Respecting Your Child’s Boundaries

Respecting your child’s boundaries matters.

Every person has their own preferences when it comes to physical touch, and that includes young children. While touch is a fundamental need for babies and toddlers, it is important to teach children that they are allowed to set boundaries and have the self-confidence to stick to them. This helps them advocate for themselves and plays an important role in teaching them how to identify and get away from inappropriate or dangerous interactions with adults or others.

Your child may not be comfortable hugging a person they do not know (even if that person is a family member), or they may have moments where they do not want to be tickled or touched. While it can be difficult to hear your child say that they do not want to hug or touch at that time, caregivers should not assume that a child is comfortable with an interaction or demand that they participate in that interaction. By asking for consent, caregivers help their children identify and vocalize their boundaries. These skills not only help them in the present moment but also benefit them long-term.


If you are interested in learning more about the benefits of teaching your child about boundaries and strategies to support, check out the following resources:

Series Navigation

The Developmentally Appropriate Parenting Series highlights several early childhood topics to support parents and caregivers who are caring for young children. Use the list below to navigate through each series topic:

Learn more about the series.

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Picture: A young baby looks up at the camera.
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