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Sex Education for Preschoolers


Parents may think that they won't have to have "the talk" until their little ones are teens. They might be surprised to find that sex comes up much sooner than they think. Kiddos are always curious, and they just might ask questions you're not ready to answer. Here is a guide to talking with your preschoolers about sex:

Talk about bodies 

One of the very first sex-related topics that parents must discuss is their children's bodies. Toddlers may ask about their own parts or even point to mom or dad and ask, "What's that?" It's a good idea to speak with your partner beforehand to make sure you're on the same page with what you want to call your different gendered areas. Some families use cutesy nicknames for sex organs, for example, while others would prefer their children use anatomical terms like penis and vagina. Young kids should be able to name all of their body parts, from facial features to limbs, including their gender-specific regions as well.

Teach privacy

While children are learning their anatomy, it's a crucial time to mention privacy. Set boundaries with your child on what is appropriate in public and at home. Some families tell their little ones that the bathing suit area (bottoms for boys and bottoms and tops for girls) is the private zone that should never be exposed outside of the home. This is an easy way to help kids understand what parts of their bodies are private. 

two young sisters smiling together

Discuss touching

It is never too early to discuss consent. Social little kids may hug their peers because they think it's fun and shows they're friends. For some children, this is OK. Others may prefer not to be touched. Whether your kids are the huggers or huggees, they should know a few rules on when touching is OK. Tell them that no one should touch them without permission, and that any time something happens and they feel uncomfortable the child should tell an adult like a teacher or mom and dad. 

Decide on what to say about sex

Another important thing to discuss with your partner is how much you want your young child to know about sex. When the question, "How are babies made?" or "Where do babies come from?" comes up, it's necessary to come to a decision about how much to share. Perhaps you want to tell your little one that babies come from mommy's tummy and leave it at that. Or, maybe you want to fully explain sex and fertilization, using correct terminology and perhaps diagrams or gestures. Be prepared to answer questions using language that your child understands. There are many terms for sex and reproductive organs, from wee wee to penis and member, so make sure your child hears an explanation that is on par with their current understanding. 

You're not going to have just one talk about sex throughout a child's life. Instead, this should be an ongoing process that evolves as your kids grow up and learn more about biology as well as go through puberty and eventually become sexually active.

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