Teaching consent is an important part of educating your child about sexual health but also, life in general. It is a fundamental concept that can be learnt at any age and also means they will learn to respect the choice of others in any scenario.
In the UK at primary school, consent it taught through everyday games and teaching, it is then taught explicitly in secondary through RSE (sex ed).
- Teach kids to ask permission before touching or hugging someone – “Would you like to give Auntie Jo a hug?” “Ask Lily if she would like a hug goodbye” and if they say no, teach them that we should listen and respect that.
- Teach kids that ‘no‘ and ‘stop‘ are important words that should be respected – “Just like when the teacher says stop, our friends need to stop when we say no” and vice versa!
- Talk to them about their ‘Belly Voice’ – teach your kid about their gut feeling and how it is important to listen to it and if they are confused by the feelings they can come to you for help.
- Encourage kids to wash their genitals – of course, parents need to help sometimes but explaining that ‘down there’ is important and that they need to take care of it is a great way to help encourage body pride and a sense of ownership of his or her own body. Also model consent, by asking permissions to help wash your child’s body.
- Teach kids to help others who may be in trouble and to alert a trusted grownup
- Help create empathy within your child by explaining how something they have done may have hurt someone – “I know you wanted that toy, but when you hit Mikey, it hurt him and he felt sad. We done want Mikey to feel sad”
- Allow your child to talk about their body in any way they want without shame – teach them the correct names for their body parts.
Great Books For Teaching Consent
Books are a great way of teaching consent to young kids in a subtle and less overwhelming way. We have put together a list of our favourite ones. (all descriptions are from Amazon)
Consent (for kids!)
With clear explanations, fun illustrations, and expertly-presented information, Consent (for Kids!) is an empowering introduction to consent, bodily autonomy, and how to respect yourself and others.
This humorous and insightful book from the co-creator of the viral “Tea Consent” video is the perfect teaching tool, conversation starter, and insightful, empowering resource for educators, kids, and families everywhere.
Will The Ladybug Hug?
You loved Will Bear Share? and Will Sheep Sleep?, now get to know Ladybug in a hilarious new high-fiving and hugging-themed addition to creator Hilary Leung’s animal books!
This is a great way of teaching your young child about consent in a subtle way!
Don’t Touch My Hair!
This humorous picture book speaks to a national conversation on strangers touching black hair and sparks an important conversation on personal boundaries for children as Aria explains that her hair should not be touched without asking for permission first. Commercial, imaginative and fun, Don’t Touch My Hair! can be used to teach young readers about personal boundaries and asking for permission – and that it’s all right to be told “no” as well.
Can I Give You A Squish?
Kai is a little mer-boy who’s big on hugs–or “squishes,” as he and his mama call them. But not everyone’s a fan of Kai’s spirited embrace, which he discovers soon after squishing a puffer fish, who swells up in fright! Kai feels awful; but with the help of his friends, he figures out another way to show his affection, and then everyone demonstrates their preferred ways of being greeted. Because, as Kai realizes, “Every fish likes their own kind of squish.”
Miles Is The Boss Of His Body
The latest instalment in The Mother Company’s award-winning “MILES” series, Miles Is The Boss Of His Body is a fun, engaging way to explore the potentially difficult topic of kids’ personal safety. On his 6th birthday, Miles’ excitement is dimmed when he finds himself being pinched, noogied, hugged too tight, picked up and tickled by his well-intentioned family and decides he’s had enough! When Miles decrees that he is the “Boss of his body,” his whole family expresses support and respect for his personal boundaries. In a colourful, comic-book style, young kids will laugh while learning this potentially life-saving concept that can benefit them for years to come.
‘C’ Is For Consent
The book teaches that it is okay for kids to say no to hugs and kisses, and that what happens to a their body is up to them. This helps children grow up confident in their bodies, comfortable with expressing physical boundaries, and respectful of the boundaries of others. Full colour.
Head to Sex Positive Families to learn even more!