As schools up and down the country introduce teaching consent at primary and secondary age, the onus doesn’t rest just on schools, as parents we can begin to implement the concept for children of all ages at home too!
Toddlers are explorative and inquisitive at this age and, whilst we as parents want to encourage this, we need to be mindful to teach and introduce boundaries too. Children’s behavioural experts ToddlersTeensandBetween offer the following tips on how to go about doing this:
- Listening to when your child says they don’t want to hug someone
It’s their body so allow them to use it to hug or kiss whoever they want. If they aren’t keen to hug or kiss someone then offer an alternative such as a wave, air kiss or even a high five!
- No means no
If your child says to stop in the midst of playing or tickling then we must stop immediately. Respect their request and ask no questions. If we show them respect when they say no to something happening to their bodies they’ll learn to stand up for themselves, as well as have respect towards other people.
- Explain the reasoning behind being undressed or naked
By explaining their state of undress, you are helping them to understand at what times and where it’s appropriate to be naked. For example, say encouraging and explanatory statements like ‘we are going to get undressed now because’ … ‘we are having a bath, you need a nappy change, we need to change your clothes’ etc.
- Get technical
When changing their nappy or helping them with toilet training, teach your toddlers the names of their genitals! Vulva, Penis, Labia are all normal parts of their body and technical terms, so don’t treat them with shame but rather explain what their biological functions are – ‘Yes, that’s your penis and that’s for when you go to the toilet and wee.’ (Obviously, be mindful to keep the explanations age-appropriate)
- Trust is the foundation of further trust
If you follow these examples, you will help build a sense of trust and consent between you and your little one, as well as an understanding of boundaries and what’s appropriate with others.
At this age modelling and using respectful boundaries helps teach our littlest ones the concept of consent. If you’d like more support with the wellbeing of your child, subscribe to Toddlers Teens and Inbetween’s ‘The Younger Years’ Course HERE or you can be in touch with Toddler and Between expert Gemma on the AK expert page and book in a bespoke Troubleshooting Guidance Call today!