“Books are the easiest way to get the conversation rolling in a low-stress environment.” –Lindsey Hoskins, sex educator
I say this (or things like it) all the time, and I love to hear other people start saying it too. Sometimes I worry that the Children’s Book Person in me makes me see every problem as one that can be solved by books. That (probably) isn’t true, but I do think that books are really important for talking about the stuff that’s difficult to talk about. It’s a lot easier to bring up a behavior issue or other circumstance when you can frame the conversation around a character in a book rather than the child in question. Finger pointing and spotlight shining usually do more harm than good, and there is no conversation in which both parent and child want to avoid pointing and spotlights more than the Sex Talk, which arguably shouldn’t be just one talk anyway. And that’s where books come in.
All this stems from the new episode of Pratfalls of Parenting–a fantastic podcast I’ve recommended before–in which Lindsey Hoskins shares her expertise as a sex educator/parent. It is a great conversation for parents curious about how to approach sex stuff with kids. She recommended Robie Harris‘ books about sex ed for kids: It’s So Amazing and It’s Perfectly Normal. Both are frank but age-appropriate guides to where babies come from, etc. They have become classics, and must-haves for parents who want to open a healthy dialog with their kids about sex and puberty.
If you’re looking for a cute way to talk about where babies come from, try The Baby Tree by Sophie Blackall, in which several possibilities are explored as people try to answer the little boy’s question. The answers just end up confusing him though. Babies come from eggs? Babies come from seeds? He does get the whole answer eventually. It’s a book about where babies come from that might actually be described as charming. Who would have thought? Here’s a trailer to get an idea of the cuteness:
Another book I’d add to the list of titles to consider for families with young kids is not about sex ed at all. Miles is the Boss of his Body is about personal safety and empowerment. It is important for kids to know that they can and should set boundaries and speak up if they don’t want to be tickled, pinched, or hugged. There is even a discussion guide to go along with it for teachers or parents who want to bring this subject up but don’t really know what to say about it.
You can learn more from Ms. Hoskins or one of the other educators at her clinic in the Parents as Sexuality Educators class offered by Family Tree Clinic. I had the opportunity to attend one through my church last year, and I highly recommend it.
Note: This is not a sponsored post. It’s just my opinion! :)