Young Children (approximately 4-6 years old)

Common Sexual-Exploration Behaviors

  • Masturbating, occasionally in the presence of others
  • Attempting to see others naked
  • Mimicking dating behaviors such as holding hands or kissing
  • Talking about private parts and using “naughty words”
  • Exploring private parts with children their own age (including “playing doctor” or “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours”)

Teaching Healthy Sexual Development

  • Teaching that boys and girls bodies go through changes as they get older
  • Providing a basic explanation of how babies grow in their mothers’ womb
  • Reinforcing the rules about personal boundaries
  • Teaching that touching the private body parts is normal, but is something that needs to be done in private

Teaching Body Safety

  • Teaching a child that if a stranger tries to get them to go with them they should run and tell a trusted adult (parent, teacher, neighbor, police officer, or another trusted adult).
  • Reinforce and explore with them who to tell if someone asks them to do not okay or unsafe things.
  • Reinforcing to the child that no one should touch their private parts and explain that even if someone is making them feel “tingly and nice” in their private parts it is still not an appropriate thing and they need to tell an adult. It is important that children do not feel wrong or ashamed of pleasure and know that adults will not be mad at them.
  • Explaining to a child that sexual abuse is never their fault and that you will believe them if they tell you something happened to them.



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