In this episode of stupid things down under, an Australian childcare chain called “Only About Children” has suggested parents should ask permission before changing their toddlers’ nappies to ensure “respectful” changes.
“Only About Children” runs more than 75 early learning centres across Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
The chain says parent should put themselves in their child’s shoes and ask, “If you were a baby, how would you like to have your nappy changed?”
“The most significant thing about a nappy change is not the new nappy,” the advice says.
“It’s the good feelings shared between baby and parent. It’s the relationship.”
Ideas for having a “respectful nappy change” include being open-minded and not interrupting your toddler when they’re playing.
“When toddlers become mobile, nappy changing may look quite different!” the advice says.
“Continue to ask for cooperation but understand that your toddler may wish to now stand for their nappy change.
“Also encourage their independence, you may ask him to take off his own nappy or wipe himself.
“Wait for a gap in their playing before starting the nappy changing process.
“You may wish to give your toddler some autonomy and ask ‘Would you like to walk to the change table or should I carry you?’”
Giving your toddler your undivided attention is also advised, with parents told to slow down.
“Toddlers sense our hurry or distraction, and it can make them tense and resistant.”
While the advice doesn’t mean nappies won’t be changed if the child doesn’t consent, it encourages relationship building and learning.
Other advice from the childcare chain includes replacing the phrase “don’t cry” with “I see how upset you are” or “It’s okay to be sad”.
In April, some nutjob mother in the US on TikTok went viral after sharing how she teaches her baby about consent, which included asking for her son’s permission to change his nappy.
At each step during the nappy change, she tells the young bub what she’s doing and checks it’s OK.
“The goal is to make him feel involved and not like a passive observer having his body manipulated,” a caption reads on the video
Her advice is similar to that given by Australian sexuality expert Deanne Carson, who was criticized in 2018 after encouraging parents to ask for consent to change nappies.
“Of course, a baby’s not going to respond, ‘Yes Mum, that’s awesome, I’d love to have my nappy changed,’ but if you leave a space and wait for body language and wait to make eye contact, then you’re letting that child know that their response matters,” she said on ABC News during an interview.