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Mummy Conversations | When should you talk to your daughter about intimate health?

Everything I learned about my body, I pretty much took from Just Seventeen or Shout magazine. Google and YouTube weren't widely accessible in the 90's and I don't really remember having any sort of discussion with my mum about the changes my body went through during puberty. School wasn't much better with very formal lessons being taught by your form teacher - how embarrassing! So Just Seventeen and Shout it was.

Mummy Conversations with Canesten | When should you talk to your daughter about intimate health?

I don't want my daughter Heidi to be in the same boat as me and rely on those awful teen magazines for knowledge and advice. I know that in this day and age as soon as she has a question, she could easily google the answer herself but I don't want her to look to Dr Google for advice either. It is my wish that she'll come to me first and ask her mum for advice when something's not quite right.

So how do I intend to do this?  Well first of all, I don't want there to be any embarrassment about her body or anyone else in our house. You will never hear me call myself fat or that I need to go on a diet, it's all about focussing on how we need to eat for better health and nutrition and exercise to stay strong and healthy. The language we use around our children has always been very important.

Mummy Conversations with Canesten | When should you talk to your daughter about intimate health?

Secondly, I try to normalise everything about our bodies. For example, I've already talked about sex with all three kids from them being young. They know all about conception, sperm and intimacy (as far as is age appropriate).  I found a fab YouTube video to show an egg being fertilised and they were fascinated! I'm a strong believer in talking about sex and intimacy from a very young age as it really does save any embarrassment in future years and I hope it encourages our children to talk to us if they ever have any questions.

Heidi (and all of our children in fact) know all about periods and I never try and hide anything from them - to be honest I'm not sure how people do. I was rarely allowed the luxury of visiting the bathroom in peace when the kids were little and these sorts of things are difficult to hide. When Heidi goes through puberty and starts her periods, I want her to be educated about what is going on and understand what is happening. It can be a frightening time when your body is changing so much and when I look back to when I started my periods, I was really scared and didn't understand what was happening at all. This is not what I want for Heidi.

Mummy Conversations with Canesten | When should you talk to your daughter about intimate health?

The same goes for intimate health. Although Heidi is only 7, I try and talk to her about what's normal in every day conversation and just try to normalise it really. I first experienced thrush when I was pregnant and again, I didn't have a clue what was happening. I didn't realise it was a normal thing that lots of women dealt with and it is actually quite common in pregnancy. I've already chatted with Heidi about what is normal for her and she knows to tell me if she notices anything unusual - even if she thinks it's something tiny and not worth mentioning. She does tell me and we do have these conversations. I really hope they continue and I love that Heidi feels that she can trust me to listen to her and will talk so openly.

Mummy Conversations with Canesten | When should you talk to your daughter about intimate health?

I think as a parent, it is our job to empower our children and to help them feel comfortable about their own body and know what is normal for them. That's why I have joined in with Canesten®'s campaign. Canesten® want to empower women to comfortably discuss intimate health with their children and hope that through better knowledge, women can self-diagnose and self-treat with confidence. I think talking to our children about intimate health from a young age, certainly plays it's part in achieving this.

Tips for talking about intimate health with your daughter


  • Try and make it part of every day conversation rather than a big chat which can seem overwhelming. I find family walks in the woods, during bath time or when your kids. accompany you to the loo are good times to chat. Little and often is better than one long chat
  • Encourage questions and make a joke of it - ask them to ask the silliest question they can think of.
  • Don't be embarrassed about your own body  - kids can pick up on these signals.
  • There are lots of tools at your disposal. Use YouTube videos, books and websites to help.
  • Teach your children what is normal, how to stay healthy and encourage them to let you know if anything feels and seems wrong.

My final tip (and thought) is that it is NEVER too early to start talking about your child's body, about what's appropriate, about sex, puberty and intimate health. Making it all part of every day life is honestly so much easier than building up to and making a big deal out of 'the talk'.

Canesten® would love to encourage us all to start these conversations and have kindly provided us with a £50 Amazon Gift Card to giveaway. Please start the conversation and enter via the rafflecopter widget below. Good luck.




This article has been supported by Canesten® but all thoughts are out own.

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Mummy Conversations with Canesten | When should you talk to your daughter about intimate health?

