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Kids are curious about everything—including their bodies and where they came from. If you're not sure how to address the complex world of sex, love, and relationships, don't worry. You don't have to put all the answers into one "big talk." In fact, it's best to have smaller, casual conversations over time.
Research shows that talking about sex early doesn't lead to early sexual activity. In fact, it does the opposite. Talking about sex early helps kids make healthy, responsible choices.
Like it or not, your child hears things at school and absorbs things in the media related to sex. But you are the best person to answer your child's questions and clear up misconceptions.
The most important things to remember? Keep it simple. Keep it honest. Make it normal.
Here are some tips to get started.
Your child may be trying to check a fact, make sure they're "normal," or explore values. One way to find out why they're asking something is to say, "That's a good question. What do you already know about that?"
Kids can be satisfied with a short, direct response. Extra details can be confusing.
That may be enough. If they ask a follow-up question, you can provide the next level of simple information.
To teach about anatomy:
To teach about love and relationships:
To teach about consent:
To teach about sexual activity your child might see in the media or out in public:
It's okay for children to touch themselves. If your child is doing this, you can use it as an opportunity to teach about private behaviours. You can say, "I know it feels good to touch your private parts, and that's okay. But it's something that needs to be done in private, just like going to the washroom or taking a bath or shower."
Ask the school counsellor or your pediatrician to recommend books, videos, or classes. And check out the website teachingsexualhealth.ca for more helpful content.
Congratulations! You're on your way to building with your child a bridge of communication about sex. If you start an open dialogue when they're younger, it'll pave the way for years to come.
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Adaptation Date: 3/22/2021
Adapted By: Alberta Health Services
Adaptation Reviewed By: Alberta Health Services
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