Your preschooler comes home and says ‘Susie said I have a vulva. What’s a vulva?’ The room starts to get dark, your face turns red and you have no idea what to say. You need to know how to talk to your kids about private parts.
I get it. It’s weird to think about teaching your children body parts- especially their private parts. But, it’s something we must take seriously.
Our children need to know that their genitalia is normal.
But how do you know exactly what to say and how to talk to your kids about private parts? Let me help.
How to Talk To Your Kids About Private Parts
Make it Normal
If we teach our kids about their genitalia in the same way we teach them their other body parts, it becomes normal. Not something to giggle about or feel embarrassed about, but normal.
Entirely too many kids are giggling in high school sex-ed class when they hear the word penis or vagina.
But what if, instead of resorting to laughter because our anatomy makes us uncomfortable, kids find the names for their private parts (gasp) normal?
When kids know and are comfortable using the standard terms for their private body parts—penis, scrotum, clitoris, vagina—it adds another layer of protection against molestation, child abuse, and more.
We should strive to create a culture where our children feel comfortable telling us about- and asking questions about- their private parts, just like they do for so many other topics.
Use Visuals: Books to Help You Talk to Your Kids About Private Parts
Teaching your kids body parts is no easy task and sometimes using a book makes the process less overwhelming or embarrassing for us as adults. These are some of my favorite resources when it comes to teaching toddlers about their anatomy.
Who Has What?: All About Girls’ Bodies and Boys’ Bodies
Young children are curious about almost everything. Asking questions is one of many ways they learn about themselves and the world around them. Now, this unique series for our youngest children provides easy-to-understand facts and answers to their delightful, thoughtful, and often nonstop questions.
Launching the series is WHO HAS WHAT?, a simple story following Nellie and Gus on a family outing to the beach. Humorous illustrations, conversations between the siblings, and a clear text all reassure young kids that whether they have a girl’s body or a boy’s, their bodies are perfectly normal, healthy, and wonderful.
It’s Perfectly Normal
When young people have questions about sex, real answers can be hard to find. Providing accurate, unbiased answers to nearly every imaginable question, from conception and puberty to birth control and AIDS, It’s Perfectly Normal offers young people the information they need — now more than ever — to make responsible decisions and to stay healthy.
Sex is A Funny Word
A comic book for kids that includes children and families of all makeups, orientations, and gender identities, Sex Is a Funny Word is an essential resource about bodies, gender, and sexuality for children ages 8 to 10 as well as their parents and caregivers. Much more than the “facts of life” or “the birds and the bees,” Sex Is a Funny Word opens up conversations between young people and their caregivers in a way that allows adults to convey their values and beliefs while providing information about boundaries, safety, and joy.
Private Parts are Not Bad
If we are regularly embarrassed by our children’s questions about their bodies, kids will learn that their body parts are wrong, rude or even naughty. And that may lead to them becoming embarrassed to talk about them which could make them less likely to tell you if someone is touching them inappropriately.
Kids need to understand that they’re private parts are healthy and normal. They’re different because we keep them covered up, but still good and acceptable body parts.
Use these ideas and books to make talking to your kids about their body parts simpler and less overwhelming. Help them learn that their body parts are normal.