Your child is learning at the speed of light!
The brain is at its most plastic (able to change) at age 2 or 3
The brain at this age has up to twice as many synapses as it will in adulthood
That makes the early years the most impressionable time in a child’s life. As you might have noticed, children this age take everything in – and then they “use it or lose it”
It’s around now that “theory of mind” (understanding about different points of view) usually develops. This is the beginning of a child’s approach to relationships
TALKING OPENLY TO CHILDREN AGED 2 TO 5
Have conversations about sex, love and relationships early and often. Just as with anything else, children learn by repetition
The earlier you use correct words for body parts – like vulva and penis – the more normal it will be for your child. It’s protective. Secrecy and shame often fuel unwanted attitudes and behaviour
If you talk openly early on and continue, that openness will spiral throughout your child’s life. Start out small, basic and simplistic – you’ll end up adding detail along the way. Think of it like a lens that starts out blurry & comes into focus over time
Make your point before your child gets bored. Active young children often give you only a small window of time to get your message across!
“Was that a good touch or a bad touch?”
“You’re in my personal space bubble”
“Your body is amazing. It can…”
“Thank you for asking. I like your questions”
More help with ages 2 to 5
Remember: every child is different. Adjust these suggestions for the age and stage of your child. Children with special educational needs and disabilities, looked-after children and children who have experienced abuse may also need different support.
If you’re in doubt about your child’s development, you should seek the advice of a professional