Where they’re at
Children in this age group vary widely in their curiosity about the facts of life. Some may just be starting to ask, “Where do babies come from?” while others want to know, “What’s sex?” (Canadian sex educator Meg Hickling’s standard response is: “Sex is when a man puts his penis in the woman’s vagina. It’s only for adults.”) “This is the perfect window of opportunity to talk, since kids are better able to understand concepts, but they’re not old enough to be super embarrassed,” says Michelle Moreau, a child and family therapist in Saint John, who has three children under the age of seven. “Let your child’s natural curiosity guide you.”
What they need to know
Teach your children the basics of puberty and what to expect before they get there, Hickling advises. “Puberty is happening earlier these days and it’s a lot less scary when kids know the facts.” Try to take advantage of what the experts call “teachable moments.” When Carol Armadale’s daughter found a tampon in a washroom at an amusement park, Armadale used it as a jump-off point to talk to her seven-year-old about menstruation. “I think it was easier chatting about it in a crowd than it would have been one-on-one in her bedroom,” she says.