Teaching 5-Year-Olds About Sexuality




I think it is a great idea to start teaching preschool-aged children the foundations of sexuality. These are the topics I think children this age should learn:

(1) Accurate scientific terminology for body parts. This can be taught in a natural way. For instance, if a child sees their father or mother in a state of undress and ask “what is that?”, give a simple, appropriate response without showing uncomfortableness. Children should be taught that bodies are not shameful. Knowing proper terminology will help children accurately report any sexual abuse they are subjected to.

(2) Our bodies belong to ourselves and no one is allowed to touch them unless we want them to. I think this will go along way for children in (1) saying no to inappropriate touching and (2) delaying sexual debut (i.e., first time they have sexual encounters). If we empower young children with control over their bodies, they will feel empowered against sexual (abusive or not) advances as children and later in life.

(3) The beginnings of where children come from. Parents give some crazy explanations, like from the trash or from the anus. I’m completely serious. It is sad. Children should know that babies are created when a man inserts his cells, called sperm, into a woman’s vagina, and one of her cells, an egg, meets up with the sperm. Babies grow inside the uterus, a very special warm place inside a woman.

Children really do need to be taught about sexually far earlier than we’d hope. I have been a teaching assistant at a large university in California for the past five years. I have assisted taught a course of human sexuality. The prompt for the final paper asks students to talk about where and when they got their ideas and values about sexuality – a developmental paper. Children as young as five have accidentally stumbled upon pornography. It isn’t enough to shield your children only, as much of their information comes from their peers. Parents need to be ahead of the game.


it should be age appropriate. And it depends on maturity. When my brother’s oldest was 2 years old, my sister in law was pregnant with #2. She knew there was a baby ‘growing in mommy’s tummy’, because mommy and daddy told her that. She did not need to know the complete details because of her age. at the time She’s 12 now, the oldest of 4.


Of course! She simply didn’t have the cognitive ability to understand it. Always should be developmentally appropriate.


Parents should always be ahead of the game because children are going to learn from some source, somewhere, eventually, and you can’t control everything your child is exposed to. They will soon pick up ideas that are undesirable. Your home education should be doing everything possible to explain the world in the context of your faith and you should be ready not only to answer hard questions when they come, but anticipate them and elicit them when children are too reticent to bring up the subject with you.


We’re talking about young children here – being taught about sexuality. A 5-yr old can learn from mommy and daddy when a new brother / sister is being ‘expected’ by Mommy. Or a female cat or dog is having kittens / puppies. Parents using correct names for body parts. Someone commented about when a child sees Mommy / Daddy partially clothed. And Why should That be happening? Doors Should be closed by parents for modesty sake. And children should Not be allowed to watch anything other than ‘G’ rated programming or movies. Someone Also said that children are asking about sexuality at earlier and earlier ages – Why is that happening. Kids in Jr. high are concerned about whether another student is gay/ bi-sexual / why would That even be coming up?
As parents we need to be Guarding our kids hearts/ emotional health – Natural information in a Natural setting. Let them retain Some innocents for at least a Little while.


Accidents happen. I don’t think that parents should be walking around nude, but a kid walking in on mom/dad drying off isn’t an unheard thing. I had a little cousin walk in on me while I was using the potty. The door was closed, but children can and do open doors.
Heck, it doesn’t have to be walking in on adults to realize that boys and girls have different parts. A 3 year old little girl could be “helping” mommy bathe her new little brother.


The Church (the Holy See that is) has actually provided a document on the topic --it is very important to read.

The Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality (1995)

Scroll down to it: vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/family/index.htm


My wife and I have two daughters. When I gave them the “Dad Sex Talk” it was very brief and concise:

“As far as Dad is concerned, there are only four people that are allowed to see you with your clothes off,; your mother, your sister, your doctor, and your husband. If I find out somebody other than one of those four has seen you with your clothes off, there’s gonna be a problem.”

Simplistic I know, but so far (daughters are 19 and 12) it’s been effective.



Until recently my 2 year old was always with me when I got dressed/undressed, showered, or used the bathroom (unless my husband was home), simply because I wasn’t going to leave him unsupervised even for a few minutes - if you knew him…or many other toddlers…you’d understand why! :stuck_out_tongue: I’m trying to gently wean him now, so I try to have him play quietly in another room whenever I have to undress, because when he sees me undress he likes to ask to nurse. But I don’t freak out if he happens to wander in - I think that would send the wrong message.


Sure but this is not an occasion for an anatomy lesson but rather for a lesson on modesty. :rolleyes:


The Church (the Holy See that is) has actually provided a document on the topic --it is very important to read.

The Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality (1995)

Scroll down to it: vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/family/index.htm


Yes, but if your child sees something and asks an innocent question, you can give an answer - and then teach the lesson about respecting privacy, appropriate dress, etc.


I totally agree that small children Should be learning about ‘sexuality’ in a natural setting. And teaching ‘modesty’ is So important. And, yes, a child noticing that mommy uses her body to feed little sister / brother instead of using a bottle like her aunts do. And there comes a time when children need to know that a closed door to mommy / daddies bedroom is to Stay closed until They open it.
I raised 4 kids – so know all about stages where they follow mommy Everywhere. After a while, I discovered a playpen was Wonderful. They were safe for a few moments when I Could use the bathroom in Privacy.
One of my daughters would follow me in when I’d change my ‘pad’. She thought it was so Cool – could hardly wait until She had some. The same about me with my glasses. She really wanted to wear glasses like I did.
And, yes, giving baby sister / brother their bathes / changing diapers – Wonderful time to notice the difference between girls / boys.
A while back I was reading a story about a little boy who one day asked his parents where he came from – so – they looked at each other – okay – time for birds and bees. After That explanation, he looked puzzled and said – the boy next door said he came from California. I ‘cracked up’ – a simple question back such as ‘why do you ask’? would have worked better. Find out what ‘page’ your child is on. :slight_smile:


I totally disagree. While 5 year olds are curious, they do not have the interest, mental or emotional capacity to understand the concepts.


Thomas P. Dolan ewtn.com/library/HOMESCHL/SECATHSC.HTM



From the lifesitenews post:

Part of that agenda is the release on November 28 of a “sexuality” resource aimed at five- to eight-year-olds.

It’s says it’s a resource aimed at 5-8 year olds. It would be better if it were aimed at the parents of 5-8 year olds and maybe it is. I’m going to guess some people don’t think a resource like this is necessary but even though sex is everywhere and sexual exploitation is through the roof, many adults still don’t know how to talk about sexuality let alone how to teach their children in a developmentally appropriate way. There are already books on child rearing by Catholic authors that touch on the topic so expanding on the concept shouldn’t be that difficult.

If there is going to be a presentation for children then the parents’ materials should have everything that the children will get and have a training for parents prior to childrens’ presentation so the parents can pick up the conversation at home.


I heard that 40 years ago and sexually transmitted diseases are through the roof today. “Sex education” didn’t solve anything.



Heard what 40 years ago? I don’t think we are talking about the same thing. We usually aren’t. :rolleyes:


For a five year old, saying “that’s mommy’s private area” is enough with maybe a added comment about respecting each other’s bodies and privacy. Teaching clinical terms for body parts if not age appropriate at that age.


I guess we disagree on this. :shrug: I don’t think it’s a big deal for a five year old to know that men and women have different parts and what they’re called. I’d tell a five year old if he asked while I changed his baby sister’s diaper, or gave her a bath, too. :shrug:

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