Parenting

How to talk to your child about sex- Useful Inputs from Parents

Shikha Batra
3 to 7 years

Created by Shikha Batra
Updated on May 02, 2015

How to talk to your child about sex Useful Inputs from Parents
Reviewed by Expert panel

Some of the questions asked by a curious child?

“Is the baby coming out right now?”

“Did she eat the baby, how it got stuck in her tummy?”

“How will it come out through mouth or poop?”

Some of the comments by an older child who thought they know it all.
(Situation: a bunch of children exchanging information on how babies are made)
“You know what, when papa kisses mom, babies are formed.”

“No, you are wrong. God gifts babies. When my Mama and Papa wanted to have me, they went to the temple, kneeled down and asked God to give them a baby. God immediately blessed them with me. “

“You all know nothing. My mom told me, she got me from TARGET store in Australia. If I don't behave well she will return me to them as they have this offer. See I behave so nicely and so should you all.”

“I will have a baby girl too. I will ask the doctor to unzip my tummy and let the baby walk out. She will look like my Barbie doll. I will dress her up all in pink from head to toe.”

These were some of the snippets of narratives from our little EXPERTS, who had their own understandingof a baby’s birth. I would like to confess that I incidentally overheard their conversation, when I had gone to their room, to see my daughter.

To give a little background of the situation. We are a well-knit group of 10 friends. A friend of mine who has a 4-year-old daughter invited us all to her baby shower for her second child. She invited the children for the party too as it was scheduled for a Saturday afternoon.

When I shared the children’sunderstanding of birth of a baby with their mothers, they were all dumbfounded with one question, “When and how should I tell my child about sex?”

We all had our experiences to share where we were bombarded with questions, or given surprises (shock to be precise) sometimes at the most inopportune times.A friend shared that once her daughter dressed up with all make up, jewelry on supposedly like a bride and demanded that I make arrangements so that she could get married with her father. Another friend confessed how sheand her hubby had to face embarrassing questions earlier too. Once her 5-year-old son wanted to know “If daddy has a penis too and why it becomes so hard at times?”
We all agreed to this, it becomes quite awkward to answer a child’s questions relating to private body parts and sex. The discussion reached a point where we all decided to chalk out strategies to deal with such questions and reach an agreement on when should kids know about sex, how, and how as parents can we teach our children about sex. The agreements were reached on following points:

1. Sex is not a taboo: A child needs to know the answers to questions pertaining to sex without being made to realize that talking about it is embarrassing or a taboo. If we adults would keep on blushing and avoiding discussions on these issues, chances are they would make their own understanding of sex based on what they see on television or collect from age mates or other sources which could be inaccurate and misleading in the longer run.
2. Telling in their language: Children need not be told actual mechanics of sex, as the purpose is not to frighten them. In age appropriate, simple language, which is not overloading or overwhelming. We could answer their questions using correct names, rather than popular euphemisms, for private body parts. Keep sex education age appropriate.
3. A child can ask a question anytime: If your child creates an embarrassing situation for you by asking questions at the inopportune time, try not to snap, or put her off. Handle the situation carefully by saying, “You have asked a very good question. I would answer the same while we are on our way back home.” Try and answer the question at the time you mentioned so that it does not give the sense to child that she has done something bad by asking you this question.
4. It’s an ongoing conversation, not a one-time thing: The discussion need not be restricted to one particular day. It should be more of an unfolding process wherein we can use everyday opportunities say when you went to the zoo and your child watches a goat delivering a baby or when you were traveling in a train and your child sees a mother nursing her baby and demands to know what is happening. Keep the language and references age appropriate.
5. Private body parts: Teach the child about private body parts and about good touch and bad touch. Also they need to know exploring private parts is not OK to do in public and should be done in private.

By the end of this whole episode me and my friends had so many important lessons to take back home along with giggles. There I faced a question again from my daughter on our way back, “Mama I see you giggling, is that because I look so pretty?” I wish I could give the factual answer to her, but I decided to reply “Yes, indeed my sweetheart!”


Answering childrens’ questions on sex in an age-appropriate way and straightforward manner than avoiding the discussion would foster healthy feelings about sex. The message should be conveyed in such a manner that it does not connote sex as a “shameful act”. There are age-appropriate books dealing with this subject that can be helpful.