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277 comments

  1. I couldn't agree more, normal every day chat, we should be no more embarrassed out our Lady gardens than we are about our elbows! Just body parts!

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  2. Yup, we've started this already. The girls asked the questions ('what are these?' while swing around tampons and 'how are babies made?')

    I just give them the simplest, age appropriate, truthful answer I can think of.

    They are 5 and 4

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  3. I definitely think from a young age of 9 or 10. It's important for young girls to know they can talk about this without feeling embarrassed and can get any help they need or want

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  4. As early as possible as early intervention saves ab awful lot of problems futher down the road of life.

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  5. About 9 or 10 but it all depends on the individual and when puberty begins. I think this because at this age, the body and thoughts start to change and grow up!

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  6. More awkward when you are a guy with a 12 year old daughter who started periods not that long ago, having split with the ex she was staying over with me the second time and great to encourage women to talk to their daughters but maybe the focus should be encouraging / helping people of either gender as not all mums will and sometimes it may be something that the dad needs to think about.

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  7. I agree with what you are saying. It doesn't have to wait until they are old enough for one big discussion, but it should always be about age appropriate honesty and openness. I was telling my partner about this Canesten promotion, and she commented that she had cystitis when she was very little so really, things can happen at any age, and it needs to be talked about. So that girls can come to mum or aunty and ask about anything.

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  8. I think it's great to take any opportunity offered by them asking questions, or to introduce the information along with that about general hygiene. You're totally right, it's about fostering a healthy attitude in general that will stand them in good stead and hopefully give them resilience against any dysfunctional ideas they come across later on.

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  9. 10-11 years when they can understand it better

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  10. I think you should be open and not fix an age appropriate limit on it really, If they ask questions, answer them appropriately and honestly x

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  11. The best time to talk about it is when your child asks

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  12. At aged 10, when they are old enough to understand more , and prior to adolescence . They will then have the confidence to discuss any concerns , and will prevent them suffering in silence .

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  13. Intimate health conversations should start from as soon as they can talk, teaching them basics like anatomy and hygiene so as they get older you can build on knowledge in appropriate ways.

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  14. 10 before they go to high school when they will be exposed to a lot more information

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  15. I think around the ages of 8 and 9, as kids group pretty quickly now, this would be an appropriate age.

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  16. Totally agree. I never get to toilet alone so Arlo knows what periods are at 4. We are very natter of fact about our bodies. I think adults add the embarrassment and over complicate things. Kids usually just take it at face value.

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  17. I would say they need to know before they start secondary school as they are going to hear allsorts there!

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  18. Agree that it needs to be both parents. I have three girls and the eldest 2 (8 and 6) talk openly to my husband and I. They know pretty much everything about male and female bodies. Equally important is to discuss consent - your body, your rules.

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  19. I would suggest about age 10, it's a good age to chat where it's more likely to be taken on board and understood xx

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  20. just before they enter secondary school

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  21. I don't have any kids but about 10 I suppose

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  22. As young as possible really but definitely by around 7 or 8.

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  23. Around age 9. Some children start puberty early and kids talk at school. Just make them feel comfortable talking about anything

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  24. i think around 9 but be open and honest as they get older about thing

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  25. I think it depends on the child, but 12-13 sounds about right to me

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  26. I think that 9 seems a good age for this sort of thing.

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  27. I would drip-feed them information from an early age and then fill in the blanks when they're around 9 years old. This way it won't all be too much for them to take onboard.

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  28. when the child is ready, different children will be ready at different ages.

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  29. Around 9-10 years old but a lot of things we do child friendly answers with our girls from the age of 3, brushing it off and trying to ignore it just leaves them confused.

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  30. Around 9 or 10 before their bodies start to change

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  31. 10-11 whne there bodies are changing

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  32. My daughter is about to turn 9 and i've just answered her questions as and when they come up over the years, I don't want her to think that that there is anything she can't ask me or is an embarassing question.

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  33. I don't think there's a specific age, I think it's just part of the 'body changing' conversations that are a part of normal conversation with your kids.

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  34. It really does depend on the child, approx age 10

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  35. As soon as they were old enough to understand really. Age 6-7 here but its still met with giggles

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  36. i think about 9 before they start puberty

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  37. I think around the age of 11 (Just before high school)

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  38. I think about the age of 9 to 10 years.

