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Teaching Sexual Health - Birth to 6 year olds

As a parent, you know that understanding your child and their development is one of the most important things you can learn. Follow the links provided to find information about all the developmental milestones- physical, sexual, emotional, cognitive and social- from birth up to 18 years of age. This includes the key topics or ideas your child should know at different ages, and how you can help them with that learning, at every age.

Birth to 2 Years

Understanding Your Child’s Development

Welcome to the world of parenting! Your child will go through many changes in just a couple of years. Your child’s development will follow a pattern. As babies grows, they’re able to do more—recognize people, hold things, sit up, crawl, stand and eventually walk. As they become a toddler, they will have constant energy and  strong feelings. They will also start to question everything around them. Learning about your child at this age will help you to understand their development. Read more about what your child’s going through in this stage of development.

What Your Child Needs Your Help to Learn

In these early years, your child will need your help to understand their emotions and their bodies. Here are a few ways to do this:

  • Teach your child that their body is private.
  • Use the correct names for body parts including genitals and reproductive organs: penis, testicles, scrotum, anus, vulva, labia, vagina, clitoris, uterus and ovaries (Knowing the correct names for body parts promotes positive body image, self-confidence, and parent-child communication. It also gives children the language they need to tell a trusted adult if sexual abuse has happened).
  • Make sure your child is able to play with other children their own age often. Your child might not get along with others right away—they’ll learn this with time, practice and the help of you and others. Being able to play with other children will help them to form healthy relationships as they grow older.
  • Help your child understand how gender can be expressed differently. A person’s gender identity may be the same as or different as their biological sex.

For more information about teaching sexual health to your children up to two years, visit:https://teachingsexualhealth.ca/parents/information-by-age/birth-to-2-years/

 

3 and 4 Year Olds

Understanding Your Child’s Development

This is the thinking stage. As children enter their preschool years, they know what they like and don’t like. Their emotions tend to be more stable and predictable. Your child’s picking up on what you say and do. Read more about what your child is going through in this stage.

 

What Your Child Needs Your Help to Learn

Children at this age are the easiest to teach, as they are very curious and take in everything they see and hear. Your child will use their imagination to make up their own story if they ’don’t understand the explanation they may have been given. Be ready to answer to their questions again and again, as preschoolers don’t always understand the first time.

If you don’t talk about sexuality, it teaches your child that sexuality is something they shouldn’t talk to you about. To give them the facts about their body parts, what they’re used for and how babies are made, see Reproduction and Pregnancy. 

 

There are some great ways to support healthy sexuality and development. At this stage, children should know:

  • That their body is their own and no one can touch it without their permission—the difference between “good touch” and “bad touch”. This may help children to be more likely to tell a trusted adult if someone is touching them in a way they shouldn’t.
  • The correct names for body parts including genitals and reproductive organs: penis, testicles, scrotum, anus, vulva, labia, vagina, clitoris, uterus and ovaries (Knowing the correct names for body parts promotes positive body image, self-confidence, and parent-child communication. It also gives children the language they need to tell a trusted adult if sexual abuse has happened).
  • How reproduction happens. For example, you could say, “When a sperm joins an egg, a baby grows in the uterus, and is born through the vagina.”
  • Not to pick up things such as used condoms or syringes. Now is a good time to teach them not to pick up anything if they don’t know what it is or if they think it’s dangerous.

For more information about teaching your 3-4 year old about sexual health, visit: https://teachingsexualhealth.ca/parents/information-by-age/3-and-4-year-olds/

 

5 and 6 Year Olds

Understanding Your Child’s Development

Your child is starting to form their own identity and their understanding of how they fit into the world. Talking about sexual health and sexuality together now will help to start the conversation and keep it going as your child gets older. Read more about what your child is going through in this stage.

What Your Child Needs Your Help to Learn

Your child will likely understand more about body parts and what they do, but still may not know all the facts. For example, at this age children often think that girls have one opening for urine and feces, and that what girls eat goes into the same place as the baby grows. It helps to use simple and clear explanations for your child—make sure to give the facts and use the correct terms.

If you don’t talk about sexuality, it teaches your child that sexuality is something they shouldn’t talk about with you. They’re more likely to talk to and believe any story they hear from others. Give them the facts about their body parts, what they’re used for and how babies are made.