To put it together, here are a few examples that will help parents teach their child about sex
1) Body parts: A vagina or a penis need not be called a wee wee or a pee pee but use the exact words (when a child observes it on another child)or refer it to as diaper area for a pre-schooler. Call breasts as breasts not as two stomach moms have. (Generally appropriate and asked by a child between 2-3 years).
2) What is sex: Try explaining that it a physical form of love that grown-ups like mumma and papa share with each other. (Generally asked by and appropriate for children between the ages of 7-9 years)
3) Where does a baby come from: From either the space in between mum’s legs (an older child who understand body parts can be told vagina) or when a doctor operates. Till such time you were inside mummas uterus (Generally asked by and appropriate for children between the ages of 2-5 years)
4) Why do you/older sibling have hair down there: Nature has designed it in a way to protect our soft body parts. Like eyebrows to protect eyes, underarm hair to protect the soft underarm area, similarly hair here protects your private part.
5) About menstruation/periods: Every month, mumma’s body makes an egg and the body prepares to receive that egg by generating enough blood and tissue for it. But if the egg doesn’t turn into a baby, all the blood and tissue is let out from the body and that causes menstruation or periods. Specify that it is a very natural process and nothing to get afraid or disgusted by and that a boy child needs to respect it too. (Generally asked by and appropriate for children between the ages of 5-7 years)
6) What is rape or sexual abuse: Rape or sexual abuse is when someone touches a private part of your body without your permission or in a way which makes you not like it. This also includes kissing on the mouth. You can ask the person to stop it and scream out for help. (Generally asked by and appropriate for children between the ages of 2-7 years)


I am sure as parents you all must have had parallel experiences and would have encountered similar questions from your little wonders. Please share how you have dealt with such situations. Your inputs are valuable for fellow parents.

This content has been checked & validated by Doctors and Experts of the parentune Expert panel. Our panel consists of Neonatologist, Gynecologist, Peadiatrician, Nutritionist, Child Counselor, Education & Learning Expert, Physiotherapist, Learning disability Expert and Developmental Pead.

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| May 02, 2015

Very nicely written Shikha. I have had questions from my son at various stages such as how does the hen lay egg, why do I resemble dad when I came from your tummy, what is puberty etc. I ensure that I don't show any hesitation or feel uncomfortable in answering his question so he doesn't think he asked something wrong and he doesn't feel uncomfortable in coming to me next time with his questions. Sometimes I direct the question to him by asking what he thinks it is or how he thinks it happens. In the meantime, I gather my thoughts. But most of the time I am prepared with the facts and an age appropriate answer. For resemblance question, I told him that the babies are formed when the eggs from mom and a seed from dad are joined together. So babies get the characteristics of both the parents. You are right. We need to provide the age appropriate answer. Don't have to go overboard in explaining. All they need is a convincing and truthful answer. And i completely agree on educating even the boys about menstruation at the same age as the girls which is around 10 years. My son is 9 years old. But I used the opportunity when our doggie was on heat. Having a pet is an added advantage in talking about the birds and the bees. :-)

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| May 02, 2015

Excellent blog!

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| May 02, 2015

Awesome write up.. Always wondered how to handle these questions from kids. Shikha you have dealt with this issue quite brilliantly. Keep up the great work.......

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| May 03, 2015

Shikha- thanks for these relatable instances and examples. Really helpful.

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| May 04, 2015

very good blog... simply written and solves so many of my issues too.. loved it

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| May 04, 2015

Excellent shikha. ...

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| May 05, 2015

Nice blog thank you ..!

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| May 05, 2015

Nice blog !!

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| May 05, 2015

Awesome

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| May 05, 2015

Answering their kids' questions about sex is a responsibility that many parents dread. Otherwise confident moms and dads often feel tongue-tied and awkward when it comes to talking about puberty and where babies come from. But the subject shouldn't be avoided. Parents can help foster healthy feelings about sex if they answer kids' questions in an age-appropriate way.

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| May 05, 2015

Amazingly thought n written, gr8

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| May 05, 2015

Nicely constructed Shikha... I am sure each parent will go through this stage and today or tomorrow all of us will have to respond to our children's queries maturely. We can't just shy away and buy time to go away with these questions. We have to become their friends and ensure that they get to know about this from us rather than from any one else.

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| May 05, 2015

agree with Gaurav Taneja , gone are the times when we could brush such things aside. Children seek more knowledge and clarity in today's times, and it's important as parents to help them with information in an age-appropriate manner.

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| May 06, 2015

Nice blog... thanks to help us in such way. My son is now 7 years and many time asking some questions about a child birth. So we decided to tell them clearly with appropriate words according to his age and it works. I'm really surprised when one day he told me that papa today I discussed with my classmates about a child birth because from last few days they were talking wrong things about child birth and today I correct that. So its clear that if we don't help then in those stages when they have lots of questions in their minds, we will lost them because their minds will set in a myth world created by their same age other children.

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| May 06, 2015

very nice...

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| May 07, 2015

nice blog... thanks

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| May 07, 2015

Gud information. thankx a lot

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| May 08, 2015

Such a good information. Thankx

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| May 08, 2015

Very informative

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| May 08, 2015

Very very important information thanks for helping

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| May 08, 2015

Good information. Thanks a lot!

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| May 08, 2015

Very informative thank a lot

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| May 08, 2015

Beautifully answered.... !!! ????

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| May 08, 2015

Thank you all ! Really appreciate such positive feedback!

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| May 09, 2015

Nice explaination

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| May 09, 2015

Very nicely written article. I m really impressed

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| May 09, 2015

Great very good info

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| May 09, 2015

Neat write up, useful

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| May 09, 2015

Very good information.. thanks

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| May 09, 2015

Nice information. Thnks

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| May 11, 2015

Informative topics.