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  39. I think about 11 is a good time, however if they have any questions before that i would answer them with an age appropriate response.

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  40. i think 12 years old is a good age for them to understand

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  41. As soon as they are ready and as soon as possible to make it normal for your child to be able to talk about their own body.

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  42. i think about 10. Just before they hit puberty and hopefully won't shout at you.I also think it might be a good idea to talk about things while they are growing up so it wont be to much of a shock and normalise it x

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  43. Between 9 and 10 then they are old enough to understand :)

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  44. I think around 10 or 11, when they are starting to have questions and are able to understand properly.

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  45. i guess when they start asking as it shows they want to learn

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  46. I always think you can't put an age on it, as it depends on the child. As long as you make talking about it a normal thing, and not an embarrassing thing, its cool.

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  47. I think it's important to answer questions as honestly but in appropriate way to their age whenever they ask.

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  48. I agree with the blog post entirely, so it's never too early!

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  49. I would say between 11 and 12 but it really depends on their maturity, thanks.x

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  50. I would think around 11ish when they start to mature and develop physically

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  51. Around 9 years old when they can understand and make the topic normal.

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  52. At about 12 or 13 when they are mature enough to understand.

    Thanks for a super giveaway :) x

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  53. i think just before they go to secondary school but i think it depends also on what your child is like to what age.

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  54. Around 10 years of age, so that they understand what is happening and that it happens to all women, so they know they can talk to you in the future.

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  55. When they start becoming curious & asking question, I think then you can tailor your answers to their maturity

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  56. About 9 years old as thats when their friends will start talking about it and I would prefer them to hear the true facts

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  57. i would probably say about age 11

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  58. id say from 8 ish depending on the child but always be open and dont make a big deal about this kind of stuff ,this way the child will talk about things openly without ambarassment .

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  59. It has just been talked about along with everything else whenever appropriate. By making it part of normal discussions it becomes no big deal. My son can and does talk to me about everything!

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  60. I would say it depends on the maturity of the child as to what age to broach a subject

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  61. When they hit puberty is probably the best as they start to learn about their bodies more and more

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  62. I think it doesn't matter what age they are, if they ask a question then you just need to answer it in terms they will understand based on their current age.

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  63. Probably between 9-12 depending on the child. Like you my kids are pretty aware of periods as we only have one bathroom so they see everything & I explain it correctly.

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  64. I'd say around 10 years old. It's important for them to be aware before they reach puberty

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  65. My daughter is 6 and I have talked to her about it for well over a year, its not just about health, its about bathing correctly and understanding good personal care. I am very open with my children.

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  66. Probably at about 10 or 11 just before they go to secondary school or reach puberty. Its important as they should not feel scared about talking about such things.

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  67. Right from the start, if its normally and just part of normally life its far easier and never awkward

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  68. when they are mature enough to understand

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  69. I would start around 10-11 years of age, before it becomes a subject they are too uncomfortable to discuss

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  70. I think make it a normal thing by talking to them about it at an age appropriate level throughout their childhood.

    @rachiegr

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  71. I think about 11 but obviously depends on maturity and it needs to be done so that they understand the importance and they feel comfortable talking about it

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  72. I think 12 is a good age to start if they havent asked you about it already

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  73. I think as soon as. From an early age they should be aware of certain things and like you say be ooen and hinest with them. It will pay to gain their trust

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  74. There is no right or wrong age, but I personally think around 9 /10 would be good

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  75. I think it depends on the maturity of the child, I think around 9-10 if the child is ready.

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  76. Around 10 or 11 because that's when their bodies are starting to change.

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  77. I wish there had been more information around when I was young as I was a very naturally inquisitive child, I remember my mum saved me some cut out pamphlets from a magazine and made it clear if I had any questions I could ask but the lines of communication weren't great and it all just felt a bit embarrassing. Good on you Sam, I think loads of people will find this useful!

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  78. I think it should be before they start secondary school so around 10 or 11 but it would depend on the child as well.

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  79. I'd say around 11 when they are starting secondary school. Any younger and it might just go over their heads.

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  80. I think as early as possible that way in doesn't seem like a big "grown-up" topic.

