Your 5 3/4-year-old

Let’s talk about sex―already? Your child seems so young! But it’s much easier to talk about the basics of sex if you start when she's little.

Let’s talk about sex―already?
Your child seems so young! But it’s much easier to talk about the basics of sex―call it “body science”―if you start when she’s little. Five-year-olds are very interested in how all parts of their bodies work, so you can talk about the mechanics of reproduction without the embarrassment that may come into play later. Don’t feel you have to share every detail, but be sure she knows that you’re willing to tell her more if she thinks of other questions.

By starting when she’s young and the topic is less loaded, you’re setting the stage for later. You’ll have a vocabulary in place and you will have sent the clear message that this is a topic she can approach you with. Here’s an age-by-age guide to talking about sex with your child.

The art of the negotiation
Negotiate with your five-year-old?
Yes! When you encourage your child to offer her opinion on issues that affect her, and sometimes offer to meet her halfway when the two of you disagree, she’ll learn about compromising and working out problems together. She’ll also learn that you respect her opinions, and that if she brings you some new information, you can change your mind. (Be clear, of course, that some issues aren’t up for discussion!) If you help your child learn to listen to and respect other people’s opinions ― because you have listened to and respected hers ― you will have given her a great gift.

Bedwetting blues
Just like everything else about kids, little bladders mature at different rates, and staying dry through the night can take considerably longer than you expect. It’s quite common, and still normal, for five-year-olds to wet their beds occasionally or even regularly. You can reassure your child that many kids have the same problem, and that it will eventually go away. And while nobody likes dealing with soggy sheets in the middle of the night, it isn’t something your child can control, and your patience and support will ease her anxiety.

First novels
Are you getting tired of books about bunnies and bears? Just a little? Although your child will continue enjoy picture books for many years, she may be ready for you to read her a novel now. A real chapter book! You and your child will get a chance to know characters well. You’ll feel the excitement as a plot unfolds. And reading a novel together puts a positive spin on bedtime―you’ll both look forward to finding out what happens next as you travel the pages of a novel.

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