Talking to children about sex: an age-appropriate guide

Talking to children about sex can be like walking over a minefield for both, the child and parents alike. However, it doesn’t have to! There is an appropriate time to talk to your kids about sex and relations. Believe us; there is nothing better than discussing it openly and honestly.

Well, to make this less awkward for you, we have compiled a step by step and age-appropriate guide that will help you talk to your children about sex.

Babies and Toddlers – Birth to 2 years
– Refer to their private parts as their names like penis, nipples, vulva, vagina, etc. Do not shy away from naming their body parts.
– Allow the children to touch their body parts if they do so while bathing or changing. It allows them to explore and get aware of their body parts.
– Introduce the babies the difference between genders. Keep telling them about different reproductive organs.
– Talk to the babies about different parts of the body and their functions. For example, while they are using the washroom, tell them that they are passing urine and it comes out from the penis or the vulva for boys and girls respectively.
– Introduce them to boundaries when it comes to nudity. Tell them it is okay to have no clothes on while at home, but they cannot remove their clothes while outside in public.

Pre-schoolers – 3 to 5 years
– Continue to name their body parts like the penis and vulva/vagina.
– Make the difference between girls and boys more explicit and more transparent for them. However, remember also to point out many similarities between the two genders.
– Make them understand the concept of privacy. Tell them that private parts mean that they are ‘just for you.’
– Also, explain to them the concept of respecting the privacy of others.
– Tell them that they can touch their private parts as long as they are in a private room with no company.
– A common question that occurs in the minds of these young children is “where did I come from?” Try to explain to them that there is a biological process that took place and they came from mummy’s tummy instead of leaving the questions unanswered.
– Tell them that all living creatures – humans, plants, and animals reproduce.

Early School Age – 6 to 8 years
– By this age, the children should know the names of their private parts as well as internal organs and must not shy away from using the appropriate terms.
– They should be exposed to the concept of male sperms and female eggs. They should also be explained in slightly more detail about how babies are born and the process.
– The idea of sexual intercourse should be introduced, and they should be assured that it is a usual tendency that will occur as a part of growing up.
– However, it should be made very clear that sex is an activity for adults and not for children.
– Tell them that after a few years, their body will undergo some changes. These changes are reasonable and are called puberty.

In the end, always remember one thing.  Don’t stress yourself about discussing with your child everything about sex and about getting it right. What matters more is that you are talking about this with your kids, giving them a clear message that they can discuss just anything and everything with you without any hesitation. And that’s what matters the most!