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children who are the right age to talk about birds and bees

Parent Quiz: Is your child the right age to talk about birds and bees?

Have you ever wondered if your child is the right age to talk about birds and bees?

You're not alone if you have wondered! I know that I have! And I'm supposed to be the expert! And many parents have asked me if I think their child is the right age to talk about birds and bees.

You can complete the quiz below, and find out now!

You’ll find more information about sex education in my Sex Education 101 page.

right age to talk about birds and bees

Maybe you've even asked yourself these questions...

Is my child old enough to hear about sex?

Yes and no. There is a lot more to sex education than just sex. We also talk about many other things, like bodies, relationships, feelings, diversity, consent, attitudes & values, keeping safe and looking after yourself. So even if your child is too young to hear about sex, they aren't too young for you to start talking about other things.

Will my child understand what they are hearing?

They might understand, and then again they may not. If they don't understand, they'll just forget what you've said, as it won't make sense to them.  Or they might ask for more information. Try giving your child a really complicated answer to one of their questions (an answer that you know they won't understand). Then check to see what they recall the next day. I can guarantee that they won't remember much (if anything) at all. 

Will it be too much information for them?

Possibly but remember, kids will forget the things that they don't understand. And research tells us that talking to kids about sex does NOT make them go out and do it. You can read more about the positive impact of sex education here

Maybe I should wait until they are a bit older?

You could, but you might find that you never find the right age to talk about birds and bees. And remember, sex education isn't just about sex. It is about talking with your child about all the things that will help them to make the right decisions about love, sex and relationships. 

A story

Let me share a story with you that provides a perfect example of why we shouldn't get too worried about whether our kids are the right age to talk about birds and bees.

My 8 year old son and I recently found a condom just outside our back shed. We live in the inner city, with a sex shop near the corner, and a brothel a few streets away. So it isn't uncommon for prostitution to happen in the back laneway, that our shed opens onto.  So because it was sitting right there in front of the garage door, my son spotted it.

'What's that, mom?' he asks. Thankfully he didn't pick it up, as it was used and tied off with a knot.

I stooped down and had a look at it. 'It's a condom, mate. Let's go find a dog poo bag and pick it up and throw it away.'

'What's a condom?' he asks.

'A condom? It's like a special balloon that men put on the end of their penis to cover it up', I said.

He, of course, giggles loudly.

'Pretty weird huh? The things that grown ups can do!' I replied. And he nods in agreement.

'Why do they put it on their penis?' he then asks.

'They put it on their penis when they're having sex.' I replied

'Why?' he asks.

'To stop there penis from catching germs that might make them sick. Or it was a female that they had sex with, then to make sure that they didn't make a baby.' I replied.

'Why? he asks (again).

'Because sometimes you can catch germs that can make you sick when you have sex. And people don't always have sex to just make babies. They have sex for fun too.' I explained.

'Can we get something from the bakery? he asks.

Anyway, a few weeks later, we were driving home from swimming lessons. We had stopped at the traffic lights and my son, who likes to spell out new words from the signs that he sees, spells out a word to me.

'C...O...N...D...O...M. What word is that mum?' he asks.

I turn around to look at him and see the sex toy shop just outside his car window.  'What d you think it spells, mate?' I replied.

'Condom? What's a condom?' he asks.

I turn around again and look at him in surprise? 'A condom? Don't you remember that weird balloon thing we found outside the shed door, a few weeks ago? We chatted about it then.'

He looks at me blankly and says 'No'.

So, do you see? Kids will often forget the many things that we chat with them about. So even though my son and I had a quite detailed conversation, and he appeared to have understood everything, he forgot all about it. I guess he had other things to remember, or maybe it wasn't interesting enough to remember.

Find out if your child is the right age to talk about birds and bees?

About the Author Cath Hakanson

I'm Cath, a sex educator living in Australia with my husband and 2 kids. I help parents to talk about sex (with less cringe and more confidence) and to empower their child to make smart sexual decisions. You can join my online parent support group here and visit my shop for helpful resources.

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