Talking About Inappropriate Touching at School

Updated on December 20, 2007
J.J. asks from Bellevue, NE
9 answers

My daughter is 4 years old and started preschool this year. I have been wondering how to talk to her about people touching her where they are not allowed to. How do you explain that to a child without scaring them. I am really freaked out about this issue and do not know how to handle it. With everything you see on the news today, how can I make sure she does not become as afraid as I am?

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answers from Rochester on

I asked this same question about a year ago when my son started Kindergarten. I got a LOT of great advice.

Many of the moms suggested I sit down with him and just have a chat. We colored pictures while we talked. He understood that he has "boy parts" and I have "girl parts", and that they're only for us to see. He got concerned though, when he remembered he had to take his shirt off at the doctor once. I explained that it's ok if we're with Dr. McCoy because Mom and Dad are there. He understood that only Mommy and Daddy can see you undressed, which led us to another question. His friend downstairs has a mom, too, so since she's a mom does that mean she can see him undressed, too? I said no, and then he got it: only HIS mom and dad. (He seemed pretty satisfied with himself that he thought that up all on his own too, hehe) There was another post on here a while back where a mom suggested the "swim suit" rule. If it's covered up by your swim suit, no one else should see it.

I also talked to my son about strangers, what to do if he's approached by one, who to talk to, etc. It's alot to talk about all at once, so over the next week we sat down and talked a little more every day, and I'd ask him to tell me what he remembered. We also did some roleplaying (we each took a turn as the stranger and as the child) and I think that really helped him.

I know that all these things are terrifying to parents. I feel the best thing we can do is to keep a level head and teach our children how to deal with these situations should they (God forbid) ever happen. The more informed our children are, the safer they will be.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boise on

You do not have to go into it anymore then the fact that NOBODY but mommy, daddy and the doctor is allowed to touch you anywhere your bathing suit covers, it doesn't have to be a sit down talk with her just make it part of your routine, if you are getting her ready for a shower, just casually mention it, if you make a big deal of it she will become scared, in time she will learn all that she needs to know. Sex/touching are always a topic in my house, of course it is age appropiate, but if you start early they will know facts without fear, and by the time they start kinder they won't be afraid to come to you when they hear or are told something, which is where I am at know. Tell her that she can always come to you if she isn't sure about who touched her or how, and if it was ok.

I remember my know 15 year old daughter went to the dr at about 3, and she knew no one could touch the bathing suit area, well the dr needed to check her in the lower area, she got so upset becuse no one was supposed to touch her there, so I realised that I has left out the dr and had to explain that beside me & daddy the dr could if mommy was with her, so know I make a point of not leaving out the dr.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Iowa City on


We just talk about how others shouldn't touch private area or our no no zone(we have three boys and three girls so, the boys refer to it as a no no for the girls to kick towards). A lot of times the doctor will say something about it in passing about only the doctor or parents should touch there if exam or washing you but, not one else should. The preschool teachers may have some advice on this subject as well.

I also agree with Jessica.


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Iowa City on

Talk to the staff at the preschool. Usually this is discussed eventually with the four year olds, at least at some level, along with stranger awareness.
Be matter of fact. Everyone has private parts, the ones we cover with a bathing suit. Only you, mommy/daddy to help you, or the doctor with your permission is allowed to touch here. Anyone else, you should tell mommy about it. Do not be embarrassed and just keep it simple.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Grand Rapids on

I have had this same talk with my 5 and 6 year olds. I also use the swim suit analagy. We say only mom, dad, grandma and the doctor may look at or touch your privates. We also have gone further to say that even those loved ones may only touch you there when they are "wiping or washing." I didn't want them to feel that anybody, including a family member, had the right to touch them inappropriately so we added the wiping or washing phrase.

Our school social worker also does a lesson on good touch, bad touch. Every once in a while I will just slip the comment into conversation during bathtime or something just to reiterate it without beating it to death.

It's hard and scary, I know. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Davenport on

Hi I went thru the exact same thing, my daughter is 7 now but when she started preschool the school had a presentation of this and I learned alot. Use a stuffed teddy bear or a toy that she likes and explain to her about good touch and bad touch. Ask her what is a bad touch, like pinchin and hitting. if she doesnt know explain it to her. Then with good touches ask her to show you a good touch like hugging and shaking hands. Explain to her mommie is the only one to touch her in her private area only in bath time or putting medicine to make her ouies feel better to keep her safe and clean. use child lingo that your child will understand cause all kids are different you might have to change the words a little cause you know your daughter and what words she will understand

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Salt Lake City on

You're not the only one who feels this way! I try to have this talk with my son every few months. I just tell him that he's in control of his body and if anyone touches him where it makes him feel weird or uncomfortable, he needs to tell Mommy - even if it's someone close to him. I tell him that it's okay for other people to hug him or for him to hug others, but they/he need to ask first and if they say no, that's okay, too. I tell him that sometimes there are people in this world who are just not nice and that they sometimes hurt other people. He usually asks me if the police will take them to jail and I tell him they will if they know that person did something really bad. I think it's a hard concept to get across to a 4-year old, but as long as you keep talking about it, it will get easier and she'll understand.

It's the same with "stranger danger". My son is very social and outgoing and really will talk to anyone. I've told him he's not allowed to talk to any adults he doesn't know without asking Mommy or Daddy for permission first. We talk about people offering candy or asking for help looking for their lost puppy. When I ask him what he should do, he tells me "to run to Mommy." And I can only hope that, Heaven forbid, something like that were to happen, that he'd remember what we taught him.

Good luck. We can't shelter them forever from the evils in this world. (But it would be nice if we could!)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Benton Harbor on

Just remember that it isn't just one's an issue that you can bring up any time. Whenever the opportunity comes up, throw in a simple sentence to reiterate what you have been saying. I remember once with my now 16 yr. old we were watching TV and out of nowhere a Vegas Kickline popped on the screen. Not knowing what to say, I just said "Wow, they need to put on some more clothing". He said "yeah" and that was it. It was a simple thing but it made a statement to him without scaring him. It's easy to over-talk a subject and do the opposite of what our goals are. Good luck with your mommy intstincts...they'll guide you!



answers from Omaha on

Personally I think she is far too young to talk about anything concerning that. I would think it would just scare her. My oldest is eight and just started discovering HIMSELF and we talk about inappropriate touching of ourselves. However my middle son is 6 and I remember my husband talking to him right before a doctor's appointment. He had to be re-circumcised and we talked to him about the doctor touching him and that it was ok for a doctor to do it but no one else. At four they are so innocent and having talks about people touching them would just shatter their world. Most people scare the children enough that they aren't going to say anything to you even if you did have a talk with them.