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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.

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Back when my husband and I were creating our wedding registry, it was a fun, low-pressure opportunity to select some new dishes and linens. After all, I knew a thing or two about stocking my home and making the "wrong decision" with thread count was the only thing that posed any risk to my sleep at night.

Fast-forward a few years to when I created a baby registry before the birth of my first child—and I found the experience to have a much steeper learning curve. Unlike those sheets, it felt like a bad swaddle or bassinet selection would be catastrophic. Unsure of what to expect from motherhood or my baby, I leaned heavily on advice from friends who already ventured into parenthood. (Starting with their reminders to take deep breaths!)

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Now a mom of three little ones under the age of four, I'm happy to be in a position to pass along some baby registry wisdom.

Go shopping with a veteran parent

As first-time parents, my husband and I barely knew the difference between a bouncer and a swing, let alone what specific features we would want. So when a mom friend recommended we head to Walmart to build my registry together—because she found them to carry the trendy brands she loved AND make registering a breeze during her pregnancy—I leapt at the chance.

By walking through the aisles together and actually getting to see the products, I was much more confident in my registry selections. Thanks to that quick, in-store tutorial from my friend, I understood exactly how to match a perfect infant car seat with an extra base and stroller—which is something I would have been clueless about on my own.

Include items at a variety of price points

When it comes down to it, a registry is really a wish list. So, while I had a personal budget for a stroller if it had to come out of my own pocket, this was an opportunity for me to ask for the stroller of my dreams. And, wouldn't you know it? A few family members went in on it together, which made a bigger price tag much more manageable.

At the same time, it's nice to include some of the smaller ticket items that are absolutely essential. I can't even begin to tell you how grateful I was to skip buying my own diapers for those first few weeks. (With super cute patterns, these are also surprisingly fun to give, too!)

Think about the gifts you would like to give

The first time I bought a mom-to-be a gift after my own child was born, I knew immediately what to look for on her registry: a diaper bag backpack, which I had come to have very strong opinions about after battling falling straps with my first diaper bag. This allowed me to feel like I had a personal touch in my gift, even if I brought one pre-selected by her.

I also appreciate it when my friends clearly incorporate their style into their registry choices, like with adorable baby outfits or nursery decor—and there's no sweeter "thank you" than a picture from a friend showing your gift in use.

Ask for things to grow with your child

Even though it's called a baby registry, there's no need to limit yourself to gifts to use before their first birthday. (To this day, I still have people who attended my baby shower to thank for the convertible bed that my oldest child sleeps in!) Knowing that, I would have included more options with long lifespans into my registry—namely, a baby carrier that can be used during the newborn months, baby months and well into the toddler years. A well-designed baby carrier would have saved my back from serious pain because it would have allowed me to comfortably and ergonomically carry my toddler as she made her way into the 25lb+ club. One brand that's designed to grow with your baby and accommodates 7-45 pounds (up to about four years old) and offers both inward and forward-facing positions is Ergobaby. With several different design and style options, you can easily find one that caters to your parenting needs. From an all-in-one carrier, like the Omni 360, that grows with baby from the newborn stages into the toddler years or a newborn-specific carrier, like the Embrace (and don't worry you can later upgrade to a carrier for an older baby, I recommend the 360 Carrier). The best part? All ergonomic designs are supportive and comfortable for both baby and parent, offering extra lumbar support with breathable, lightweight mesh styles. Everyone (even grandparents!) can get a kick out of babywearing, which is a nice and welcomed break for parents. Having one of these on my registry would have certainly made those first few years so much easier.

Motherly is your daily #momlife manual; we are here to help you easily find the best, most beautiful products for your life that actually work. We share what we love—and we may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

This article was sponsored by Ergobaby. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.


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