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| May 11, 2015

Very interesting. May I ask you.... Can you make an age appropriate sex education for normal children, which every mother could adopt or show the video using the body parts etc.

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| May 11, 2015

Very helpful ...thanks

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| May 14, 2015

Great read for the mothers!! This article will help to prepare them for meaningfull and timely dialogue with their kids.

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| May 14, 2015

Sonia dua so true, imagine something which is avoided each time it comes up, it shall either become that mysterious treasure hunt which our children will try and solve or a taboo which they would become uncomfortable talking about..... either ways, not good for us as parents.

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| May 14, 2015

Thank you dear Proparents! I agree with you both Sonia Dua and Nita Sahni! Avoiding or delaying discussion on this topic would bring more curiosity as well as Confusion around Which if solved by kids themeselves could be misleading.

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| May 17, 2015

hi Jayaselvi! That's a nice suggestion. You can find videos on teaching kids about sex education on you tube For parents/caregivers.

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| May 18, 2015

Tried answering some of the questions by my kid on tabooed topic of 'sex 'which we were earlier avoiding. thank you very much for sharing.

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| May 19, 2015

Nice but could be made precise and meaningful

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| May 19, 2015

Just what I was looking for! Thank you and keep up the good work!

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| May 19, 2015

Must say very maturely written and thought upon...

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| May 19, 2015

Spoke to my son but this time confidently. This article helped me a lot in dealing maturely. Thank you Shikha. Waiting for many more enlightening articles from you.

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| May 19, 2015

Spoke to my son but this time confidently. This article helped me a lot in dealing maturely. Thank you Shikha. Waiting for many more enlightening articles from you.

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| May 19, 2015

Very nice article. Really helpful. As u say children ask such questions repeatedly at different situations, but we should keep in mind not to confuse them with different answers at each time. Don't lie but tell them in a language they understand agewise. And do not loose patience as they will keep on questioning until they r satisfied with the answer.

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| May 20, 2015

Thanks ... Lovely Article

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| May 20, 2015

Ashwini agree with you- i have experienced similar situation

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| May 21, 2015

Thanks. How shld parents handle a situation when caught in a sexual act by thr children.

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| May 23, 2015

Hi Gaurav Vaidya! U could explain to children in age appropriate language without going into details.

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| Jun 09, 2015

Very helpful. Thanks

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| Jun 09, 2015

Very nice. Thank u

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| Jun 09, 2015

Thank for ur suggestions n explanation.

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| Jun 10, 2015

Excellent, i was really confused on how to teach my 11 year old son, now after reading this, am confident that i will be able to make him understand..

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| Jun 10, 2015

Very nice n helpful...

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| Jun 11, 2015

awsm..... thanx....

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| Jun 11, 2015

Very nice. Keep it up.

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| Jun 11, 2015

A very gd and help ful blog .

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| Jun 12, 2015

Thanks.... very well explained It was a much needed for me

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| Jul 03, 2015

Thank you dear proparents for such encouraging feedback!

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| Jul 10, 2015

Gr8 ! So somple ways to answer these difficult questions .

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| Jul 13, 2015

Thanks for sharing these simple ways for make kids understand about sex.. it would be of great help actually

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| Jul 14, 2015

Nice

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| Jul 15, 2015

A well structured dialogue article... Immense help to parents on guiding their kids on the dynamics of sex in every form

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| Jul 15, 2015

@Shikha This is really Great. Beautiful tips to handle those situations. With this I would like to ask you one more... see it helps when the kid probes about sex but what should we do for the kids who doesn't ask anything but feels something about sex.. Could you pls help me on this ???

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| Jul 15, 2015

@Shikha This is really Great. Beautiful tips to handle those situations. With this I would like to ask you one more... see it helps when the kid probes about sex but what should we do for the kids who doesn't ask anything but feels something about sex.. Could you pls help me on this ???

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| Jul 16, 2015

My girl is 10 yrs and i have answered her earlier questions properly. And now its the peak time to answer her next question. but ihave asked her to wait till hee puberty. Is it fine.

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| Jul 16, 2015

Really nice article Sikha!!

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| Jul 17, 2015

Thanks dear proparents for positive feedback!

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| Jul 31, 2015

Thanks. This is really very important for us to know

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| Aug 13, 2015

This is really great. It will really help us to answer our kids.

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| Aug 13, 2015

Thanks for the info

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| Aug 13, 2015

Thanks very important helpful blog

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| Aug 13, 2015

thanks , nice article

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| Aug 13, 2015

thanks , nice article

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| Aug 13, 2015

Hi. I wanted to know when and what age the child learns abt sex. Is there any age where we can talk to them abt love and sex. Now days they r really fast in hvg sex. As a. Mother I m really worried my daughter will come home and say mom I had sex today. So at what age they should hv the knowledge or to understand that sex is something really private.

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| Aug 13, 2015

Nice article

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