There are lots of things about parenting that are really hard, but I think one of the hardest is when we have to communicate to our kids that the world we live in is not always a nice place. There’s a part of me that feels like I’m shattering my boys’ innocence when I have to have these conversations. And the thought of someone taking advantage of my child’s trust for their own benefit…ugh. I can hardly to stand to think about it.
As hard as it can be to have these conversations with our kids, research shows that having them early and regularly are one of the best defenses we have against our children becoming victims. It is never the fault of a child when abuse occurs, but children who understand body boundaries are more equipped to speak up with something is wrong.
Our children’s bodies are their own, and they get to decide who they share physical affection with and when. These books can help make the tough conversations easier, and explain body boundaries to kids in a way that is helpful without being scary.
8 Children’s Books About Body Boundaries
My Body Belongs to Me by the International Center for Assault Prevention — This book follows a little girl named Clara, who lets readers know that it’s okay to say NO to unwelcome physical contact. There are lots of great tips for avoiding unwanted touch, and tips for what to do if unwanted contact has already occurred. This book is an excellent tool for helping children find their voice in situations that make them uncomfortable.
Miles is the Boss of His Body by Samantha Kurtzman-Counter — Miles is so excited to be turning six! However, his excitement soon fades as he becomes the recipient of unwanted hugs, tickles, and pinches from his well-meaning family members. Miles decides to stand up for himself, and let his family know that he is the boss of his own body. This book is fantastic because it goes beyond abusive behaviors and teaches kids that they are the boss of their bodies in all situations, including those with people who mean well.
God Made All of Me by Justin S. Holcomb and Lindsey A. Holcomb — This book takes a look at body boundaries from a Christian perspective, and aims to teach children that their bodies are created by God, so they don’t need to be ashamed of them. This book is a well-rounded look at the body and acceptable interactions, and is designed for kids ages 2 to 8.
I Said No! A Kid-to-Kid Guide to Keeping Private Parts Private by Kimberly King and Zack King — Simple and direct, this book addresses a variety of body boundary issues and helps kids figure out how to respond to many different situations. Kids will learn about what types of touch are appropriate, how to respond to threats or bribes, and who to tell when someone is violating their body boundaries. This book is best for kids ages 4 and up.
Books by Jayneen Sanders: Educator and author Jayneen Sanders has written several books on the topic of body boundaries, and they are all extremely well done. I highly recommend checking them all out, as they each deal with different aspects of body safety. Sanders’ books include:
- Some Secrets Should Never Be Kept: This book explains how to make your voice heard if unsafe touch happens.
- My Body! What I Say Goes! This book helps children set safe body boundaries and identify what situations make them feel uncomfortable or unsafe.
- Let’s Talk about Body Boundaries, Consent, and Respect: This book features example scenarios you can talk through with your child to help them determine a response to situations that make them feel unsafe or uncomfortable.
- No Means No! This book helps children find their voice and advocate for their own rights — especially in regards to their bodies. Great for kids ages 3 to 9.