Talking to children about the birds and the bees is not an intuitively easy job. It requires training and practice. Fortunately, today many countries offer various programs that educate children on sexuality-related subjects from a very young age.
Additionally, useful resources are more accessible than ever to parents who want to learn how to approach the subject. Information is everywhere and awareness is constantly being raised about important matters.
One of the tools that will help parents have the talk with their children is sexual education books. There are a ton of children’s books on the market that provide sexual education. In this article, we try to help you choose by recommending the five best sexual education books you can read with your child.
Is Sexual Education Really Necessary for Children?
There has been an ongoing debate around sexual education. More traditional people believe that sexual education causes precocious puberty in children and shares matters with them that aren’t appropriate for their age. Studies, however, say otherwise.
According to an article published in Elsevier, Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) lowers unwanted pregnancy rates and the transmission of sexually transmitted infections. It acts as an effective means of empowering girls and other marginalized groups and also helps young people to have healthier relationships.
For more information regarding sexual education, check out UNESCO’s International technical guidance on sexuality education.
What Makes a Sexual Education Book a Good Book?
Sex is a delicate topic. One wrong move can leave long-lasting effects on kids. That’s why we encourage you to be picky about the book you choose to read to your child. Here are some of the characteristics that you should look for:
It Uses Inclusive Language
Inclusive language is a way of talking that avoids using any expressions that are sexist or racist or ones that offend and discriminate against any groups.
A good sexual education book is written with inclusive language because it shouldn’t induce any prejudice in children’s minds.
It Doesn’t Shame People
Sex ed is supposed to be a safe space for children where they feel comfortable expressing themselves. While it should tell children about things that are wrong, it should never shame them for anything. A good sexual education book gives children a positive self-image and teaches them about diversity.
Children get distracted easily. If something doesn’t catch their attention, they put it away easily. A good sexual education book doesn’t have a pedagogical structure. Rather, it contains graphical illustrations, jokes, poems, or an engaging story to make the reading more enjoyable for children.
According to NHS, “It’s never too early to start the conversation about sex and relationships.” However, there is a difference between the message that’s conveyed to a child, a teenager, or an adult. Now, it doesn’t mean that you have to lie to your child or censor facts. But the way that you formulate your sentences should be according to their age.
When having the talk with your child, see whether they can take certain information. If you feel like it’s too soon for them to comprehend something, wait a couple of years to talk to them about it later.
It Educates, Doesn’t Dictate
A good sexual education book educates children on sex-related subjects. It’s not a way to pass personal or specific cultural values to children and neither does it impose a certain way of living.
Five Best Sex Education Books
Here are five sex education books for youth that we recommend you read with your kid:
Sex is a Funny Word by Cory Silverberg and Fiona Smyth
This award-winning1 book talks about subjects such as sexuality, gender diversity, and boundaries. It adopts a funny tone that makes reading it interesting for tweens.
Amazing You by Gail Saltz
This book teaches children about genitals and how babies are made. However, it gives a general explanation of conception and doesn’t mention sexual intercourse. What’s interesting about this book is that it also talks about masturbation in a riveting way.
Puberty Is Gross but Also Really Awesome by Gina Loveless
This book has two general parts. First, it talks about different body parts. Then, it covers concepts that a preteen should know, such as gender, nutrition, mental health, etc.
Additionally, bodily changes that a person experiences — which are commonly judged as gross — are talked about in this book, such as pubic hair and sweating.
Wait, What?: A Comic Book Guide to Relationships, Bodies, and Growing Up by Heather Corinna and Isabella Rotman
Written by the founder of scarleteen.com, this graphic novel is the story of a diverse group of five teenagers. It guides the reader through stories about gender, sexuality, relationships, etc. This book can be read by both tweens and teens.
What Makes a Baby by Cory Silverberg
The outstanding point about this book is that it has a perfect inclusive language use. For instance, it doesn’t characterize people as men or women, but as people with or without a uterus. Diversity is a core topic in this book, teaching kids that families are not all the same. However, intercourse is not mentioned in this book.
Wait, There’s More!
These books are, in our opinion, the best sexual education books that will help your child make healthy decisions in their sexual life. But there’s more to sex ed than just books.
The great thing about having the talk with your child is that it’s not a one-off conversation. So, you’ll get many chances to properly educate them. But it also means that you’ll have to be patient. They can make mistakes, or look for information in the wrong places.
With a myriad of data just out there on the internet, it’s no wonder that children might stumble upon inappropriate content such as porn websites online. To ensure a healthy and appropriate sex education for your kid, you can use parental control apps. Safes is a parental control app that will let you track what content your kid has been looking at on the internet. It also gives you options to limit or block their access to certain apps and websites. With a small subscription fee, you can make sure your child’s sexual education isn’t interrupted by false information.