Respect and physical boundaries is a positive parenting habit to have for ourselves. And a simple way to teach them how to treat others.

Life as a parent can be pretty hectic, and sometimes we need to remember to slow down – as a lot of the time we are, literally, pulling our children around with us. And life can be frustrating for them when they can’t express their feelings and their bodies are being constantly moved around and touched.

Imagine being laid down on a change table every few hours for a nappy change. And not being able to communicate – what if it’s uncomfortable? What if something hurts? What if you are angry or upset?

Gentle actions and words can help our little people be calmer during nappy changes, and models good behaviour and respect which they, of course, will pick up on.

1. Explain and ask

Obviously, asking your baby if you can change their nappy will not result in a yes or no answer. But your words will be recognised over time, so an infant will very quickly understand that a nappy change will come after “I’m going to change your nappy now, is that okay?” With toddlers, of course, seeking consent might be harder and let’s face it, nappies need to be changed. But explaining to them why you need to change their nappy will, eventually be understood – “I know you don’t want me to change your nappy, but I don’t want you to feel yukky or wet, okay?” and the biproduct of your respect, is a child who learns that using their words and asking for consent are natural things to do.

2. Involve your child

I’ll be the first to admit, that this does not always work with toddlers – especially when they are in a ‘say no to everything’ stage. But hey, we can try. Are there nappy prints your child likes? Can they hold the nappy for you, count for you, sing a song for you? Pull up nappies or training pants can allow your child to feel more in control – wearing the Special Big Boy/Girl pants just might be something they will agree to. They also might be more accepting of a nappy change if they are standing up rather than lying down.

3. Be gentle

Of course, we don’t ever mean to be abrupt or rough with our children, but life is so often a rush for parents. If you can, take a moment to be calm when you place your child down for changing. Take a breath and show them that you are relaxed – kids (and adults) definitely pick up on frantic behaviour from other people. Counting down from a number can help keep both yourself and your child calm, give them an idea of when you are almost done, and is an excellent opportunity to teach them numbers! You may find that pull up nappies are a change that can be done while your child is standing up and preoccupied with something else – you might be able to gently step their legs in, without too much fuss.

As our children grow, we want them to understand consent and physical boundaries. Respecting their bodies is a positive parenting habit to have ourselves, and a simple way to teach them how to treat others.

If your baby hates nappy change time, you can find more information about our nappies directly from my own experiences in my free downloadable PDF: ‘Five Things I Wish I Knew About Cloth Night Nappies’ by signing up to the
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Written for RAWr Nappies by Jacqueline Damen – Education Professional and Cloth Nappy Enthusiast.