How to ... talk to your child about sex

Avoid the ‘big awkward talk’ approach and tell the truth in an age-appropriate way

It’s common to feel awkward and nervous, but it’s important to be honest and clear. Photograph: iStock

It’s common to feel awkward and nervous, but it’s important to be honest and clear. Photograph: iStock

When should I talk to my child about sex?
Early and often, that’s when you should talk to your child about sex and sexuality. “It’s not about having the one big awkward talk,” says Jenny Carty, clinical manager at the Clanwilliam Institute. “We should all be trying to weave sex and sexuality into our kids’ lives, in an age-appropriate way, from the very beginning.” When they ask, “Where  do babies come from?” – that’s your in.

So, where do babies come from?
A good idea is to use your child’s own birth story and your own particular family situation, says Carty. “That could be, Daddy and I got together and we really loved each other and wanted to have a baby. There was an egg and a sperm and the sperm goes into the egg.” You don’t have to get too much into the details with younger children, she says. Expand as they get older.

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