As we enter the first Phases of Oregon’s Re-Opening, you or your co-parent/s may be heading back to work! Which means your kids might be heading to daycare or staying home with another adult. There has never been a better time to have a body safety talk, both with your kids and their childcare provider! We have created this cheat sheet to help you broach these conversations!
What to keep in mind:
– The State of Oregon has set forward very specific guidance for childcare providers during the COVID-19 crisis. If your child is going to a center outside of your home, the providers should be ready and happy to provide you with information about how they are adhering to the current requirements and what precautions they are taking to minimize health risks.
– Initiating safety conversations with the adults that are caring for your children, is a protective factor in itself! By letting others know that you are paying attention, potential inappropriate behavior can be deterred. When leaving your children in the care of others, always be cautious and clear about your boundaries and expectations.
– There is a LOT going on right now, we know! But please don’t skip safety steps. Especially if you are using a childcare provider or hiring a babysitter you haven’t worked with in the past! Stay vigilant, even if your child is being cared for by a friend or family member.
What To Ask
The Daycare or Childcare Provider (outside of your home):
– Ask what steps they are taking to keep kids healthy and minimize risk of exposure to COVID-19.
– Ask for a copy of their Child Protection Policy and/or Code of Conduct.
– Ask if their policies limit one-on-one interactions to those that are observable and interruptible.
– Ask if older and younger youth ever interact and, if so, how is this supervised?
– Ask if their staff have received child sexual abuse prevention training.
The Babysitter (in-home care):
– Ask for references. When you call those references, be prepared with several interview questions. Ask for examples to support their answers to those questions. Listen for tone. Trust your gut.
– Ask for their permission and information to run a criminal background check. Also, check the National Sex Offender Registry.
– Ask the babysitter to come over for a pre-sitting interview. Get to know them. Lay out your expectations and the house rules. During the interview ask them one or two hypothetical body-safety questions (eg. What would you do if one of my kids touched the other’s privates while changing at bedtime? What would you do if my kid asked you to keep a secret from me?). Listen for compassion and appropriate boundary setting.
– Ask them to read over and sign a nanny contract before they watch your kids for the first time.
– Ask them to go over your family’s house rules and body safety rules with you. Make sure your kids know that while a lot has changed in their lives lately, they always deserve to have their boundaries respected and they can talk to you if anyone makes them feel uncomfortable. Share with your childcare provider that you have talked with your kids about body boundaries.
– Ask your kids who their three safe and trusted adults are. We know that unfortunately, many kids won’t talk to their parents if their boundaries are crossed. Encourage your kids to talk with other safe and supportive adults in their lives; a teacher, a family member, a friend’s parent. Knowing who your child might talk to, allows you to build a stronger safety net for your family.
– Ask your kids about their time with the childcare provider or sitter. What did they do? What activity did they like the most? Was there anything that made them uncomfortable? Listen.
– Ask your kids what they are most looking forward to about going to daycare or spending time with a sitter! What activities or games will they play! These are hard times, for kids too. Encourage them to stay safe AND have fun!
- Oregon Department of Education: Coronavirus Disease Resources
- Taking Protective Steps During the Coronavirus Pandemic
- Step-up and Speak-out: A Parent’s Guide to Selecting Youth-Serving Organizations
- Tips for Hiring Caregivers
- Guidelines for Screening Nannies and Babysitters
- National Sex Offender Public Website