There are some great ways to encourage healthy sexuality and development. At this stage, children should know:

  • That their body is their own and no one can touch it without their permission—the difference between “good touch” and “bad touch”. This may help children to be more likely to tell a trusted adult if someone is touching them in a way they shouldn’t.
  • The correct names for body parts including genitals and reproductive organs: penis, testicles, scrotum, anus, vulva, labia, vagina, clitoris, uterus and ovaries (Knowing the correct names for body parts promotes positive body image, self-confidence, and parent-child communication. It also gives children the language they need to tell a trusted adult if sexual abuse has happened).
  • Other body parts and body functions: urine, stool, bladder and urethra.
  • How reproduction happens. For example, you could say, “When a sperm joins an egg, a baby grows in the uterus, and is born through the vagina.”
  • Basic information about body changes during puberty.
  • Not to pick up things such as used condoms or syringes. Now is a good time to teach them not to pick up anything if they don’t know what it is or if they think it’s dangerous.

For more information about teaching your 5-6 year old about sexual health, visit: https://teachingsexualhealth.ca/parents/information-by-age/5-and-6-year-olds/

 

 

Top 5 Ways to Cheer Up the Lonely Days - Edmonton Public Library

Written by Hilary Kirkpatrick, EPL Outreach Worker

As a social worker for the Edmonton Public Library, I know the importance of community building and making connections for those who are feeling lonely. Having a supportive network of people and meaningful connections can give us the boost we need to feel better about ourselves and have a positive outlook on life. At EPL, there are programs specifically designed to meet the needs and interests of all EPL customers, which help bring people in the community together.

Here are the top 5 ways to utilize your local library to help alleviate loneliness:

1.     EPL Book Clubs – Book clubs offer a space where you can meet new people with similar interests (hello, fellow avid readers!) and discuss the means and motives of your favourite literary characters. Friendships are sure to blossom over a cup of tea and a wonderful book! 

2.       Baby Lap Time and Sing, Sign, Laugh and Learn Programs – New parents are at times isolated by the needs of their new little family member, and early literacy programs can provide the opportunity to make a connection for parents while babies learn through play, song and story. These interactive, free, drop-in programs are a great opportunity to connect with other new parents and give your little one a head-start.

3.       Makerspace Programs – Did you know that expressing yourself creatively in a way that is meaningful to you can help you combat loneliness? EPL Makerspace programs offers sound-booths to record a song, binding and printing services for your writing, or the opportunity to create a mini-movie with the green screen! Make friends and enjoy a fun project all at the same time!

4.       Adult Programs – Find ways to socialize based on what interest you such as learning a new hobby at the library: sewing class, adult colouring, film series, traditional arts and crafts, and more! Hobbies are a great way to meet new people, and to help yourself get out of the house. If you are feeling left out of the community because of a language barrier, EPL can help you improve your English conversations skills. We host conversation circles for English language learners that are set at your pace.

5.       Assistive Services - If you are experiencing a significant barrier or are physically unable to leave your home or a have disability, EPL provides home service where you live, whether that's an extended care facility, a seniors' lodge or your own home. We also offer specialized computers and assistive technology. If you are far away from family across the world, EPL staff can show you how to use email and Skype with your far away family members!

With EPL, connection is always possible. Let’s work together to combat loneliness and connect with our community and loved ones. A step towards visiting your local public library is a step towards ending loneliness! https://www.epl.ca/

What Teens Can Do To Keep Busy This Summer

by Bronwyn Hartman - Edmonton Public Library

 

1. Make something great: Our Makerspace has everything teens need for their next creation, including 3D printers, sound booths, a vinyl cutter and more. Encourage teens to drop by the library and get creative!

2. Find the next great read: Teens can check out our Staff Picks, talk to staff for recommendations, access eBooks and magazines through our digital collection, or just come and browse our teen section. They can also participate in one of our Summer Starts Here events happening at branches throughout the city.

3. Get in the game: Teens have a love for gaming and can join us for our many gaming programs: Minecraft, retro gaming and even old-school board games!

4. Learn something new: Our non-fiction collection and online resources have everything teens need to learn something new - from a new language, to photo editing, to digital design and more.

5. Come and hang out: On hot summer days the library is an even a cooler place to hang out! With study spaces, meeting rooms, computers and more, teens can come and lounge in an air conditioned space with us at any of our branches.

Be in the know with EPL! Sign up for EPL eNewsletter to learn more about programs and events for teens and the whole family!

 

For more information about Edmonton Public Library and their awesome programs, visit: https://www.epl.ca/blogs/post/what-teens-can-do-to-keep-busy-this-summer/

10 Tips for Keeping Your Child’s Brain Active This Summer

June 10th, 2014

By Heather Kitz

Just because school will be out, doesn’t mean that your child needn’t engage in further learning and practice during the fun and carefree days of summer. Here are 10 projects that you can do with your children that combine learning, fun and family time all in one.

