Tools for Having “The Talks” Workshops

A workshop group talking about how to talk to children about bodies, boundaries and sexuality. 6 people are sitting around a coffee, some have workbooks on their laps.
These workshops happen in a relaxed environment, with a small group of people.

Who are these workshops for?

The Tools for Having “The Talks” workshops are for parents and caregivers, who want to talk to their children about bodies, boundaries and sexuality. Certainly, many parents would like open channels of communication with their children, especially around these topics. However, for many of us we do not know where to start, or what information is appropriate. At the same time, we often feeling uncomfortable and awkward having these talks with children.

As a result, I created these workshops to help increase parents’ confidence and skills, when having (or starting) age-appropriate talks and discussions with children about their bodies, good & bad touches, safety & consent, peer pressure, sex and more.

These workshops are not limited to parents and guardians; teachers, aunts, uncles, social workers and psychologists have attended these workshops and found them helpful with their interactions with children and young people.

Age appropriate content?

To ensure the content is age-appropriate for talking with children of different ages, these workshops are based on the International Sexuality Education Guidelines from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

The workshops are age-group specific. Because talking to a 4 year old child is going to be different to talking a 12 year old. Therefore, the workshops are divided into the following age groups How to talk to:

  • 3-6 year olds,
  • 7-10 year olds,
  • 11-14 year olds, and

Structure of the workshops

The full workshop series is over three days (not necessarily consecutive days). Because each series is age specific, the level of detail for each of the talking points below will be different. That is to say what we cover about puberty, for example, for 3-6 year olds will be very different to what is covered for the other age groups

Workshop 1

How to talk to children about Bodies and Puberty

  • The importance of speaking about the entire body with our children, and how.
  • How to speak about the genitals and puberty without the awkwardness and shame many of us experienced.
  • Potential consequences of not speaking about these topics at all, in negative ways, or using incomplete messages.
  • Gender

Workshop 2

How to talk to children about Touching, Safety and Consent

  • How not all pleasurable touch is sexual.
  • Good and bad touches, and feelings of being safe vs unsafe.
  • We reflect on previous conversations we’ve had with our children about who can and cannot touch their bodies, and why.
  • We unpack how to speak to children about boundaries for their own bodies. How to navigate societal expectations for physical contact – e.g. hugs at social gatherings.
  • Secrets, surprises and abuse

Workshop 3

How to talk to children about sex and sexuality

  • In this session we combine tools and information from Workshops 1 and 2. Building on the tools from the first to workshops, we discuss ways to appropriately speak about sex, contraception, STIs and prevention, and family creation.

Time frame for workshops

Each workshop in the series is 3 hours long.

There is usually a week between each workshop, to allow parents the opportunity to practice talking to their children in the ways we discuss in each workshop. This leads to useful feedback on how parents found using the tools and skills covered in the previous workshop.