It is never too early to talk about personal space and body safety with children. Let’s admit it, most kids could use help when it comes to understanding personal space, right? There are different ways to educate even the youngest kids about consent and how to say no when they are not comfortable. Illustrations and social stories are a great start to introducing these topics. Here are 5 books to help them understand that boundaries matter and no means no.
This book uses age-appropriate illustrations that will teach children skills to protect their bodies. They will be empowered to say “This is my body! What I say goes!” They will learn about identifying safe and unsafe feelings, using the correct names for private parts, and respecting body boundaries.
Written by Carrie Finison, this book is about a boy named Doug who does not like hugs. He prefers high-fives – any version, up, down, low, or spinny. This humorous picture book highlights the importance of asking others before initiating physical contact.
Christianne Jones teaches a very important lesson about personal space in Harrison P. Spader Personal Space Invader. She uses humor and relatable situations to teach early learners about self awareness. The problem with Harrison was that he was always too close and nobody liked that, until he learned the Space Saver rhyme: “Arms out front, then out real wide. Now place your arms back by your side.”
This lighthearted book is about a merboy, Kai, who loves to give squishes (hugs), only to find out that not every fish wants to be squished. This book is a great start to conversations about consent in age-appropriate ways. It’s about finding new ways to show love and affection, because as Kai soon realizes, “Every fish likes their own kind of squish.”
5. No Means No! by Jayneen Sanders and Cherie Zamazing (Ages 2-9)
It is crucial that our children, even at a very young age, are taught to have a clear, strong voice in issues especially relating to their body and personal boundaries. This book promotes the child’s voice and gives them alternatives to physical touch while also allowing them to make their own choice when it comes to their bodies. A strong confident young child transforms to a strong, confident pre-teen, teenager, and adult.