lazy or irresponsible.
  3. You could also create a chart by illustrating different greeting options i.e. hug, high five, smile or dance, and hang it by the front door. The child can choose their preferred method based on how they feel on that day. This is a fun and simple way to teach body boundaries at home.
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Consent and respect are important concepts for children to understand. Consent means giving permission or agreeing to something. It is important for children to understand that sometimes consent is clear, and sometimes it is not. When in doubt, encourage young kids to ask permission, and for others around them to ask for the same. 

We also have to understand that people can change their minds about consent at any time. You can tell children that when you listen to the choices of others, it shows that you respect them. 

Activity: 

  1. Roleplay scenarios where you ask your child for consent and vice versa. For example: “Can I play with your toys?” Or “Can I give you a big hug?” 
  2. Remind the child that consent is a right that belongs to everyone. Once given, consent can still be taken back if they change their mind. There is nothing wrong with this, and does not indicate negative personal feelings towards the other person.

Our body consists of many different parts and some parts are referred to as our privates. Our underwear/swimwear usually covers these areas. No one should touch or look at your private parts except to keep them clean and healthy. 

Parents and guardians should always call a child’s private parts by their anatomically correct names and teach the child to do so. Doing this will help the child identify their body parts more accurately and be taken seriously if any abuse were to occur. 

Children should also be taught that no one is allowed to touch our mouth or ask us to put things in our mouth.

Activity: 

  1. Have the child draw a picture or their body and help them label each private body part with the anatomically correct names. You could choose to include non-private parts as well. 
  2. Discuss with the child the body parts that no one should touch or look at, except if they need help with keeping it clean and healthy.
  3. Remind the child that their bodies belong to them and other people should respect it.
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Our bodies are amazing. Sometimes when we feel unsafe, our bodies let us know. These are our instincts. Encourage the child’s awareness of the distinction between safe and unsafe moments by teaching them about the warning signs of feeling unsafe.

Some signs may include sweaty palms or skin, a racing heart, goosebumps or feeling butterflies in the tummy.

Activity: 

  1. Have the child think of a time when they felt unsafe and describe how their body might have felt at that time.
  2. Roleplay or practise a firm stance, and tell kids to say a loud “No” or “Stop”’ with their hands outstretched if someone tries to touch them in a way that makes them feel unsafe. 
  3. Remind them that they should tell a trusted adult if this happens, even if it may upset or embarrass someone.
WI Emotions NO

Not all secrets are bad, such as a surprise birthday party, but secrets that upset you should be revealed. Secrets about touching should never be allowed. 

Ask the child to identify 3 to 5 adults (excluding parents) that would have the child’s best interests at heart and who would always hear them out. Let them know they can reach out to you or these adults and they will always be believed. 

Activity: 

  1. Create a chart with pictures of the trusted adults that the child has identified. While family members are natural confidants, they can also be a source of unease and distress. So ask your child to also include adults outside of the family who they are comfortable talking to.
  2. Next, roleplay different scenarios with the child and get them to practise how they would ask their trusted adult for help. For example: “Mummy, I need to tell you something” or “Teacher, I’m feeling scared.” 
  3. You could also practise different examples of safe and unsafe secrets. For example: “Daddy is secretly organising a trip to Legoland for your sister’s birthday, should you keep the secret or tell?” or “A friend pushed you in school and told you to not tell the teacher, should you keep the secret or tell?”
What if Discussion Guide

Activity Sheets


What if? Colouring Page
Download

Rights of The Child Poster
Download

What I Like Most About Myself
Download

Labeling Private Parts
Download

Chart of Trusted Adults
Download

Draw The Emotions
Download

Additional Resources


Here are some more resources you could refer to if you wish to learn more about Personal Safety and Body Boundaries.

  1. Women’s Centre for Change (WCC)’s child sexual abuse videos, posters and other resources in English, Bahasa Malaysia, Chinese and Tamil.
  2. Childline Foundation’s helplines and mental health services resources.
  3. KidzLive provides information on child sexual abuse and teaches children how to protect themselves.
  4. Alisa’s Wish – a Canadian Child and Youth Advocacy Centre
  5. Body Safety Australia’s protective behaviours programme and body safety education
  6. The Fight Child Abuse programme for children of all ages
  7. Kids Helpline Australia’s “Understanding sexual abuse” resources
  8. Social Workers Toolbox – Stay Safe Programme resources

Janet Lansbury’s Respectful Parenting podcast on abuse prevention strategies

Directories


If you know of a child who has been sexually abused, here’s how to go about getting help for the child and reporting the case to the authorities.

https://www.wccpenang.org/child-sexual-abuse-getting-help/ 

Click here to download a list of relevant organisations that you could contact if you or someone you know needs help. Other things you can do: 

  1. Support the call to criminalize cyber sexual grooming in Malaysia with a pledge at www.rage.com.my/predator
  2. Report child pornography through the INHOPE Internet reporting at www.hotlines.inhope.org/gns/report-here
  3. Join the #ReplyForAll conversation on social media and share online safety tips.
  4. Become a U-Reporter and participate in polls on the issue. Register at www.malaysia.ureport.in
  5. CyberCare Youth Organisation – an NGO incorporated under the Ministry of Youth and Sports : www.cybercare.org.my

If you have any questions about the What If? book, please contact
makchic.whatif@gmail.com

General enquiries can be directed to
hello@makchic.com