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Age-appropriate Topics for Discussion with Your Child

The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that as a parent you should:

  • Teach your child about the privacy of body parts. Some parents describe these as areas covered by a bathing suit.
  • Listen when your child tries to tell you something, especially when it seems hard for them to talk about it.
  • Know who your child is spending time with. Be careful about allowing your child to spend time in out-of-the-way places with other adults or older children. Make visits to your child's caregiver without notice. Ask about the time your child spends with sitters.
  • Give your child enough of your time so the child will not seek attention from other adults.

Discussion Topic by Age

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18 months

Teach your child the proper names for body parts.

3-5 years

Teach your child about private parts of the body and how to say no to sexual advances. Give straightforward answers about sex.

5-8 years

Discuss safety away from home and the difference between good touch and bad touch. Encourage your child to talk about scary experiences.

8-12 years

Stress personal safety. Start to discuss rules of sexual conduct that are accepted by the family.

13-18 years

Continue to stress personal safety. Discuss rape, date rape, sexually transmitted diseases, and unintended pregnancy.