Toddlers and sex education? You may wonder what the importance is of addressing this "adult topic" with such a young child. Actually, this is the ideal time. You are the center of your child's world. He takes in everything that you say. What a perfect time to begin imparting the values of your family.
Look for teachable moments, and take advantage of these times. When talking with your toddler, remember that children of this age have a very short attention span. Be brief and concise in your explanations.
- As you teach your baby or toddler the names of body parts, include the names for the sexual organs.
- Clarify the difference between appropriate and non-appropriate touch. Your child knows the feel of appropriate (good) touch. Hopefully he has been receiving lots of cuddling, hugs and kisses from family and friends since his birth. Explain that inappropriate (bad) touch is any touch that does not feel right. If anyone touches your child in this manner, he needs to know that he should tell them to stop. Then, it is important that he tell you. Make him aware that you always want to know if something is making him uncomfortable or unhappy.
- Teach your child that his genitals are private. Sexual play may begin around three years of age. This is a normal part of sexual exploration. Children may "play doctor" or simply undress and reveal their bodies to each other. If you discover that your child and a friend or sibling are involved in sexual play, it can take you by surprise. Try not to act shocked. Calmly, let your child know that it is not OK to show people his genitals, or to touch other people's genitals. Use this as an opportunity to discuss the differences between the bodies of boys and girls.