Budapest Mom and blogger, Jane, a.k.a. Mama Pea Pod is sharing her experience on how to handle the tough question on how babies are made
My not-yet-5-year-old daughter wanted to know recently about how babies are made. She already knew the basics: that they grow inside their mummies’ tummies, that they get food from the umbilical cord that is attached to their belly buttons, that they are inside a sac of water and can pee into the water any time they need to, and she even knew a fair bit about how they get out and from where. But what she wanted to know this time was details about just how they get in there in the first place.
Being totally unprepared for this question already (I’m sure I was 8 before I considered this question – and I learned about it at school as part of our Babies unit!), I turned to friends, fellow teachers, other preschool bloggers I know, and the internet to find advice. I’ve compiled the most helpful tips I found for you here, just in case this questions pops up at your house one of these days, too!
Tips for Telling Your Preschooler
How Babies Are Made
1. Gone are the days of the ‘Birds and the Bees’ talk. It’s best to be honest and answer your child’s questions directly.
2. The Big Talk is also a thing of the past. These days, educating your child about sex and baby-making is an ongoing conversation over years. Keeping the conversation going keeps the lines of communication open – very important for setting the stage for open communication with your child in the teenage years.
3. Use body language – the real thing. It’s recommended that you teach your child the real words to describe the various body parts, rather than using ‘cutesy’ words.
4. Answer your child’s questions as they come up. The ‘right age’ to tell them particular details is when they ask for them. There’s no need to tell them more than they are asking, as they aren’t yet ready for it. Answer just what they ask, and when they’re ready for more, they’ll ask for it.
5. If you feel uncomfortable talking about this subject with your child, try your best not to let your child see your discomfort. Talk about it casually and matter-of-factly, the same as you would if you were explaining how the planets orbit the sun. Remember that for young children, this topic isn’t taboo – until you make it taboo.
One of the best ways to make a topic clear to young children (or children of any age, really), is through age-appropriate illustrated books. Two great titles I can recommend are How Your Body Works, and the Flip-Flap Body Book, both from Usborne. They cover a variety of body-related topics, including how babies are made. I bought them both here in Budapest through the local Usborne representative, and I can’t tell you how excited Princess Pea is about them! (She was actually jumping up and down and screaming ‘This is SOOOO INTERESTING!!!’).
Now she wants to know all about skeletons and what happens to your food. So those are our next topics for discussion.