There will come a time when you must talk to your children about their health. As they get older and become more curious about their bodies and the world around them, they will start to ask questions. As parents, you want to make sure your children remain safe and make healthy choices. To ensure the talk goes smoothly, follow the five points of guidelines outlined below.
Answer Questions Honestly
When having discussions about health with your children, tough questions will sometimes be asked. You may feel tempted to lie to your children to make the subject matter feel less awkward. No matter what you are discussing, always answer questions honestly. If you answer your children’s questions honestly, they will come to trust you and know that you are a safe person to talk to no matter how difficult or dicey the topic becomes. On the other hand, dishonesty will ruin your children’s trust in you because if they find out from their peers, teachers, or others in their lives that you lied to them, they will feel betrayed.
If you do not know the answer to a question your children ask, be honest and tell your children you do not know. What you can tell your children is that you all can learn the answers together. Make a fun research project out of it. Take a day to research and learn activities around the questions your children have.
Give Age-Appropriate Answers
To ensure your children understand what you are telling them, make sure your answers to their questions are age-appropriate. If you give your children answers they do not understand, they will become confused or troubled. Children have good imaginations and are good at thinking up things to scare themselves if they become confused or do not understand. The last thing you want to happen is for your children’s imaginations to run away with them and for them to feel scared which can potentially put them in harm’s way.
Back up Your Answers with Age-Appropriate Materials
To truly make sure your children understand the answers you have given them, you can back up your answers with age-appropriate materials. You can find videos or kids’ books on a variety of topics including activity books on anatomy for kids. YouTube has many videos on a variety of health subjects that are easy for kids to digest and understand.
If your children are blind or visually impaired, some tactile images and figures can feel that are geared towards teaching anatomy for kids. Blindness organizations can direct you on where to procure such products.
Make Sure Your Children Feel Good about Themselves
When talking about health, always make sure your children feel good about themselves. Do not judge them for the questions they ask and do not react with shock or anger even if those are the emotions that come to the surface. Remain calm and answer your questions in a matter-of-fact or nonjudgmental way. If they talk about things that are not in line with your family’s values or beliefs, make sure to steer them to the right answers by being positive and reasoning why such things are not a good idea. When children feel good about who they are, they will be less likely to make poor choices.
Remember Any Time is the Right Time
You may want to tell your children that now is not the time to have such discussions and that you will speak with them when they are a bit older. You do not want to do this because if children do not find out the answers from you, they will seek elsewhere. Sometimes, your children can find answers from sources that are not so well such as from adults who may try to groom them for unsavory activities. You always want to be the one your children learn from.
So, when they ask you questions, remember that any time is the right time to have discussions about health. Do not put these discussions off for another day. When your children come to you with their questions, stop what you are doing, sit down with them and give them your attention.
When children have a good understanding of their health, they will make good choices that will ensure they remain safe. Additionally, they will be less likely to be taken advantage of by predators.