Talking about the birds and the bees may make you feel uncomfortable, but it doesn’t have to be awkward! While schools may cover Sexuality Education, there’s nothing quite like hearing it from one’s parents. After all, you are in the best position to ensure your child has the right information about reproduction, and it’s a good opportunity to pass on your values around this.

So how should you talk about sex? Here are three tips to help you along:

1. It begins with you

Plan before starting such a conversation with your child. Bear in mind that this topic is not just about the action, but also about respecting our bodies, having meaningful and loving relationships, and knowing what constitutes appropriate behaviour. For example, your child should be aware that they should not be sending personal photos or videos of themselves to others, or knowing that they should ask for help when someone is touching them inappropriately.

Decide what you are comfortable talking about: sex, reproduction, appropriate behaviours, etc. For areas that you are not entirely comfortable talking about, you can get some age-appropriate books to help prompt your conversation along. Some explain how babies are made in a kid-friendly way, with illustrations that explain how different boys’ and girls’ bodies are; others may talk about puberty and adolescence.

2. It’s all about timing

Look for suitable moments, such as highlighting positive or negative examples of sex and relationships on TV or social media.

Consider your child’s age. You could teach your 4-year-old the different body parts during bath time, while pre-schoolers may want to know more about how a baby got into Mummy’s tummy. Try to give simple and factual answers, and save the details for when they are in primary school.

3. Just keep talking

Having short conversations over a period of time would be more effective than one big, serious talk. Keep the lines of communication open and let your child know that she can come to you any time, as it is impossible to cover all the questions your child may have in one sitting.

Finally, model a healthy attitude about sex and relationships. Show affection, kindness, and respect to your significant other—something that can set the tone for your child’s future relationships.