Many parents dread the day when their children will start asking about sex. It’s something you must tackle…just like learning to read and or tying their shoes. Telling your child that the stork brings babies or that it’s wrong to masturbate are things you might want to avoid. Here are some tips to tackle the birds and the bees with your wee one, when the time comes.
1. If you notice your child touching their genitals, don’t freak out! Apparently babies masturbate in the womb…so it’s not deviant to do it. It’s natural. Don’t shame your child for their curiosity and never scold or punish them for this. Explain to your child that touching their genitals is normal and healthy but it’s something that should be done in private and NEVER in public. Letting them know, early on, that masturbation is ok will help them build healthy ideas about their sexuality as they grow up.
2. Quit with the silly names for “private parts.” There’s really no need for wee-wee’s or cookies once your child is capable of speaking coherently. Your child can say penis and vagina just as easy as they can say dicky bird :) When a child uses proper terminology for genitals, they can grow up without embarrassment of these words. Some people I know, in their 30’s can’t handle saying the word vagina. That’s unfortunate.
3. Tackling the “where do babies come from?” question can be tricky. You want to explain in so that your child understands but not give them too much information to confuse them. I highly recommend this book by Cory Silverberg. It handles the baby question and offers answers that cover all kinds of babies and all kinds of families. It’s great for kids from pre-school up to age 8. The perfect time for kids to learn about this kind of thing!
4. Kids exploring other kids. Yeah, it might make you uncomfortable but it’s likely that it will happen. If you catch your child playing show and tell with another child, please don’t be angry. Don’t make a fuss, simply straighten your child’s clothing and direct their attention to something else. When the moment has passed, have a little chat with your child. Tell them that being curious is fine, but that sort of touch is better left for when they are older. Stress that being curious is not a bad thing and there is no need to be embarrassed or to feel guilty but they should not remove their clothing in public or touch or be touched by anyone until they have grown up a little bit. Explain to them what touches are ok and what touches are not, at their age.
5. Yes, 5. 5 is a perfect age to start educating your child about sex and sexuality. Answer all questions honestly and if you don’t know the answers, just tell your child that you don’t know right now, but you will find out for them. Be open and let them know that they can trust you and that it’s totally fine to have these sorts of questions. If you open up the lines of communication at an early age, there will be no need for the dreaded Birds and Bees talk. Your child will have grown up learning about sex little by little so there will be no need for that awkward talk.
There are so many books on this topic and a ton of internet sources to help make this topic a little easier. Check out Amazon, browse some parenting websites and good luck..you can do it!