What is Consent?
• Consent means giving someone a choice about touch or actions and respecting the answer they give.
• Practicing consent in how you interact with kids teaches healthy communication and that their body belongs to them.
Ask for Consent
• Ask for consent in everyday interactions. For example: “Do you want a hug goodbye today? We could also wave or high five.” or, “Can I sit beside you while we read this book?”
• Model that asking for consent is an ongoing process. For example: “Do you need a break from tickling, or are tickles still okay with you?”
Listen to the Answer
• Nonverbal cues can be hard for young children to understand.
• Modeling consent helps kids grow up knowing the absence of a verbal “no” does not mean “yes.” For example: “You’re hiding behind your mom. It looks like you would rather wave goodbye to me today.” Accept “No”
• If you ask a child for a hug or kiss and they say “no,” accept their answer cheerfully, even if you are disappointed.
• Don’t show anger or pout, even playfully — this sends mixed messages. For example: “Okay, no kiss today. See you later!”
Relationships and Consent
• A child should never be forced to show physical affection to an adult, even if they’re a relative or family friend. For example: “It’s time to leave. How do you want to say goodbye?”
• This idea could go against your family or cultural norms or be different from what you experienced as a child
. • Think about ways you can uphold your values while also incorporating consent. For example: “Some people in our family give hugs and kisses to show their love, but you can show your love in other ways if you want to, like a smile or kind words.”
www.nsvrc.org/saam 2017 National Sexual Violence Resource Center.