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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/

Maximizing Your Child’s Potential This School Year

September 23rd, 2011

By Dr. Anne Grall Reichel

There is no shortage of advice for parents as the school year begins. We have all heard about the importance of working with our children to establish patterns of behavior to ensure success. These typically include establishing a place and a plan for completing homework and routines that involve adequate sleep and proper nutrition. My hope in writing this article is to move beyond the typical and challenge you to consider adding a few of the following strategies. My caution is this, it might require a shift in your priorities, but I guarantee that any adult who embraces the challenge has nothing to lose and a great deal to gain.

Model! Model! Model!

Children desperately need to see adults model their own passion for learning new things. When our children see us pick up a book, a nook or go to the Web to research something we are uncertain about, we model the importance of learning for a lifetime. It is as simple as modeling our own curiosity about any major event going on in the world. For example you might say, “I just heard that Hurricane Irene is a Category 3 Hurricane, I wonder how the meteorologists figure that out?” Simply asking the question and modeling your own curiosity initiates the inquiry. Immerse yourself in learning about the subject along with your child. Think out loud as you look at websites. For example you might say, “I chose the NOAA site because I know it is a reliable source.” This models the importance of helping our children understand that not all information on the World Wide Web is created equally and that it is important to be a critical consumer of information.

Stop Enabling and Start Challenging Your Child.

I am concerned that we’ve gradually stopped challenging children and started enabling them instead. Perhaps this is through no fault of our own. As parents we genuinely care about our children. We feel for them when they are sick, when they are bullied or when they are struggling. With the best of intentions we try to eliminate the struggle, but it is the struggle that is essential to growth and a personal sense of accomplishment. As children work their way through challenges they build the confidence needed to embrace the next challenge that comes along. We have to stop doing the work for them. For example, if your child asks you to proofread something they have written don’t circle the misspelled words. Simply state, “You have three spelling errors in the first paragraph, can you find them?” If you circle the words for them they will never know how to find them on their own. Of course you could argue that all they need to do is use spell check. That is true, but that is a strategy. The point here is that it is not your homework. It is their homework. The only person who gets better at spelling if you circle and correct the words is you!

Insist On Evidence

When your child makes a “claim” about a phenomenon insist upon “evidence” to support the claim. For example, your child might make the claim that it is getting dark earlier. Simply ask, “What is your evidence? How could you be certain?” Challenge your child to think of a way to provide evidence. It might require comparing sunrise/sunset data or observing the sky at a certain time once a week over the course of a month. The point here is that children living in a complex, globally interconnected world need a new skill set. Data is readily accessible. The skill they need is to be able to make claims based upon their own critical consumption and analysis of information. If they gather information at Wikipedia insist that they verify it with another source.

Bring Back Dinner Conversation

Resist the temptation to eat dinner with your cell phone at the table and the television blaring in the background. Take time to talk about the things your child is learning in school. Raise the bar on their critical thinking and problem solving. If they tell you they are learning about a butterfly life cycle don’t just ask them to spew back facts. Challenge them by asking questions like, “Do all insects have the same life cycle?” This type of question invites further research and discussion.

Really?

By now I am certain that you are wondering how you can possibly fit this into your day. My advice is to take the time. The most important thing we can do as parents is to raise intellectually curious children, but they can’t get there if we’re not their models. Children are in dire need of role models who still find wonder in their midst. I guarantee that you will be amazed at all you will learn if you try the approach. Have a good year!

For more ideas like these please visit www.childrencandoremarkablethings.com and learn more about my book, Expect More: Children Can Do Remarkable Things.

About Dr. Anne Grall Reichel

A passionate educator who has taught at both elementary and middle school levels, Dr. Anne Grall Reichel is an independent educational consultant specializing in curriculum and professional development of teachers. Currently consulting with school districts throughout northern Illinois, she also serves as an adjunct faculty member in the education department at Lake Forest College.

Grall Reichel is most interested in the meaningful integration of science and social studies concepts, and focuses on suggestions for teachers and parents to help improve the overall expectations of students.

 

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