What is Consent Education?
Consent education for children is an essential aspect of teaching them about boundaries, respect, and personal autonomy. It involves providing age-appropriate information and guidance on what consent means and how to navigate consent-related situations.
Children should be taught that consent is a mutual agreement between individuals who freely and willingly participate in any activity. It emphasises that consent must be enthusiastic, ongoing, and based on clear communication.
Teaching children about consent is very important but is also sensitive and should be approached with care, age-appropriate information, and open communication.
Below are some general guidelines on how to teach children about consent:
Begin teaching age-appropriate information about body parts, boundaries, and consent from a young age. Use proper anatomical terms for body parts to promote accurate understanding and remove any sense of shame or secrecy.
Use Age-Appropriate Language:
Tailor the language and level of detail to the child’s age and maturity. Present information in a simple and clear manner, using terms and concepts that they can understand.
Create a Safe and Open Environment:
Foster an environment of trust and open communication where children feel comfortable asking questions and expressing their thoughts and concerns. Let them know that they can come to you for accurate information and support.
Teach the about Boundaries:
Teach children about personal boundaries, respecting others’ boundaries, and the importance of consent in all aspects of their lives. Teach them to recognize and communicate their own boundaries and to respect the boundaries of others.
As children approach puberty, provide information about the physical and emotional changes that occur during this time. Discuss topics such as menstruation, erections, body hair, and emotional changes, ensuring they understand these as normal and natural processes.
Discuss Reproduction and Conception:
When teaching children, explain the basic concepts of reproduction, including how babies are conceived and born. Use age-appropriate resources, diagrams, or books to help illustrate the process.
Promote Healthy Relationships:
Teach children about healthy relationships, emphasizing respect, communication, trust, and consent. Discuss the qualities of healthy friendships and intimate relationships, and how to identify and address unhealthy or abusive situations.
Address Online Safety:
In the digital age, it is important to educate children about online safety, responsible internet use, and the potential risks of sharing personal information or engaging in inappropriate online behaviour. Teach them about privacy settings, cyberbullying, and the importance of seeking help if they encounter concerning online situations.
Be Available for Questions:
Encourage children to ask questions about sex and relationships, and be prepared to answer them honestly and age-appropriately. If you don’t know the answer, it’s okay to say you’ll find out together or seek guidance from age-appropriate resources.
Use Trusted Resources:
Utilise age-appropriate books, websites, or educational materials that provide accurate and reliable information on sex education. Ensure that the resources align with your values and are suitable for your child’s age group. To fill the gap in available resources, we built the consent education platform for children. You can register and begin to take courses here. It is available in major languages spoken in Nigeria.
Remember, consent education should be an ongoing conversation that evolves as children grow and develop. Adapt your teaching approach based on your child’s individual needs, cultural context, and personal values. It’s also important to involve other trusted adults, such as teachers or healthcare professionals, who can provide additional support and guidance in sex education.