Before kids start school, it’s important that parents answer the question where are babies from, rather than have someone else give the information. Uncomfortable as it might be, parents need to establish themselves as the “go-to person” when kids have a question, instead of letting kids ask someone else.
Another issue is the correct names for all body parts. Some people feel reluctant or embarrassed about this, but it is part of protecting children from sexual abuse. When kids use the correct words, they give the message that they can talk about their bodies and have good basic knowledge. Children also need to learn that all body parts are equally special, including the private parts of the body, that is, those covered by underwear or a bathing suit.
Sometimes though, when children know these words, they talk about them in quite public places. Once children begin to have an understanding about privacy, talk to them about private and public spaces and remind them to talk at home or in another private place.
To help protect from child-abuse, sexual health educators use the words of safe touch, unsafe touch and secret touch. Safe touch can be good: such as hugs, bouncing, holding hands, washing and wiping, or yucky: like pulling out slivers and getting stitches. Unsafe touch includes hitting, kicking, biting, and kids usually know this kind of touching hurts others. Secret touch or private touch is for adults only. If parents have discussed this with young children they have a better understanding of boundaries and have the words to tell us if there are any problems. For children’s safety and well-being these are fundamental issues to address at home before kids come to school.
Books are a great resource. There are some excellent puzzles, too.
Altho they are more expensive, there are anatomically correct dolls. These can help make talking about sensitive issues much more natural. Just as an aside, boys can also play with dolls. Sometimes, giving a boy a boy-doll is more acceptable for those that have concerns.
Learning is compromised during stress, especially for children when the brain is growing. Feeling comfortable in and with your own body can reduce some of the stress and aid learning.
Have you talked about these concerns with your child?