When my 4 year old came to me with his big brown eyes and asked with much excitement, “How did I get here?”
I may have panicked a little!
Not so much because I was uncomfortable with having these kinds of conversations but because I didn’t want to give him too much information.
Here’s the thing most likely your child is not asking you to give him the full-fledge talk about sexual intimacy and reproduction. But your child may be asking because they are curious about their bodies or they heard something somewhere.
At this age, these conversations are more about setting a foundation of openness and communication and creating an atmosphere where your kids know they can come to you with anything than giving them a full breakdown of sexual intimacy.
So, in the future when your child is curious about the word he heard during recess he will know he can come to YOU instead of going to his friend. Or worse going to the internet and searching the word “dick” only to find more than they ever wanted to know about it.
That happened to me. My son heard that word at school and he knew it was not an appropriate word but he had no idea what it meant because we don’t use that kind of vocabulary in our home. So when he got home and I asked him about his day he asked me. He wasn’t embarrassed. He wasn’t scared. He simply asked. I didn’t act embarrassed, petrified or mad I simply responded to his question.
Children are constantly exposed to unhealthy examples of relationships in the media. Many of them are teaching your child lessons about sexuality and interactions between people that are misleading, incomplete, and unhealthy. Real emotional intimacy is rarely portrayed, so it’s your job to model positive behavior.” ~via 30 Days of Sex Talks
Sexual intimacy is a beautiful thing!
As we approach this topic with our kids let’s not bury it with our own shame, experiences and maybe even guilt. When we choose to avoid talking about this topic with our kids or we’re embarrassed by their curiosity we are sending the message to them that sex is dirty, shameful or perhaps sinful.
The world, society, predators and at times, even our bad experiences have twisted this beautiful thing called sex, into something to be ashamed of. But it’s our job to take the shame out of our sexuality and help our children see the beauty of how God made our bodies and this gift he has given us.
Sex is not just an act but a relationship. It’s love. We are in a culture where “love” has been taken out of the picture and that’s simply not how it was designed by God.
When my husband and I, talk to our boys about their sexuality and pornography we like to remind them that sex is beautiful when enjoyed in the right context and our bodies are something amazing God has created. We like to remind them that sex is so much more than just what movies and tv shows portray but it’s emotional, physical and spiritual!
How to Talk to Your Preschooler About Sex With Out Scaring Them
No, it’s not too early to have a sex talk with your preschooler.
Notice I said “a” not “the” sex talk. I point this out because our conversations are ongoing with our kids. It’s not a one-time conversation.
You might be thinking what is there to talk about other than the birds and the bees. Well, for example, talk to your kids about the intimacy between two adults and how that unites them. Talk about healthy ways to show love.
The mechanics of sexuality is definitely a conversation that needs to be had but it’s not just about the mechanics that we need to be talking about. You can talk about how sex is a relationship between two people who are committed and love each other. You can discuss healthy ways to display love.
To help ease your mind, at this point, we will not be discussing penetration and other more mature topics with our preschoolers. At this young of an age, it’s not necessary, unless you feel like you need to. You’re the parent, you decide how much is too much. For my kids, we reserve this level of information conversation for when they are 8 or 9. We may do it earlier depending on the circumstances at hand.
If possible, have these conversations with your child, along with your spouse so your child knows they can talk to both of you about anything. Not just one of you.
Also, don’t feel like you need to make this conversation a big deal by setting out a special time to discuss it.
The more natural you make it, the easier it will be for you to talk about. I love using books to help facilitate some of the conversations below. On my next blog post, I’ll share with you all the children’s books we use and have available for our children on these topics. It’s here, I’ve worked hard putting together my best resources so hopefully they are a help to you and your family.
How to Have Conversations with Your Preschooler About Sexuality age 3-6 years old
These are topics you can start discussing with your child:
- Talk about the awesome things our bodies can do.
- Share about healthy ways to show and receive love.
- Discuss how girls and boys bodies are different.
- When your out and about make sure to point out the beauty you see in creation and nature.
- Use proper vocabulary for their genitals.
- Teach them about privacy and what parts of their body are private.
- Their body belongs to them and it’s not to be shared.
- Talk about consent and practice it at home.
- Look away when you see pornography. This HERE is a great article on talking to your preschooler about pornography.
- Good touch and bad touch.
- A man and a woman make a baby and it grows in the woman’s uterus. Or when a mommy and daddy love each other they decide to make a baby which grows in the mommies uterus. We have our detailed conversation with them when they are 8 so you can say, “I’ll share more details about this amazing and beautiful thing when you’re 8.”
- Our bodies change as we get older but you can save the rest of that conversation for later.
Remember at this point you are mostly leading the conversation, not your child. Your child may have come upon information or images that are beyond their age and they may start inquiring about them as you have these conversations with them. Remember you lead the conversation on how much is appropriate for them to know at this point.
Unfortunately, my boys came upon some pornographic images when they were young, I share more about that awful experience HERE. One of the images they asked me about later was interpreted in their little heads as something totally different than what they saw. I knew that wasn’t what they saw, but I didn’t correct them on it because the actual image they saw was completely inappropriate and not something that I needed to be discussing with my children at this age. I let them believe their innocent interpretation of that image.
The more a child can appreciate his own body as a preschooler, the better foundation he will have for feeling positive about the greatest of all physical miracles.” ~How to Talk to Your Child About Sex
I hope this has encouraged you to dive into talking to your preschooler about their sexuality and to realize that at this age it’s not about the mechanics but about laying a foundation for future conversations and letting your child know–
“I am here. You can come to me with anything.”
What are some things you’ve done that have worked for your family?