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Talking to your Child About Healthy Boundaries

Talking to your Child About Healthy Boundaries

As a caregiver, it is never too early to talk with your child about personal body space, privacy and healthy boundaries. This helps your child know they are in charge of their bodies. How do you start this conversation? Take a deep breath. Know you are more uncomfortable than your child. The best way to have this conversation is in a relaxed setting, like while coloring, playing or baking together. Below are a few ideas to get you started:

Creating boundaries

  • Start early, even with your toddler, talking about personal body space and privacy.
  • Teach your child early to dress, bathe and go to the bathroom by themselves.
  • Identify a place in your home where they can go for personal space. It's important for kids to have a place to go to if they need alone time.
  • Teach them to respect when someone else asks for alone time or privacy. Remind them to listen when someone tells them no to a touch they are giving.
  • Do not force your child to give affection. Let them know it's ok to tell anyone no if they do not want to give or get hugs, kisses or tickles. This is even true for family members.
  • Help them to find other ways to give affection. Suggest things like high fives or fist bumps.

Building self-confidence

  • When teaching your child about boundaries, practice situations to help them work on what to say or do.
  • Teach them it is ok to say, “no, stop, I don’t like it,” to anyone who makes them feel uncomfortable.
  • Let them know they decide who gives them touches on their body.
  • Help your child identify safe adults both in and out of your home. These are adults they can tell if someone gives them a touch that makes them feel unsafe or uncomfortable.

Last Updated 02/2023

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