1. Cook With Your Children

Cooking is a great way to spend time with your children while practicing useful life skills – and you get to enjoy your delicious creations afterwards!  Choose a recipe as a whole family, and let your kids read the recipe to you to work on literacy skills. Following the recipe directions is a good way to practice sequencing and prioritizing information. Math skills will also come in handy when your children measure amounts of ingredients.  Take your cooking to an even more adventurous level by going online and finding recipes from different cultures around the world or from your family’s own heritage.

2. Plan a Family Field Trip

Have your children take responsibility for planning a fun outing for the whole family. Encourage your kids to research where they want to go, and create a budget to decide how much money they can spend. Ask them to decide if they think you’ll need to pack a lunch, and if so, give them the task of planning a healthy and portable meal.  Bring a camera and let your children take lots of pictures. They can use these pictures when you get back home to create a Family Field Trip Book, complete with child-written descriptions of what you did and saw.

3. Visit Your Local Library

Encourage your children to read for pleasure – this is a great way to continue to build those literacy skills they learned in school this year!  Make a trip to the library all together and allow your kids to take their time choosing their own books to take home. Many libraries throughout the city have summer reading programs specifically designed for children. Sign up for one of these programs which will let your children participate in literacy-based activities and games. If you want to take your trip to the library one step further, have your children pick their favourite book of the week to write a sequel to. This will let their imaginations run wild while practicing essential writing skills.

4. Create a Backyard Obstacle Course

Get your children outside this summer to create a fun and challenging backyard obstacle course. Encourage them to be creative in arranging everyday objects in ways that you have to jump over, crawl under, run around, etc. A garden hose could be used as a starting line, a lawn chair as something to crawl through, and a series of sand pails as pylons to hop around – anything goes! Give your children a timer and have them challenge their friends and family members to beat their time through the course; this will allow them to practice some simple math skills as they are having fun.

5. Go Hiking

Have your children get in touch with nature as you take a family hike.  Before you head out, encourage your kids to plan your route by using hiking guides or the internet, and let them plan what you will need to pack. Learn how to read a compass together. Children are naturally curious about the world around them, so foster this curiosity by taking time to observe all the plants, animals, and insects that you see. If the area you are hiking in allows it, take some samples of leaves or flowers home with you. Research the names of these samples on the internet or in a book when you get home, and create art with pressings and rubbings of the items you found.

6. Create Your Own Movie

Children today learn a wide range of computer and multimedia skills in school. Continue to develop technologically savvy kids by encouraging them to film and edit their own movie! Assist your children in using a tablet or video camera to capture some fun family moments. They can even make their own storyboard and have family members and friends act out a story. Download an editing program such as MovieMaker or iMovie, and learn to use it as a family. When the masterpiece is complete, invite family friends over for a movie premiere night.

7. Learn to Play a New Board Game

A board game is a great family activity that reinforces teamwork, turn-taking, and fair play skills. Choose your new board game as a family, and have your children read instructions and directions when you get home. Encourage your children to set up the game themselves so they develop a sense of responsibility and respect towards the game. If the game uses tokens, resources, or money, have your kids keep track of these things themselves, and let them keep score to practice basic math skills. 

8. Set Up a Lemonade Stand

This one is a classic. By setting up a front yard lemonade stand, your children will learn teamwork, social skills, budgeting, basic supply and demand principals, and will have fun while doing it. Encourage your kids to get together with other children in the neighbourhood to decide on a common goal (ex: use proceeds from lemonade stand to purchase new hockey sticks for neighbourhood street hockey games).  Check in with your kids to see how they are keeping track of their earnings. Your children will learn that lots of hard work and planning go into a business, but in the end, the work is worth it!

9. See a Play

Go to a local theatre or attend festivals such the Street Performers Festival or the Kids Fringe, and see a play that interests your children.  Have your children read the play’s synopsis and make predictions about what they think will happen. When the play is over, discuss the characters, setting and storyline. Encourage your kids to dramatize their own favourite story. They can practice writing skills by creating a script and get creative with making their own props and scenery.

10. Build a Birdhouse

Learning a practical skill like simple carpentry is a good way to engage your children’s minds while allowing them to feel a sense of accomplishment and responsibility. Look online to research what types of birds are in your area and what type of house best suits their needs. Have your children design what their birdhouse will look like (there are many helpful websites out there that have basic blueprints). Encourage your children to write down a list of woodworking safety guidelines and to follow these as they are working. As a family, experiment with different carpentry techniques and learn the names of the tools you are using.  Let your kids choose a spot to mount their birdhouse, get the binoculars out, and start bird watching!

Have a happy and safe summer! 

Heather Kitz is the Out of School Care Director at Progressive Academy.

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