The perfect way to explain consent to kids—from a 3rd grade teacher

"I created the organization of the chart, but almost everything in it—the ideas, the quotes—those are things that were 100% generated by my students," Kleinrock says.

The perfect way to explain consent to kids—from a 3rd grade teacher

Within the past year, most of us have probably heard the word "consent" more than in the rest of our lives combined—and for good reason. It's about time that we broach the subject of what consent means head on, early on.

But while the #MeToo movement and, more recently, the Kavanaugh hearing has sparked a lot of conversation between adults, our kids have been absorbing more than we likely give them credit for.

In fact, as one viral post from a teacher in California goes to show, we adults could stand to learn from kids on this matter.

In an Instagram post that shows the takeaways from a conversation about consent with her third-grade students, Liz Kleinrock, a Citizens of the World Charter School teacher and founder of Teach and Transform, explains they even talked about grey areas—like if someone says "no" while smiling.

Talking with Motherly, Kleinrock says she walked away from the lesson encouraged by the insight and thoughtfulness expressed by her students.

"I created the organization of the chart, but almost everything in it—the ideas, the quotes—those are things that were 100% generated by my students," she says.

She also makes the important point that this could go the wrong direction, too: Because kids absorb so much, we need to take care they are getting the right messages about consent through explicit conversations in their terms.

"Whether or not adults want to admit it kids hear and see everything adults do. And often it's more dangerous because they experience it without context," Kleinrock says. "They may not be filtering it the same way you are, but they are hearing everything and they eavesdrop on your conversations... So what happens when kids, or anybody really, absorb a lot of misinformation it can lead to bias, it can lead to prejudice or discrimination in its own way."

While it's encouraging to see educators like Kleinrock include these lessons in their plans, that's far from the norm across the country—which makes it all the more important that we parents take the time to talk about topics like consent, body safety and boundaries with our children.

In her case, the conversation was a jumping off point to talking about the difference between secrets and surprises. She explains, "We talked about what are things you should absolutely tell an adult that you trust and what are things that you actually do keep to yourself."

But that conversation likely never would have come about if Kleinrock hadn't made the point of listening—and learning—from her students. That's because while we may be the adults, it's often the kids in our lives who have the best answers.

You might also like:

10 must-have registry items that will change your life, mama

The baby gear heavy hitters that should be top of your list

Calling all mamas-to-be! It's a fundamental truth of (impending) motherhood that your prepping-for-baby To Do list can feel a mile long, but really the best way to feel organized is to sort out the most important item at the top of your list: your registry. Sure the items you choose to include will end up running the gamut from nice-to-haves to absolutely essential game-changers, but mamas in the know quickly learn one thing: Not all baby gear is created equal.

So while you can and should pepper your registry with adorable inclusions that aren't necessarily can't-live-withouts (go ahead, add 'em!), you should make sure you're ticking the boxes on those pieces of baby gear that can be absolute life savers once you're in full-blown mama mode. From car seats to bouncers and playmats, your play and travel gear will be some of the most obvious important items on your list, but so can unexpected things, like a super comfy baby carrier and a snooze-inducing white noise machine. So to help you sort through the must-have options, we turned to the holy grail of motherhood that is buybuy BABY and handpicked 10 of the very best essential pieces that will change your life, we promise.

Keep reading Show less
Our Partners

Sorry, you can’t meet our baby yet

Thank you for understanding. ❤️

In just over three weeks, we will become parents. From then on, our hearts will live outside of our bodies. We will finally understand what everyone tells you about bringing a child into the world.

Lately, the range of emotions and hormones has left me feeling nothing short of my new favorite mom word, "hormotional." I'm sure that's normal though, and something most people start to feel as everything suddenly becomes real.

Our bags are mostly packed, diaper bag ready, and birth plan in place. Now it's essentially a waiting game. We're finishing up our online childbirth classes which I must say are quite informational and sometimes entertaining. But in between the waiting and the classes, we've had to think about how we're going to handle life after baby's birth.

I don't mean thinking and planning about the lack of sleep, feeding schedule, or just the overall changes a new baby is going to bring. I'm talking about how we're going to handle excited family members and friends who've waited just as long as we have to meet our child. That sentence sounds so bizarre, right? How we're going to handle family and friends? That sentence shouldn't even have to exist.

Keep reading Show less

10 photos to take on baby’s first day that you'll cherish forever

You'll obsess over these newborn baby pictures.

Bethany Menzel: Instagram + Blog

As you're preparing for baby's birth, we bet you're dreaming of all of the amazing photos you'll take of your precious new babe. As a professional photographer and mama, I have some tips for newborn photos you'll want to capture.

Here are the 10 photos you will want to take on baby's first day.

Keep reading Show less