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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/

Back to School: What Your Kids Really Worry About

September 22nd, 2011

By: Natacha V. Beim

Most  parents are aware going back to school can be a stressful time for a child. What parents often fail to consider is that the obvious causes of stress such as new teachers, friends and homework, may not be what is actually weighting on their children. Parents get caught up in their own worries of organizing back to school routines, often making assumptions that what they worry about for their child is the root of their child’s concerns. Taking the time to have an earnest chat with your child about their back to school fears might greatly surprise you, and be of great benefit to them. 

Every child is different. The best way to find out what’s on your child’s mind is to ask them gentle, non-judgmental, questions about how they feel about returning to school.

Here are a few conversation starters to open up dialogue:

How do you feel about entering a new class?

Most children attach great importance to their social life. The child who has many friends finds it incredibly important to return to the same circle of friends once school begins, or to at least know that some of them will be there. The child who has fewer friends or has difficulty making new friends also finds it very important to be in the same class as her friends. For her, the thought of having no one to relate to can be quite anxiety provoking. By asking your child openly how they feel about entering a new class, you can gauge if this is a concern and talk through possible solutions.

How are you feeling about starting at a new school?

Changing schools or entering into secondary school can be an emotionally tolling transition. Your child will need someone to talk to and reassure her that she will soon get to know new people and begin making new friendships. Avoid dismissing your child’s worries by saying things like “of course you’ll make new friends.” This undermines not only her feelings, but also the value of her friendships.

Instead, listen to your child as you would a friend, and tell her why you believe she will meet new people. Once school starts, be the first to ask how her day was and what her new peers were like. If she has not moved schools, ask her which friends she ended up with this year, and how she feels about it.

What are you going to miss most about summertime?

Having had the entire summer to frolic in the sun, some children stress about having no time to play once school starts. For many, this is the biggest source of stress, and can bring anxiety attacks, loss of appetite, loss of sleep, stomachaches and other symptoms. To help your child cope, sit down together and plan his days in a large calendar, scheduling enough time for play after school. It will be very helpful for your child to be able to have a visual picture, and to work on those issues with you.

Are you worried about fitting in at school?

Children want to feel accepted for who they are. They also want to bring a unique sense of contribution to their group, which gives them a sense of belonging. Ask your child what it means to belong and feel a part of the group. This will allow you to help where you see him struggling. Children often will insist on wearing special clothes to school, getting a new hairstyle, or bringing a special toy or game. These tactics help them associate with their peers and fit in. You can help your child by asking him how he envisions himself on his first day of school. Help him prepare all the things he needs for that special day. For some, shopping for special clothes with you is an excellent mental preparation. For others, simply talking about it is enough. This is also the perfect time to show your child that no matter what he wears or brings to school, he will be appreciated for who he is and for how he treats others.

Are you worried about feeling rushed in the mornings?

This is a common stressor for children. Just as adults do, children stress at the thought of missing the school bus, or being late for class. Think back to the previous year and try to remember whether or not you allotted sufficient time in the mornings to get ready, have breakfast and leave for school without feeling extremely rushed. If you remember being constantly in a hurry, set your alarm 10 minutes earlier and ensure you take the time to wake up, have a good breakfast and leave on time. A few organization tips that can help are:

-      Teach your child to prepare everything in his backpack the day before. If dressing takes a long time, have him prepare his clothes for the following day as well.

-      Wake your child up five minutes before it is time to get up, and give her five more minutes to get out of bed. We all like to sleep in a little, and demanding that a child jump out of bed in the morning is not always the best approach.

-      Start going to bed earlier the week before school starts, to get accustomed to the school bedtime hours.

For every child, starting school is both exciting and stressful. Your enthusiasm about the start of the school year will make all the difference to them. Aside from talking to them about their worries, tell them how excited you feel about meeting their new teacher, and getting to know their new friends.

In the first few weeks of school, make sure your child has plenty of time to play, rest and adjust. Help your child organize play dates, so he feels less the change of pace and more the excitement of being reunited with friends.

 Natacha V. Beim is a writer, speaker, teacher, and the founder or Core Education & Fine Arts Junior Kindergarten schools (www.cefa.ca). You can reach her at www.natachabeim.com.

 

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