How to Talk to Your Infant About Healthy Sexual Development
When should you begin talking to your child about healthy sexual development? The answer is: right now!
No matter the age of your child you can start laying the groundwork for them to have a healthy view of sex.
Even your infant (0 to 2 years old) is not too young for you to start introducing some basic concepts. Below are a few of the things you can teach them and how to talk about healthy sexual development.
Teach them the names of their body parts.
Using appropriate names can help children be comfortable in their own bodies. As you’re changing your infant’s diaper, you can take that opportunity to tell them the names of their body parts. The same way that you teach them the names for their eyes, fingers, arms, etc. you’ll want to teach them names for their private body parts.
Don’t make them feel ashamed when they touch their genitals.
Remain neutral. Don’t encourage or discourage the touching. This is a normal part of development at this age; they are discovering their body and, to them, their genitals are another body part like an arm or leg.
Affirm their enjoyment of non-sexual touch.
Cuddling, hugs, fist-bumps, etc. Let your infant know that you enjoy these as well and that it’s good to enjoy them.
No means no.
It’s never too early to start teaching your child about the importance of consent. If they don’t want to hug or kiss someone, even if it’s you, respect that boundary that they’ve set up. Don’t encourage them to hug or kiss another person if that person clearly doesn’t want to. Let them know that when someone says no, it’s okay.
These may seem simple, but they are powerful. They’ll be able to make a big impact on your child from a young age. It’s important to remember that if you want your child to have a healthy view of sex and sexuality, then it’s important to have little talks along the way, not saving it all for one big talk.
Talking to Your Kids at All Ages
You can talk to your child about healthy sexuality no matter the age. Below we have links to blog posts 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.