When you hear the term sex education for the first time, you may feel offended or think that it is unsuitable for children. However, nowadays with the massive exposure to the Internet and technology, it has become essential to talk to our children about sexual education gradually in a matter suitable to their age. Kids are empowered with the information that answers all their concerns and questions.
In this article, you will find the simplest ways to introduce sexual education to your little ones based on their age.
Sexual education from birth :
We may think that we need to start sexual education when kids start to ask questions about their bodies, but the fact is the sooner the better.
All we can do in the first years is to protect their privacy:
- Don’t change their diapers in front of anyone.
- Don’t tickle the baby near the genital organs.
- When they touch themselves, distract and redirect without stressing on the issue or overreacting.
The first three years :
Once the toddler is potty trained, he/she starts to notice and discover genitals and becomes curious about the body. That’s when we need to talk about body privacy and boundaries.
- No one is allowed to see or touch our private areas except parents.
- We are not allowed to see anyone’s private areas and we should respect other people’s privacy.
- They should never go to the bathroom with the door open.
- Call the genital organs using clear real names.
- Never force your child to kiss or hug a friend or relative when he doesn’t want to because this delivers a message opposite to what we need them to believe in. Your body is yours and you are the only one who can decide who can touch you.
From 3 to 7 years old:
- Start to explain the difference between male and female bodies using easy and simple science-based books or videos.
- Talk about every body organ, and when it’s time to talk about genitals, explain the difference normally so that they feel that is normal information and nothing to be ashamed of.
- Talk about the privacy of their bodies and their rights to refuse any uncomfortable touch. You can read them a book called Ana Ghali (أنا غالي) at Diwan Bookstore which tackles protecting our bodies against harassment.
From 7 to 10 years old:
As the child grows, he becomes more exposed to the Internet and television, so he starts to ask more questions, and we need to be ready and well prepared with answers that fulfill their curiosity. It is very important not to distract them when we can’t answer their questions. You can be honest and explain that you will look for the answers they need. Distraction or unfulfilling answers will make kids search for what they need to know but you can’t trust the source of information they find. Keeping your answers super simple, clear and REAL.
Finally, I would like to say that the best approach to satisfy curiosity in kids is to answer their questions and talk naturally which encourages them to come to you with their questions about sex (and not their friends or the Internet).
Further reading: Child Sexual Behaviour: Why Does My Daughter Touch Herself?