My body, my rules! Children’s rights in child care.

Just like adults rights, children’s rights in child care are equally important. This includes children’s rights to ownership and control of their own bodies. They should feel safe and respected and understand that when it comes to their bodies, they have control of who can touch them.

As child care providers, you play a vital role in educating children about their bodies. You will teach them about the different parts of their bodies: what their function is, what they are called and where they are located. For example, the mouth is used for breathing and eating and is located in the lower section of the face.

Respecting children’s physical boundaries
Children should understand that their bodies belong to them and that they can decide what feels comfortable and what feels uncomfortable. An important thing that you can do in child care settings is to empower the children in your care to say no if they are feeling uncomfortable.

Children also need to understand that they need to respect the physical autonomy of others too. For example, of another child does not wish to be hugged, they should not continue to touch the other child.

Children should have the confidence to say if they feel uncomfortable about something that they can talk about it and ask the person to stop. They can also reach out to you or a parent to assist if they feel their physical boundaries aren’t being respected.

Negotiating tricky situations
Of course, being mindful of children’s physical boundaries can get tricky in child care when a child must have their nappy or clothes changed. A conversation and plan with parents should take place to ensure you can negotiate a child’s physical boundaries to maintain their wellbeing without breaking their trust.

One of the most helpful things you do for children is to teach them that you are there to keep them safe and that they can tell you if they do not feel safe. Every child has the right to be heard without fear of getting into trouble and every child has the right to feel safe and secure. Working in child care, you can greatly assist in upholding children’s rights in child care.

Want to learn more about the rights of children in Australia? Click here to find out more.

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