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TIPS BY AGE
TALKING OPENLY TO… Children aged 2 to 5
“How did I come out of your tummy?”

“Can I marry my brother?”

“Why haven’t you got a willy?”

The facts

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
Top tips

1

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

2

3

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!

4

Top phrases

“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
Healthychildren.org.jpg
Learn what’s “normal’, red-flag behaviour and body-safety teaching tips from this set of lists sourced by the American Academy of Pediatricians  Go to HealthyChildren.org >
“What’s healthy, what’s not“ | HEALTHYCHILDREN.ORG
pantos-300x300.jpg
Keep your child safe from unwanted touch. Teach them the vital PANTS acronym, get the guide or even launch the free Amazon Alexa Skill  Go to the PANTS Rule >
The PANTS Rule | NSPCC (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children)
Planned parenthood.jpg
This American sex-education and sexual-health nonprofit with a global reach has a dedicated preschoolers section for parents  Go to Planned Parenthood >
Preschool | PLANNED PARENTHOOD

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

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