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Introducing the Pantosaurus, NSPCC’s way of teaching children the “underwear rule”

Some parts of parenting can be difficult and now he’s 6 years old it’s time to have certain conversations with my son that honestly I am not prepared for. Protecting children from abuse is obviously important and one of the ways to do this is to have open dialogue but I really don’t want to. Not because I can’t talk to my son, but because I shouldn’t have to. I hate that, statistically 1 in 20 UK children have been sexually abused and that reality means I will do everything I can to avoid this!

1 in 3 children have been sexually abused but not told anyone about it and this means teaching our children to be open, honest and create a safe space without judgment is paramount.  I saw the PANTS campaign and realised that this would be a good way to start the conversation with my son to teach him how to stay safe. Which is what we did.

So, what is the PANTS campaign?

PANTS stands for:

Privates are private.

Always remember your body belongs to you.

No means no.

Talk about secrets that upset you.

Speak up, someone can help.

It aims to educate children on how to behave if someone is inappropriate. The Pantosaurus is a cute and catchy character that is child accessible to help do this, and we found it useful. here is the video:

Our Conversation

I was dreading the conversation but it actually went much better than I had anticipated. We watched the video twice and the second time danced along to the Pantosaurus (it’s hard not to.) Then we opened the discussion, some of the questions I asked were:

“Why did the Pantosaurus say no?”

“What did the Pantosaurus do after he said no?”

“Who can you talk to if you’re worried?”

“Why do we keep our private parts private?”

This prompted some excellent (and frank!) discussion about boundaries and I actually feel much better afterward. I would like to think that he would know what to do, but we’ve been having mini conversations about PANTS since then to reaffirm this and make sure it really sinks in.

NSPCC’s Pantosaurus Accessibility

I am particularly proud that they have also made this accessible to deaf children and those with learning disabilities as well which also prompted me to write this post. In many cases, deaf children don’t have a voice and need to be able to communicate just as effectively on abuse! Here is the video that includes BSL and signs to communicate PANTS.

For children with learning disabilities, here is a downloadable guide to PANTS and the Pantosaurus to print and remember.

7 Tips for Creating An Open Dialogue With Children About Abuse

  1. Multiple Conversations – Don’t try to get everything into one conversation, particularly with smaller children, we all know they switch off very quickly. Remember that they won’t appreciate the situation so drip feed it, bring it up from time to time and ask if they remember the Pantosaurus or PANTS rules.
  2. Role-Play – Try to put it into a situation they will understand, for example, we asked what he might do at the swimming pool or in the changing rooms, reiterating that you should always tell us if anything were to happen.  Role-playing questions and answers help to stick in their mind.
  3. Create A Safe Space – Something I am working on at present is to remain calm in situations when we have a discussion and not let my emotions through. One of the essential ingredients to children being honest with you, is feeling they can tell you the truth without getting into trouble, no matter who is involved.
  4. Pick Your Moment – When you’re busy and rushing, it’s not the best time to talk about deep and emotional subjects! The NSPCC recommends several situations that might be better, for example; in the car, swimming or at bath time, all of these situations could prompt the underwear rule discussion.
  5. Be Honest – Like many other parenting moments, it’s my belief that you should be completely honest. Even when they ask the hard questions (and kids always do.)
  6. Understand the Approach – Children handle things in different ways so take on how they are reacting and adjust your approach to suit. My son tends to brush off the serious and aim for the silly so we danced to the song before talking about the nitty-gritty stuff.
  7. Activity Packs – The NSPCC website has activity packs (for a recommended £5 donation) for you both to fill in together that has challenges and games with a Pantosaurus focus which should help generate organic questions. Find those here.

Together we can help to protect children, and the Pantosaurus really helped us start the conversation that we needed. I wanted to write this post as a thank you to the NSPCC and spread some awareness to others who may be struggling on where to start.  

Accessible ways to protect children from child abuse, plus videos from the NSPCC's PANTS campaign and the Pantosaurus. Also 7 tips on how to start an open dialogue with your kids and videos for deaf of hearing impaired in BSL. #TalkPANTS #PANTS #childabuse #parenting

22 comments on “Protect Children With NSPCC’s Pantosaurus #TalkPANTS”

  1. What an incredible timely post, although it’s sad to think we NEED something like this these days! But with what seems to be nearly daily or weekly reports of abuse (most recently the sports doctor case and that family with 13 kids), it’s obviously a program that could potentially prevent abuse from happening to more young children. Identifying the areas that should NOT be touched with something as easily identifiable as pants (I remember it used to be “bathing suit” parts) is a sensible idea.

  2. Wow, this is a really great post mama! Thank you so much for sharing! I mean it. It’s a really uncomfortable, but super important topic. I ask myself how I’m going to address things like this all the time. My son is only one so I have a while to figure it out, but still!

  3. It is always very difficult to explain young kids about sexual abuse and how to protect them from it. Such campaigns are really very important in starting a dialogue with them. Great initiative.

  4. What a great campaign, It is always tough to talk to children about these things but this campaign makes it much easier

  5. This is something that I’ve started to talk about with Isla already, she’s three, but she understands at her level. I’m also happy that the campaign is inclusive. And the video is powerful.

  6. WOW! I hadn’t heard about this campaign before. I guess I love/hate it. It’s just such a shame that with such high statistics that we need to have this discussion. It’s just plain icky but this campaign and your tips do make the topic easier to discuss with our little ones.

  7. I’d heard about this campaign and really support it, although it’s also hard that we have to consider such things in the first place! I’m going to talk to my niece about it and see how much she understands.

    Ami xxx

  8. This is great! It’s definitely something that should be used in all schools I think. I agree, it’s so sad that we have to talk about this!

  9. I hadn’t heard of this campaign but what a great way to allow our children to be honest and open with us about something so sensitive. The Pantosaurus is a great idea!

  10. That’s cool. I also saw a comprehensive book for kids about this, explaining the birds and the bees and child protection in a very kid-friendly way. I’m glad there’s a lot of educational tools going around these days.

  11. Open dialogue with children about abuse is excellent idea. Couple days ago I actually watched a documentary about role play and how it really affects to communicate with children.

  12. This is a brilliant campaign to support. We’ve already started trying to explain this to our son, but he’s only just turned 4 so I’m not sure how much he understands. I’m going to show him this video after school!

  13. Some great tips here, especially for me to try and use on twin 2 who really doesn’t mind walking around starkers everywhere! In fact he blends into swedish lifequite well!

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