As parents and caregivers, we know that children are bubbly, innovative, and imaginative. But they’re also vulnerable. They have much less life experience than us and look to their caretakers to guide them safely through the world.

As a society, we often try to pretend child abuse doesn’t exist. It feels too terrible to talk about. But that’s part of the problem. Rosalia Rivera, Abuse Prevention Expert and founder of CONSENTParenting, advocates for survivors of sexual abuse and runs programming to teach parents and caregivers how to prevent child abuse and teach children about bodily autonomy and consent.

Rosalia joined Sittercity’s Jada on Instagram Live to discuss consent parenting, how parents and caregivers can keep kids safe, and what it looks like to introduce kids of all ages to bodily autonomy.

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Rosalia’s Passion for Child Protection

Rosalia always wanted to work with sexual abuse survivors, but she didn’t realize in what capacity until she became a parent. When her first child was 5 and wanted to go to summer camp, she signed him up with apprehension. The day before camp started, Rosalia had a panic. How could she know her child would be safe in this group of strangers?

Rosalia’s own experience as a survivor is part of what triggered her panic. The thought of sending her child out of his safety net for the first time brought up long-repressed memories from her past. From that moment on, she was inspired to teach parents how to ensure their child’s community made child consent a priority.

Rosalia shared that her first instinct was to shelter her child and become overprotective out of fear. But she realized she did not want to parent her children out of fear. She wanted to work to create a world where her kids were safe to socialize and grow in the community.

Open Communication Can Lead to Peace of Mind for Parents

Rosalia and her organization, CONSENTParenting, advocate for open communication around body safety—even if talking about it feels uncomfortable. Rosalia says that finding safe child care is much easier when parents and caregivers are willing to openly discuss child sexual abuse prevention and consent.

When parents are looking into a new daycare, summer camp, or after-school program, they can ask many questions to determine whether or not the organization prioritizes child consent. This includes asking about their supervision rules, abuse policy, and more.

Suppose parents are searching for a new nanny or sitter to welcome into their home. In that case, it’s essential to be upfront about household rules on consent and bodily autonomy from the very beginning of the hiring process. Ask the candidate if they’re familiar with body safety and child consent and what that means. Assert that child consent is a priority for your family, and establish the rules from the get-go.

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Other Tools from Consent Parenting

During the live interview, Rosalia shared the tools and programming she and CONSENTParenting offer. Not only do they offer online courses and presentations, but Rosalia is hosting a free online workshop in November. The presentation is aimed at parents and caregivers to teach them about private parts and safety. It will cover everything from diaper changes to potty training and more. To learn more, you can stay up to date on the CONSENTParenting website.

Watch the full conversation below to learn more about the warning signs when hiring a new nanny, the tools nannies and sitters can use to introduce these concepts to parents, and more. Be sure to follow Sittercity on Instagram to catch future Live conversations!

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