When kids start asking those awkward questions (or when you overhear your preschooler explaining to his friends how babies get pooped out of butts), it’s time to arm yourself with some great picture books about sexual education.
A few things to consider when choosing early sexual education books includes the child’s age, whether the book is to be shared or read alone, and how inclusive the book is. I think the best books are the ones that also discuss alternate methods of having a baby, such as IVF, surrogacy and adoption, as well as vaginal and caesarean births. Some might also picture different family configurations, such as two dads or two mums, and parents of various cultural backgrounds. If you’re looking for one comprehensive picture book, my vote goes to The Amazing True Story of How Babies are Made by Fiona Katauskas. However, I’ve always found it useful to use an array of books, and to keep them lying about for the children to peruse at their own leisure.
Below, I have put together a list of books I have used with my own children, and have found useful. Some are about our bodies, and some deal directly with intercourse and reproduction. You might be able to find some of these at your local library, or at second-hand bookshops (I have also included an affiliate link to each picture for convenient purchasing of the books).
Picture Books for kids aged 3 to 7
The Bare Naked Book by Kathy Stinson with art by Heather Collins
Mummy Laid an Egg! by Babette Cole
Amazing You! by Dr. Gail Saltz and illustrated by Lynne Avril Cravath
What Makes a Baby by Cory Silverberg and illustrated by Fiona Smyth
The Amazing True Story of How Babies are Made by Fiona Katauskas
Where Did I Come From? by Peter Mayle
Overall, I personally prefer to get the kids reading sexual education books early (sharing picture books) before they realise there is any potential for embarrassment, and then provide a range of age appropriate sexual education literature for them to peruse as they get older. By the time they are adolescents, I think it’s important to have books available covering the changes occurring to both girls and boys, sexual health, pregnancy, sexuality, and how to be sexually safe and responsible. I try to be open to questions, and answer them as honestly as I can. If you appear embarrassed and reluctant to discuss sexual education, this conveys to the child that there is something “wrong” or “taboo” about our bodies and reproductive abilities. I also try to keep things light.
And I have never managed not to laugh when one of my kids has mispronounced the word vagina as ‘bagina’ or told a helpless (and increasingly embarrassed) adult that the penis fits inside said ‘bagina’! I try to stop them, I do, but often the words are out before I can intervene, and then what is there to do, but apologise and laugh? I have talked to my children about not sharing their knowledge at school, but they all seem to find this very difficult too.
Do you have or know of any sexual education books for younger children that you recommend? Let us know in the comments!
*Please remember that I am not an expert, just a parent speaking from experience with my own children (two girls and two boys).