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  • Writer's pictureLeah Jewett

Sex education goes down a storm

Updated: Jun 25, 2020

It’s official: you are your child’s sex educator! That’s how the government defined parents in its Sex And Relationships Education guidance from the year 2000.

Whether you’re making a conscious effort to have open, honest conversations at home or firefighting tricky topics when they come up, you’ve been teaching your child all along how you feel about bodies, love, sex and relationships through your actions and attitudes.

There’s one day a year that publicly acknowledges these private talks we have with our kids.

RSE Day, held on 25 June, celebrates the importance of talking openly about relationships & sex education (RSE) topics both at home and in school.

This year parents, teachers, educators and organisations combined forces to create a social-media #RSEtogether storm by posting pictures of a book that’s special to them or their child. The theme: Books I Love About Love.

I chose Hello Sailor by Ingrid Godon, which doubles as a tribute to Pride month because it’s a picture book about a man who lives in a lighthouse waiting – his heart pounding – for his friend Sailor to return so they can travel the world together. Though the LGBT+ aspect of their love is more subtle than spelled out (well, the book is 20 years old), it’s a sweet story.

Outspoken director Sophie Manning chose James And The Giant Peach by Roald Dahl, saying: “This is my favourite book – it’s the story of a young boy who loses his loved ones and then makes new ones through the power of inclusion, acceptance and loyalty – and that is a lesson I want to be teaching my sons.”

Here are 5 of our favourite ideas from the Sex Education Forum for how parents can celebrate RSE on any day of the year!…

  1. Read a book with your child about love and healthy relationships

  2. Create a tree of family members and “people who care for me” with your child, naming the relationships and what they do for each other

  3. Make a puberty box with your child (you could put in deodorant or period products) and talk about the significance of puberty for your family, plus the excitement and fears that can come with growing independence

  4. Looking at old photos, discuss how family members have changed over the years and share memories, including about how they coped with challenges

  5. Start a conversation about positive body image – try talking about someone you admire and why, and perhaps prepare ahead of time by glancing at our Bodies & Body Image section

See all 10 RSE ideas for parents from the Sex Education Forum here. You might also get inspired by their ideas for primary schools and secondary schools to use with your child

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