Got Questions? We've got answers from experts and parents who've been there.
You are right, sex education should be an ongoing talk with your child from day one. It starts by calling genitals by their proper names. This teaches children that these body parts are not shameful, helps children communicate their needs with other caregivers (such as “I have a rash on my penis”), and makes it less likely for your child to become the victim of a sexual predator.
Most kids ask questions long before they are your daughter’s age. In the beginning you should just answer the question they are asking. In other words “where do babies come from” can be answered with “dads have something called a sperm, mommies have an egg. They come together in the uterus where the baby grows.” Of course all this becomes more complicated with same sex couples. As they get older and your child's questions get more complex and detailed, your answers should as well. If a child has not asked about how the sperm and egg get together by the time they are eight, a parent needs to initiate the conversation.
It is important for children to be able to talk to their parents about sex. You should be the first place your child wants to go with a question and you will be if you keep the conversations about sex comfortable from the beginning. If not, peers who are likely to provide misinformation and may have very different values will become your child’s source of sex education.
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The answers from our experts are for educational purposes only. Please always refer to your child's pediatrician and mental health expert for more in-depth advice.