"My thoughts are with the families affected by the horrific accident near Fitzroy Crossing last week. After spending another week in Fitzroy Crossing, my fifth consecutive year, I also feel for the dedicated school staff who do an amazing job teaching Protective Behaviours and consistently go above and beyond with their students."

Have you ever heard a child say, “They made me do it!” after catching he or she hitting another child?  No one made you hit them, it was your choice to use that behaviour. There were other ways that you could have handled an incident that made you feel angry or unhappy, such as using your words or telling an adult.
I have had great success recently in two remote communities with getting children to take control of their own behaviours. When teaching them the first theme of Protective Behaviours, “We all have the right to feel safe all of the time,” I’ve been explaining that if they have the right to feel safe, then they have the responsibility not to make others feel unsafe.  This means that even if someone has hit them, by responding in kind it produces the same feeling of unsafeness for the other person, and therefore it is not a good choice.  The first child made a bad choice by hurting you but it still does not give you the right to hit them back.

An example I use is that if I hit you and then you hit me back, who is the one who normally gets caught?  The children all know that it is usually the one who has retaliated who gets caught.  The first child is usually sneaky and is watching for the teacher to not be looking, or waiting for some other type of opportune time, but by the time the second child retaliates that moment of opportunity has passed, the teacher or supervising adult has had time to notice what is happening, and the second child gets into trouble. 

Many schools and Childcare Centres may have taught the children to say, “Stop it. I don’t like it”, which in my experience can do your head in because of its repetitive nature which makes the children sound like little parrots, with no specific information to the person they are attempting to stop.  I’ve been modelling, “Stop it. I don’t like it when you…” with the children, and they have to name the anti social behaviour that is occurring.  It may be “ …hit me, kicked me, stared at me (which for some children can be very distressing)”, whatever it was that they didn’t like.  That way the supervising adult knows what behaviour upset the child, and can better deal with it.  The command to stop needs to be spoken with an assertive voice, not a pleading or submissive one, and the child needs to look at the person, eye contact is great, when they say it.

Teachers have been committing to using this strategy with their students, even if it means stopping mid lesson to reinforce it with the children.  I believe some children don’t feel safe at school because of the behaviour of other students, and this is a belief that has been confirmed by many years of working with children.  How wonderful would it be to teach a timid child words that will give them the power to change the way they feels about the time their spends at school.



Check out my range of feelings resources.  Over the years I have put much research into coming up with resources that fill specific needs.  I am proud to say that some of my games and resources are the only ones of their kind, and designed with the aim of building on lessons which empower children, recognizing in particular that children do not generally have a language base from which to adequately identify and express their feelings.

Feelings Cards
These versatile Feelings Cards includes 30 pairs of feelings with a definition for each and instructions for fun games to play with the cards.
Price AUD39.95 (inc. GST)

Feelings Bingo
Help increase and reinforce children’s feelings vocabulary by playing Feelings Bingo, each set contains 32 different cards.
Price AUD39.95 (inc. GST)

Feelings Poster
This colourful poster will brighten up any classroom.
Price AUD8.95 (inc. GST)


Safe4Kids Training Programs:

Holly-ann provides specialised training for teachers, childcare educators and parents to provide them with skills and practical ideas for teaching Protective Behaviours to children. You can begin to implement this program in your school, childcare centre or home with a basic training workshop - in two hours you can gain enough knowledge to immediately start teaching your children and begin modeling the language, concepts and strategies of Abuse Prevention Education.

Basic Training is a two hour professional development for teachers and childcare educators, presented by Holly-ann Martin as an introduction to her ten-week lesson plan.

Classroom Mentoring is also available for more detailed and practical training for teachers.

Parent Workshop is a two hour session packed with fantastic ideas for parents to begin practicing pro-active behaviour and language with their children at home.

Holly-ann is also available for customised in-house training and consulting by request.

If you would like more information about training, or would like to engage Holly-ann as a speaker at your event, please contact her directly at holly-ann@safe4kids.com.au