Children and Boundaries

If, like me, as a parent you decide to “Google” children’s boundaries, the majority of information available is about how we as parents/practitioners can set boundaries for our little ones to follow. However, for so many, the bigger concern is “How do I help my child set clear and safe boundaries with others?”

Today I have been thinking about this, after seeing a friend post a similar question to Facebook. My intial response was to go stright into the training archive and dig out everything I could find about “Safe Touch” or the brilliant NSPCC Pantosaurus Song! But the more I thoughgt about this, including how we model this behaviour and where it begins, the more I felt that this can be played out on many levels in many arenas of their every days lives, from birth.

The philosphies behind child-led approaches (weaning, playing, learning, sleeping, toilet training etc) tend to discuss the meta-cognitive benefits at great length. But another great and more subtle benefit is boundaries and consent.

When people start to talk about consent I know that for some reason, many reasons in fact, it can be a trigger word (but that’s another blog entirely!). But let’s be honest, creating environnments where children know that it is safe to say “No” or “I don’t like this”, “I am uncomfortabvle”, means creating space for children to establish those boundaries confidently. It’s no use saying “we want children to be able to say no to unsafe touch” but having signs up around a school that say “Pupils MUST not say NO at any time to adults in this school” really undermines the concept of safe boundaries.

The same can be said for when children are made to participate in an activity that makes them feel extremely uncomfortable, we can see the benefits of partcicpation and the growth it has to offer, but do we see the trauma that can be caused when a child feels like they don’t have the right to say “no”?

I have put together a list of resources that could be useful if this is something you are open to assessing and/or adressing in your home or setting:

Safeguarding Training During COVID-19

Due to social distancing and safer working practices, I am currently unavailable for face to face training, however I am taking bookings for September onward. (Providing social distancing can be upheld in the host venue)

However, please stay up to date with this blog for advice and guidance around children and adults wellbeing, personal development and compassionate communication in the workplace.

If you are looking for training or have overdue updates, the local (Stoke on Trent and Staffordshire) advice from the SC Board is to review your Safeguarding Training Policy. “you look at your Safeguarding Training policy and consider extending the dates until training becomes more accessible. However, we encourage you to demonstrate how you are keeping staff up to date with relevant safeguarding issues. How do you plan to disseminate news of changes within the local area? Is safeguarding being addressed weekly? If so, how? How is this planned for and monitored? For example, do you have a COVID-19 Safeguarding Contingency Plan in place and are all staff/volunteers confident in their understanding of this?”

You can also find Free Training at these National sites:

Virtual College:

COVID-19 related training:

Other safeguarding training from Virtual College:

Home Office:

NSPCC: 

Every Child Protected from Trafficking (ECPAT):

 Social Care Institute of Excellence (SCIE):

 The Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel (update):

Open University:

 SCHOOL SPECIFIC TRAINING:

Dr Pooky Knightsmith is offering free training each week at the moment via Creative Education.

About Kate Hennessey Bowers

Kate Hennessey Bowers is a former primary school teacher and experienced trainer in Safeguarding and Wellbeing.

Kate Hennessey Bowers has over fifteen years experience in the field of education and safeguarding, originally as a teaching assistant, then teacher and subsequently as a Training Officer on behalf of the Stoke on Trent and Staffordshire Safeguarding Children Board. It was there she became involved in the area of multi-agency child protection training and development and managed safeguarding training services for the joint LSCB. She has PGDip in Education, from Derby University alongside a PGCert in Community and Participatory Arts.

Kate has delivered across the county in Multi-Agency settings, schools, private organisations and more. She is the author of Give Me Strength, an Amazon Number One Best Seller, in multiple categories including Young People’s Wellbeing. She has delivered workshops and conferences on issues of wellbeing, safeguarding and personal development.

Kate Hennessey Bowers offers:

  • high quality in-house training
  • tailored workshops or group facilitation
  • inspiring, (funny!) and informative talks
  • to statutory, private and voluntary settings both in single or multi-agency contexts