Talking to Children about their Bodies
It is important to talk with your child about her/his body. Open communication about regular day to day questions and problems will provide a good foundation for more difficult conversations later. A child’s body changes A LOT, from the time she or he is born until becoming an adult. We tend to focus on changes during puberty, but all along the way we are helping and teaching our children to care for their body. Reminders about brushing teeth to choosing what clothes to wear, dealing with teasing at school or feeling okay about their body from the beginning, we are helping our kids learn.
There are some great books that can help parents and children learn about their bodies, not just the changes during puberty, but the smaller changes all along the way. The list below is not all inclusive, but is a great start to helping your child learn about their body and hopefully provide you, as a parent, an avenue to begin talking with your child. Books we recommend:
The Care and Keeping of You Book 1–This is a body book for girls ages 8 and up! It features tips, how-tos, and facts from the experts. Girls will find age-appropriate answers to questions about their changing bodies, from hair care to healthy eating, bad breath to bras, periods to pimples, and everything in between.
The Care and Keeping of You Book 2–This thoughtful advice book will guide girls through the next steps of growing up. Written by Dr. Cara Natterson for girls 10 and up, The Care & Keeping of You 2 follows up the original bestseller with even more in-depth details about the physical and emotional changes girls are going through. With illustrations and expert contributors, this book covers new questions about periods, her growing body, peer pressure, personal care, and more.
The Body Book for Boys–There are answers to questions about everything from shaving, vocal changes, bad breath, smelly feet, braces, and acne, to school, sports, girls, friends, family, and more. The Body Book For Boys is complete with tips, quizzes, Q and As, and all of the essential info boys need to know.
Boy’s Body Book–Growing up isn’t as easy as it looks. With changing emotions, friends, expectations, and bodies, some days it can seem like life is one big roller coaster ride. The Boy’s Body Book is the #1 bestselling guide for boys, and it’s here to help with expert advice, common sense tips, fast facts, and answers to all questions a boy might have.
What to Expect from Your Child at Different Ages and Stages
Children grow and change really fast. Sometimes it’s easy to expect more from your child than he or she is able to do at any given time. Or, maybe you have worries because your child isn’t keeping up with other children his or her age. The American Academy of Pediatrics has a great website with answers to many of your questions related to raising your child. If you want to look at some general guidelines about where your child should be at any given time, Ages and Stages at healthychildren.org can help.