Sex ed: Selecting age-appropriate information for your child
Kids have lots of questions, and they need parents to provide accurate age-appropriate information about anatomy, sex, and pregnancy. These apps and books are resources that you can review to decide if they are appropriate for your child. If your child has had unhealthy sexual experiences, discuss these decisions with a mental health professional.
What Makes a Baby
What Makes a Baby by Cory Silverberg and Fiona Smyth teaches curious kids about conception, gestation, and birth in a way that makes sense of how any child came to be, regardless of their family. This inclusive approach can be especially helpful to children who are interested in how these concepts apply to themselves and other children they know (e.g., from school) who have a different family makeup.
Sex is a Funny Word
Sex is a Funny Word: A Book about Bodies, Feelings, and YOU by Cory Silverberg and Fiona Smyth is a comic book for kids that includes children and families of all makeups, orientations, and gender identities. Much more than the “facts of life” or “the birds and the bees,” this book aims to open up conversations in a way that allows adults to convey their values and beliefs while providing information about boundaries, safety, and joy.
Anatomy Apps for Kids
Tinybop’s The Human Body app provide parents with a way to introduce kids to puberty and the urogenital system in a matter-of-fact way, comparable to the way these apps provide information about the nervous system, respiration, the circulatory system, digestion, the skeletomuscular system, etc. Tinybop also offers many science-oriented apps for kids.
Note that as of the writing of this article, this app requires a one-time $1 in-app purchase to include the urogenital/reproductive system.
Classic Reference Book Series for Kids
Created in consultation with experts, the following three books by Robie Harris and Michael Emberley cover a wide variety of topics, making each of them great for reading over several sittings and keeping around as an encyclopedic reference. Using plenty of sketches and colorful drawings, the authors have created engaging books that are likely to hold your child’s attention.
It’s Perfectly Normal
Robie Harris and Michael Emberley recommend It’s Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health for children ages 10 and up to provide kids with comprehensive scientifically-accurate information about sexual health, including:
- birth control,
- the Internet,
- sexual abuse, and
- sexually-transmitted infections.
It’s So Amazing!
After publishing It’s Perfectly Normal, Robie Harris and Michael Emberley authored It’s So Amazing!: A Book about Eggs, Sperm, Birth, Babies, and Families for childen ages 7 and up to provide younger kids with age-appropriate information about the topics covered in It’s Perfectly Normal. In writing this book, Robie Harris visited schools to ask school age kids, ages 10 to 14 or so, what should be in a book on sexual health for younger children. Kids said that even though their parents and teachers might not think so, they do wonder and want to know about almost everything that’s in It’s Perfectly Normal, but not all the details, and less about puberty, and more about babies and how they are made. The authors cover how babies are made in a how-things-work manner, engaging the interest in science that kids’ this age typically have. Using a comic-strip format, making the text concise, and boxing text to make it seem less dense, they have created a book that’s appealing and accessible to beginning or emerging readers. This 84-page book is organized well so that kids, who don’t want to read throough the whole book, can look at only the parts of the book they are interested in.
It’s Not the Stork!
Robie Harris and Michael Emberley recommend It’s Not the Stork!: A Book About Girls, Boys, Babies, Bodies, Families and Friends for 4-6 year olds. Young children are curious about almost everything. This book answers those endless and perfectly normal questions that preschool, kindergarten, and early-elementary-school children ask about where they came from, how they were made, why their bodies are the same and different from other peoples’ bodies, what makes a girl a girl and a boy a boy, what the names are of all the different parts of their bodies, where babies come from, how babies are made, what a family is—and so many other questions about themselves and their bodies. Consulting with parents, teachers, librarians, nurses, doctors, social workers, psychologists, scientists and clergy, the authors worked to provide answers that are comfortable, reassuring, age-appropriate and scientifically accurate.
Reference Book for Teens and Young Adults
s.e.x.: the all-you-need-to-know sexuality guide to get you through your teens and twenties by Heather Corinna, Founder of Scarleteen.com, is an in-depth, progressive, and inclusive teen and young adult sexuality and relationships guide. This book covers topics you won’t find in books for kids.