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  81. I'd say around 12 but it depends on the individual child. I think you need a good & open relationship with your child & it to me seems more appropriate that your child can come to you when needed rather that told at a particular age.

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  82. From when they ask questions - being honest & open from the start reduces embaressment!

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  83. As early as possible. My twins are now all grown up but we have never been shy to talk about intimate things together and if they asked questions, I answered truthfully and factual :)

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  84. Whenever they ask, with answers tailored to their age - it's beneficial because it'll make them realise that it's not a subject to avoid because it's embarrassing - it should help them to open up if they have any concerns in future! x

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  85. 12 or 13, as they will start to go through changes.

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  86. Age 11, before they atsrt secondary school

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  87. When they start to ask questions and can understand the answers, it will be different for each child

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  88. I thnk about 11ish, depends on how mature they are x

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  89. any age, wee talk about things as we go along.x

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  90. around 11/12 when they are starting secondary school when you think they are able to understand, as they may be already asking questions x

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  91. i think as soon as they are old enough to understand x

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  92. 11, get in their before the rumours at secondary school

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  93. I think it should be early but when they are ready. I think as a mum you know when the time is right.

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  94. I think around 10-11 is appropriate. I only got the very basics from my mum, I think she was embarrassed. Anyway, I had a couple of unpleasant experiences in my early teens which I was ill prepared for, I would hate that to happen to my daughter.

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  95. 13, but I guess any age is good to be open and honest

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  96. I think it depends on the child as some mature much earlier than others

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  97. About 14 and when the child is mature as you want them to feel comfortable as they're body is changing x

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  98. I think as soon as they start asking questions and certainly before they start secondary school, because if it’s something you’ve always spoke about, it makes not such a big deal.

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  99. It really depends on the child and his/her mental maturity but would be around age 13ish

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  100. I think around age 10 is the right time, however if your child starts asking questions earlier you should be honest and tell them (@beckaustin)

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  101. I think it depends on the child
    I started with my daughter about age 11
    think it's good to have open honest conversations with your children

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  102. Think it depends on how mature the child is. Some may need the talk earlier than others. You should know she your child is ready.

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  103. Around 9 so they hear it from you rather than stuff in the playground

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  104. I've always felt age 11 is about the right age, but you do make a good point about normalising intimate health with kids rather than it being something to be embarrassed about

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  105. depends on the child but between 8 and 12 i think

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  106. from age 9 dependent on maturity. Before secondary school (@PeanutHog)

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  107. I think around the age of 10 when they start asking questions as it's important to be honest with them

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  108. As soon as they are old enough to understand and communicate so not to make taboo of such subjects

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  109. About 9-10 as girls can start their periods when at primary school and it would be distressing for them to not know what was happening to their bodies.

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  110. Questions should be answered as soon as they arise, in an age appropriate fashion.

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  111. It's something that should be taught gradually from a very early age. That way, it just becomes normal and not embarassing.

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  112. I just go by when my children ask questions and then give age appropriate answers x

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  113. I think about 9 or 10 but then again it depends on your child as they are all different

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  114. I think every child is different and i think if you know your child you know the right time, as a mum of 4 i found my eldest would shy away from speaking about things and only feels comfortable now at 13 but my daughter talks bout things at 8 and my youngest 6 so it depends on your situation.

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  115. I think whenever they start to ask questions

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  116. I believe that the right age to discuss intimate health with your children is about 8/9 years old as knowledge is power and being informed will ensure they made hood decisions in the future.

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  117. The Basics from around 10 depending on the child but especially before secondary school so they don't feel confused, left out or embarrassed. It's important to be honest and discuss it in such a way they feel comfortable and not force the conversation.

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  118. I think you can tell by the sorts of questions they start asking so it's probably a good time as soon as you know they have some knowledge. It lets you diesperse any myths and be open and honest with them at a stage when they're ready.

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  119. I think about 7 unless there's been any previous issues.

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  120. As soon as they are able to ask questions - answer even toddlers questions at a level they will understand

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  121. I think it depends on the child - but 10/11 sounds about right!

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  122. I regularly speak to mine about anything and everything. I just make sure that the conversation is age appropriate.

