I had the pleasure of delivering two workshops to parents a few weeks ago and an overarching theme was that parents were not sure what to teach and when. I speak a lot about what to teach here, but wanted to spend a moment looking at when!

It would be amazing to give a definite guide where on the day of a child’s birthday you know that it’s time to trot out the puberty talk, but unfortunately it’s not like that, is it?!

I like to use the word ‘timely’ instead of ‘age appropriate’ for 2 reasons:
1️⃣Children are all different and learn at different stages. What is right for one 7 year old is not necessarily right for another. Maybe your 7 year old has lots of older siblings or people around them and it feels right to get in there earlier with info that you want them to get from you and not from second hand sources.
2️⃣I’ve always felt that ‘age appropriate’ is some kind of catch all phrase that governments/schools (institutions mainly) say without any real understanding of s3x ed in order to cover their backs and give people a false sense of security-eg. We’ll talk about puberty when it’s age appropriate and then the schools themselves are left on their own to decide when that might be

If you’d like a rough guide, I’d say teach them the correct names for body parts from the beginning, use the word uterus when they ask about babies in tummies, talk about private and public parts and safe and unsafe touch as early as possible, answer in a scientific, matter of fact and shame free and simple way any time they ask about bodily functions and once they are around 7 or 8 you’ll start going into more detail about the changes associated with puberty. If you want to get in there before society/friends/older siblings when it comes to conception and sex, I wouldn’t leave it later than 11.

Of course, where I’ve mentioned ages it might be more TIMELY for your child to hear this stuff earlier. IF you are able to answer questions as and when they pop out throughout their early lives, talking about puberty and sex is going to be a natural progression from that. IF you are thinking, “oh my goodness, I’ve not done any of that and they’re X years old now” don’t panic! It’s never to late to introduce these topics. If you need help as to how, DM and I’d happily deliver a workshop to you and your parent friends to give you some pointers!