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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/

How a Child Can be a Genius

August 26th, 2010

By: Dr. Dennis Garlick, PhD

Albert Einstein, Mozart, Frank Lloyd Wright, Steven Spielberg, Bill Gates…

You don’t have to be a genius to know what these famous names have in common. Many parents want their children to be geniuses. But what determines genius?

Social commentator Malcom Gladwell has described how circumstances can be important. In the case of scientific breakthroughs, technology might have progressed to the point that a breakthrough is inevitable. Scientists are then racing to apply the technology to achieve the breakthrough. This suggests that genius might sometimes be being in the right place at the right time. However, often many people are in the right place at the right time. Why do some still stand out? What separates these people from the crowd?

Practice makes Perfect?

Massive amounts of practice have been identified as another contributing factor.  While “practice makes perfect” seems like a no-brainer concept in parenting, the amount of practice that some high achievers undertake is quite staggering. For instance, it is estimated that professional violinists will have practiced up to 10,000 hours by the time they reach adulthood. This is a massive amount! Consider how many hours per week you would need to practice to rack up 10,000 hours by adulthood. If you practiced for 2 hours a week every week for 10 years, you would only have accrued 1,000 hours of practice. To accumulate 10,000 hours of practice, professional violinists can practice up to 30 hours per week over the course of several years. Think of this the next time you listen to a professional violinist!

But what about fields where “practice” isn’t like playing an instrument. What about people like Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft? Gladwell notes that Gates’ success was due to his exceptional programming ability. Gates was also special in that he had the opportunity to gain programming experience on a mainframe computer while still in high school. At the time, this was very rare. Gates literally spent hours programming every night and every weekend, such that he had racked up 10,000 hours of programming experience by the time he graduated from high school. According to Gladwell, this huge amount of practice is what made Gates such an exceptional programmer.

However, there is something missing from the “practice” argument. The reality is that 10,000 hours of practice is not that impressive for computer programming. Consider the amount of practice or experience that one would get in a typical job; 40 hours per week x 50 weeks per year x 5 years = 10,000 hours. This line of thinking would seem to be arguing that anyone who has been a full-time programmer for 5 years has the same programming ability as Bill Gates!  Gates goes on to attribute his own success to “… better exposure to software development at a young age than I think anyone did in that period of time…” So Gates was not just saying that 10,000 hours of experience was important. The age at which it occurred was also important!

The Sensitive Period

Indeed, all of the geniuses identified at the start of this article have in common that they were interested in their field when young. They were often even obsessed by it. Would they have been the same geniuses if they had only taken an interest in their relevant domain as an adult? There is now extensive evidence from both brain science and psychology that they would not have been.

Research has found that the child’s brain differs from the adult brain in its ability to learn. One obvious example of this is language, where it has been observed that children can learn language more easily than adults. However, recent evidence from brain science and psychology suggests that the “sensitive period” applies to much more than just language.

Childhood experience can be crucial for learning abstractions from many different domains. These abstractions enable knowledge to be transferred from one situation to another, enabling successful performance through understanding rather than relying on rote memory. A child who understands a domain knows what the best response is, rather than needing trial and error to try and discover the best response.

What Parents Can Do

What does this mean for parents? It means that you need to emphasize to your child just how important their childhood years are. If they want to succeed in a domain, then experience with the domain in childhood could give them an advantage relative to other children. Indeed, recent scientific evidence suggests that just a small amount of experience in childhood could make a domain easier than many years of experience in the same domain in adulthood. This is a crucial message that all parents should pass on to their children.

 

Dennis Garlick received his Ph.D. in psychology in 2003 and is currently a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California, Los Angeles. His new book, “Intelligence and the Brain: Solving the Mystery of Why People Differ in IQ and How a Child Can Be a Genius” has been lauded as a major scientific advance, finally providing a convincing explanation of how the brain works and why people differ in IQ. He is also available for speaking and consulting. More details about his book and his contact details are available at www.intelligenceandthebrain.com.

 

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