Q. How much detail should my child know about sex at age 5?

A. First I will answer your question with a question. What do you mean by ‘sex’? There is a lot more to ‘sex’ then the act itself. If your child shows interest in knowing about ‘sex’, you should ask a few questions to clarify what they are really asking about. It could be anything from understanding the differences between male and female body parts, how babies are made, puberty, family relationships. Keep the explanations age appropriate, short, simple, and use proper terminology. At this age, knowing every detail of sexual intercourse would not be appropriate. The American Academy of Pediatrics  also recommends reading their reactions by saying “Does this answer your question?”  On the other hand if your child is saying, doing, drawing, acting out sexual acts that at his or her age he should not be aware of that is a red flag. Click here for more info on disclosure.

How you talk to your children is just as important as what you say. Starting these important conversations at a young age empowers children that their bodies are special and belong to them. Try to use a ‘poker face’ when they come to you with questions (I know it is hard to not laugh at some of the things they will ask.) Let them know that their question is a great question – and that you want to think about it over night and you will talk to them about it tomorrow. This is a great opportunity to do a little research to find or think about an age appropriate way to answer their questions. There are also age-appropriate children’s books that explain bodies, where babies come from, and how to talk to your children about their personal safety.


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