When’s the Right Time to Talk?

Young children are alive with curiosity about their world, how it works, and their place in it, now and in the future. At ages 4, 5 and 6 they are especially eager to find out all about how bodies work, where babies come from, what makes a family. When you welcome their questions and respond to their curiosity with honest information, you keep that wonder and awe blossoming and establish your role as the trusted adult who can be relied on to tell them the truth.

If they’re asking the question, they’re ready for the answer, as long as its simple and to the point, and, of course, truthful. It’s a good idea to have a book written for their age group in the house so you can read it with them, and look up answers together. It will also provide you with the language for transmitting a clear and age-appropriate message.

Find out what your child’s school is doing. Ideally, their school will be your partner in addressing your child’s need to know. A quality sexuality education program begins when children enter school and builds each year in sync with their development. It gives them the information about their bodies and basics of reproduction while they are so eager to learn it, and when its simply about how the world works. Then, when they get a little older and it all becomes more personal (as they begin to enter into puberty and are aware of the pending teenage years) they already have a foundation upon which to build greater knowledge and skills for healthy relationships and healthy living. And when it gets into dating and sex during the teenage years, you’ll be really glad you established your role early on as the one they know to come to for information.