Age-Appropriate Guidelines

Your child is young. It’s too early to start talking about sex, right? Wrong. It’s important to have these conversations early and often. Whether it’s about love and relationships or sex and preventing unplanned pregnancy, an open, honest dialogue will help develop a sense of trust between you and your child. Sure, it might seem like it goes in one ear and out the other. But trust us, your child really does want to hear from you about complicated issues.

Ages: 3-5 (Pre-school)

Your toddler needs to know:

  • Love should make people feel good, safe, and wanted
  • Bodies are different sizes, shapes, and colors — and that’s ok
  • Their bodies belong to them
  • There's a difference between a “right” touch and a “wrong” touch

Ages: 5-7 (Elementary)

Your child should be able to:

  • Develop, maintain, and—if necessary—end friendships
  • Know family members’ roles and duties
  • Be themselves without feeling the need to act a certain way within their gender
  • Know that people can come from different homes, and no single one is the “right” one

Ages: 8-12 (Pre-teens)

Your pre-teen needs to know:

  • How to make and maintain friends and relationships
  • What can happen if they have sex, including teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
  • About sexual abuse, abusive relationships, and ways to protect themselves
  • About family values, community, and peer norms regarding dating

What goes on in middle school halls?

Dr. Trish. Hutchison from Girlology shares what middle schoolers really need to know about sex education. 

Ages: 13-17 (Teens)

Your teen needs to know:

  • It’s okay to wait to have sex — not everyone is doing it and having sex doesn’t make them a man or woman
  • They are responsible for their choices, behaviors, and personal values
  • About different types of birth control and what is best for them
  • Details about STIs and HIV

What do teenagers need to know about sex?

They're growing up, but they still need your guidance. Dr. Melisa Holmes from Girlology talks about how to help your teen make healthy decisions about sex. 

 

Want more?

Print out our Tips for Parents brochure. Give it to a friend. Put it on the fridge. Get Tips for Parents.