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  123. I think it depends on the child but around the age of 10/11

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  124. I don't think there is a "set" age to talk to your child. All children develop at different rates and therefore some kids would be ready before others. I think its just ensuring your child knows you are there is they have any questions or want to talk and gauging the right age for your child! xx

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  125. Depending on how mature the child is I would suggest between the ages of 10-11 before puberty kicks in

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  126. It depends on the child, but I'd say around 10

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  127. I think the sooner the better. So they then feel more comfortable about it and feel they can speak to you naturally about anything they want to.
    They also start early in schools and I'd rather have spoken to my child first.

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  128. I don’t think there is really a “right” age, I think it depends very much on the individual child. Some will be more curious than others, and of course they all mature at different rates! I would say probably before they start secondary school though, if the subject hasn't already been broached, because I think they are going to be out of their depth amongst their peers if they are still naive at that age

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  129. Just before high school starts - leanne w

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  130. 9 because they will understand then

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  131. I think it all depends on the child. My daughter was about 7 when she started to ask questions

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  132. I'd say around 11 when they start secondary school, as this is when they meet new people who may already be talking about it

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  133. My little girl is 3 and knows about periods as she walked in on me once. She doesn't know a lot but I have explained they are not scary. I hope she is closer to 10 before she learns about sexual health

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  134. It should never be a taboo. Just a fact of life. Don't make it a big thing. There is no right age, as s mother you'll know when the time is right

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  135. I would start around 10-11 years of age

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  136. as soon as they start to discuss it with you

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  137. Before they start secondary school, or if they ask before hand!

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  138. I think probably around the time they start going through the changes, it’s a confusing time and it’s important to have clear and structured advice!

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  139. about aged 10 or 11 before starting senior school

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  140. When she hits puberty. It's the age where their bodies mature and they're old enough to understand.

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  141. I don't think you can specify an age, you just know. Questions will start being asked etc.

    @smeethsaysfashn on twitter

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  142. I think it depends on the child as some are ready to learn these things much earlier than others.

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  143. About 11, but it depends on so many factors

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  144. when they start asking questions- but my answers would be dependent on age

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  145. around 9 or 10 depending on maturity

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  146. I reckon around 8 or 9. It's so important that they know what to expect before their bodies start to change - can be really scary otherwise.

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  147. no 'right' age as such - i agree with what you say about normalising these conversations and i hope to do that with my daughter.

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  148. i think when they begin to as questions and when you feel they are ready x

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  149. I think it should be answered age appropiately when it arises

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  150. When they start asking my son is 8 and is already learning about his body at school and has started asking questions

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  151. About 8 or 9 but it all depends on the individual

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  152. everyone is different but around 8-9

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  153. I think it depends on the maturity of the individual child.

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  154. Around 11, saves them embarrassment in school

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  155. I think it depends on the child and their understanding but any when from 11

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  156. I would say around 11, as long as it is done in a sensitive and age appropriate way.

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  157. When they start to ask questions as they all mature at different rates and it is more natural.

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  158. Right from when they are little you can use correct names for things

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  159. I think it depends on the maturity of the child and whether they are asking questions. As a general rule I would try and wait until they were at least 10 or 11.

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  160. With my children we had more of the talks about growing up, puberty and health around age 10 in year 6 after the school has their talks on relationships and puberty as it usually opens the doors up for more home chats.

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  161. Around about 10 but you know your child the best. Fantastic prize, thank you so much x

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  162. My daughter was quite clear about when she wanted to talk and when she would rather not know.

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  163. I think 6 - 7 would be a good age to start with certain basics, and then add more in-depth info as they are growing up.

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  164. I'd say 10-12 depending on how grown up

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  165. Sex ed starts towards the end of primary school. If you want to start the conversation before the school does, it's important to get in just before then.

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  166. around 12-13 depending how grown up they are

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  167. I think it depends on the child but if I had to say an age I'd go 9+

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  168. I say about 9ish before any changes start to happen so you can explain everything to them

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  169. It depends on the individual child and when they start asking questions

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  170. I think as a parent, you know your child and the right time to discuss. I don't think there should be a set age at all, every child is different.

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  171. 11 - 12 when they can understand better

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  172. As children mature and develop differently, I would say it depends on the child. However I think that it should be before they go to secondary school as there is a lot of information and misinformation there :)

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I always love reading your thoughts and comments - Sam x

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