As a follow up to my post Thursday about talking to our kids about sex and their bodies, today I’m sharing a podcast and 2 great books that have been super helpful in teaching our kids about sex and their bodies.
First off, something to listen to: One of my favorite podcasts has an AMAZING episode called, “LEANING INTO THE SQUIRM: HOW TO TALK TO YOUR KIDS ABOUT BODIES, SEX, AND SEXUALITY.” Y’all, it is SO GOOD. It’s open, it’s honest, and it has actual advice from an expert. In addition to two of the regular Sorta Awesome co-hosts, they brought in a licensed social worker and counselor who specializes in faith based sex education that promotes healthy and safe attitudes.
As you approach this conversation (or even seek to deal with your own fear or embarrassment around this topic), I think you’ll find this podcast informative and helpful.
Secondly, two books we’ve loved with our younger boys. My boys are 10 and 8, I think these books are great to introduce with elementary aged kids:
On a date with Matt a few years ago at our favorite indy bookstore, I noticed a display of books about healthy sexuality. My eye was drawn to It’s So Amazing: A Book about Eggs, Sperm, Birth, Babies, and Families, because it is colorful and fun, and also because it is written almost like a comic (my boys were and are obsessed with Calvin and Hobbes, leading them to love nearly everything in the comic format.)
To say that my kids love this book is an understatement.
Our youngest was 6 at the time, and wanted me to read it to him every day for weeks. He kept it where he could easily get to in on our bookshelves, and regularly pulled it down for months. When we had guests over, I’d come into the room to see that M had cornered some college girl and had her reading about how babies are made, or the sperm factory. After a while I moved it to a higher shelf so I could control when and where we had those conversations…. and within the week he was looking for it.
The bright comic book format is narrated by a bird (who thinks everything about bodies and sex is SO AMAZING) and a bee (who thinks everything is SO EMBARRASSING) who crack the boys up.
I can’t recommend this book highly enough, it has opened up more conversations than I could have ever imagined. We read it cover to cover (1 or 2 double page spreads at a time, encouraging them to ask questions.) And the boys still like to read it on their own.
My 17 year old rolls his eyes, both at his brothers’ interest in this book AND at the conversations this has caused around the dinner table. But I wish I’d had it when he was younger. It’s just so good.
I was in Barnes & Noble last month looking for something to spend a birthday gift card on, and noticed Guy Stuff: The Body Book for Boys. (I bought it, but am saving my gift card for Brene Brown’s new book. YAY!) This is published by the American Girl people, I had seen their Care & Keeping of YOU books for girls. But I had no idea there was a boys’ version, and it looked like it would be interesting to my younger two.
I gave it to my 10 year old, since we’re starting to talk about the need to shower more regularly. And since (thanks to It’s So Amazing!) he is super interested in puberty and everything that has to do with what is coming to his body. He loves to read, and immediately jumped into it.
I like that this book discusses how to care for your body from head to toe, putting the conversation about puberty and private parts in the context of life and your entire body (rather than “special parts.”)
I like that it is funny.
I like that it covers things I want my boys thinking about, like showering v. stinking, nutrition, the importance of sleep, and the biggies like hormones and puberty and all that comes with them.
And I like that it covers things my boys are super interested in, like zits, pit hair, and six-packs (y’all, I have no idea how they even know what this is, but they talk about six-packs weekly). It even has a “Fun Pee Fact” chart telling them how to tell if they’re getting enough water from the color of their pee.
It also covers things I’d never think about talking about with them, like early v. late bloomers, the difference between confident guys and arrogant guys, and well, how to know if you’re getting enough water from the color of your pee.
I think I handed Guy Stuff to my younger boys at the exact perfect age – there are a few sections I’d love for my oldest to read (Among others, SLEEP!), if I didn’t know he’d just make fun of me. But I’ve had it out next to me while I wrote this post, and the boys keep fighting over it, and trying to pick it up and read it.
3 cheers for sex/body education books that boys will fight over.
What books or other resources have been helpful to you in pushing through the awkward on this topic?