At Defend Innocence, we get a lot of questions about when and how you should begin talking to your children about healthy sexual development. Our answer for when is: right now! No matter the age of your child, you can start laying the groundwork for them to have a good understanding of their development.
Children from ages 5 to 8 are becoming more and more curious about their bodies and the bodies of others. By discussing the things below with them (and anything else you feel is appropriate), you’ll help them develop a healthy view of sexuality.
Educate them about reproduction.
For younger children this discussion may be as simple as explaining that a baby is made from a sperm and an egg and the baby grows in a uterus.
As they get older it may be appropriate for you to add more to this about the mechanics of how it occurs and give them an overview of it
Sometimes it’s easier to bring up this discussion with a little help. Here are some books that some of the parents at Defend Innocence have found beneficial in discussing reproduction with their children.
Explain different sexual orientations and respect.
No one else has rights to their body.
No means no.
Children at this age are beginning to hear things from peers at school and, as they’re exposed to more media, that may bring up questions. As you lead out on important conversations, your child will learn that you are a safe place for them to express questions that they will surely have. Encourage your child to talk to you about things that make them uncomfortable or that go against what you’ve taught them. An open dialogue is an essential part of protecting your child from child sexual abuse.
Talking to Your Kids at All Ages
You can talk to your child about healthy sexual development no matter the age. Below we have links to articles about what you should cover in each age range. Always take the time to think through what you’re going to say and remember to keep your child’s maturity in mind. And remember, every time you have a little talk it makes it a little easier to have the next one.
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