tips can help you deal with sexuality issues with the children in your care.
These same tips may be helpful to parents who have questions about their
child’s sexuality. When a child asks you a question related to sexuality:
out what the child already knows.
• Talk with parents about their attitudes. Ask how they would like
you to discuss these issues with their child. Keep their
views in mind when issues arise with their child.
• Understand the child’s question before you answer.
• It is OK to admit that you don’t know everything.
• Watch for signs that the children are interested in sexuality.
• Answer questions about sexuality directly. Try not to go into
more detail than the child wants. Children will ask more
questions when they are ready for more information.
• Let the child know that it is okay for him to ask you questions.
• If the child asks you questions about sexuality at the wrong time,
tell her that you will answer her questions as soon as
possible. Then answer the questions as soon as you can. Talk with
the child about good places and times to discuss
• Let the child know that people have different beliefs about sexuality.
Tell him that the differences are OK.
• Relax. It is OK if you feel embarrassed talking with children
about sexuality. Tell the child that it is OK for him to feel a little
• It is OK if you make mistakes when answering a child’s question.
When you find out that you were wrong, go back and
• Use correct terms for sexual organs and functions (e.g. vagina,
penis, vulva, testicles, breasts, etc.).
• Parents should start talking about sexuality early. Providers
should talk to parents to see if it is appropriate to bring up sexuality
issues in childcare. Talk to parents about your sexuality
education policy statement.
• Consider using anatomically correct dolls and books to guide you
• If you see children masturbating or engaging in sex play, calmly
redirect them to another activity. Talk with children about
sexuality at an appropriate later time.
• Do not allow children to use the word “gay” as an
• Be patient with children and their families. Also be patient with
yourself. This is a difficult area.
Go to: • Red
flags – recognizing sexual abuse
Books for parents and children