Many parents notice that kids have an awareness and often curiosity about bodies and touch as early as they notice other aspects of their world and themselves. We know that these first experiences of exploration and understanding are important to children’s development of healthy body image, feelings and ideas about safety, and also their ability to learn and practice consent and healthy relationship behaviors later in life.
As a parent you might feel a bit unsure of when to start teaching your children about their bodies and sexuality. There are some great books that can help you get prepared. One we recommend is Beyond Birds & Bees by Bonnie J Rough. This book will help any parent understand what to talk about at different ages & developmental stages.
While there aren’t many resources for young kids there are a couple good books available.
For kids age 3-6, we recommend two books written by Joani Blank, sex educator and founder of the woman-friendly adult store Good Vibrations. She published these when her own daughter was 5 years old. My Kid’s First Book About Sex and The Playbook For Kids About Sex have the same content, though the latter is more interactive and visual. The books guide kids to reflect about their own bodies, nudity, body diversity, naming genitals, self-touch, how their own families talk about these things, what sex and sexy mean, and more. Each topic is presented in a gentle, but matter-of-fact way, inviting the young reader to express their own positive, negative, or ambivalent reactions, and providing a great starting point for questions.
Both are out of print, but Blank’s estate has made them available for download through her website for personal use. Downloads are free, though donations are welcome.
For kids ages 8-10, we recommend Sex is a Funny Word, by sex educator Cory Silverberg. Written with a similar focus and approach, this inclusive, visual guide covers self-exploration, bodies, and touch, with some more attention paid to the fundamentals of different kinds of relationships. Click here for a full description and to purchase this book.