Does it feel too early to start a conversation with your eight or nine-year-old child about puberty? As you watch them playing with their friends, you might feel like it is too soon. But, trust me, this change is already starting inside their body.
I’m a big believer in small talks that are age-appropriate. This young age is the perfect time to start exploring what they already know about puberty and uncover questions they have been considering.
The less dramatic we are about this topic, the more likely they will be open with us. Let’s do away with the, “It’s time for the big talk!” format, or even expression. Puberty that leads to sexual maturity is a normal transition in the growth and development of our adolescents. There is no need to keep it secret in our homes. It will be obvious to all, at the appropriate time.
Here are three small topics, one at a time, you can consider as you go about your day with your child. These talks will likely last about 5-10 minutes. Keep them casual and fun. Also, don’t get too excited if they start asking you questions and decide to push the conversation farther than just a few minutes. You want them to look forward to these times with you. Briefness is good for you and them.
- Have you heard anything about puberty?
- It’s normal, like learning to walk.
- It helps you become a teenager.
- Does puberty sound good or bad to you?
- It’s bad because you will probably get pimples and you’re going to smell more.
- It’s good because it helps you think differently, more like a teenager.
- How do you feel about your body changing?
- You’re going to get taller, so that’s good.
- You’re going to be even more hungry than you are now. We need to think about what I need to buy at the store or make for you. What sounds good right now?
There are many changes that will happen during puberty, both physical changes you can see and changes in the way they think. Fortunately, this happens over several years. Start at 8 or 9 years old, and walk with them by taking tiny steps over the next few weeks or months.