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.
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.
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.
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.
1. There is 1 prize of one £50 Amazon voucher. The prize is non-transferable and no cash alternative is offered
2. Open to UK residents aged 18 and over, excluding employees and relatives of North East Family Fun and Bayer plc
3. Closing date for entries is 21/12/16
4. Entrants must log into Rafflecopter and leave a comment
5. Optional entry methods are to follow on Twitter, Instagram, Youtube and tweet on twitter
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days or a new winner will be chosen
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