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It’s Never Too Early

Consent Education for Toddlers

Whether you are a parent, aunt or grandparent, teaching consent to our littlest humans can have a lasting impact on relationships throughout their lives.

You are likely already teaching consent to your toddlers when you talk about “asking for permission” before playing with a friend’s toy or giving a friend or family member a hug goodbye. Or, you might be giving your toddler choices and letting them decide what is best for them. For example, “do you want to play with the crayons or play doh?” or “do you want to wear blue shorts or gray shorts?”

By making consent a priority, you are empowering your tiny human to develop respect and boundaries for themselves and the people around them. 

As you continue to incorporate these concepts into your toddler’s life, here are some additional ideas to help emphasize the meaning and importance of consent:

Teach your kids that no or stop are important words that should be respected. 

• Model asking for consent. If you are playing with your toddler, take a moment to ask if they need a break or want to stop. Or, ask them if it is okay if you sit beside them while you watch a tv show.

Encourage them to talk about what feels good and what doesn’t. For example, “do you like to wrestle?” or, “how did it feel when your cousin took your toy?”. Or, ask them if being sick feels good or bad. Keep the conversation open and allow space for them to explore their feelings and talk about them. Try to avoid telling them how they should or should not feel about something.  

There is no doubt that raising toddlers oftentimes feels like a rollercoaster of emotions and adding in something else might feel overwhelming, but just remember that consent is a part of our daily lives – even toddlers! You are teaching the concepts without even knowing, and when you want to add in a little extra, remember this blog.


For additional resources, check out these websites:


By Lindsay Hill Stawick, Associate Director of Domestic Violence Network