Experts Say: A Lesson on the Birds and the Bees

I’m due in about a month and my four-year-old is curious about where babies come from. How can I answer her without going into too much detail?

Telling young children about the birds and the bees can be a daunting task. This can become particularly tricky when mummy is about to have another baby as this generates a lot of curiosity in the little one. While this may be difficult to deal with, it is important as parents to be open in our communication with our children. Talking about sex and preparing children eventually for their own sexual development is a part of parenting. It may start early, especially if there is another baby on the way and there are a lot of curious questions about where this baby is coming from. As parents deal with endless questions from their little ones about this, it may be useful to keep the following in mind:

               

  • Try to find out first what your child may already know
  • Correct any incorrect information that they may have.
  • Try to be as honest as possible, at the same time keeping the conversation age appropriate.
  • Let the child set the pace for the conversation, so give the child whatever information he or she asks for, no more or less.
  • Respect the child’s curiosity, don’t put them down, or make them feel that they have done something wrong by asking about where babies come from.
  • If your child asks about this at a time or place where it is inappropriate to talk about it, acknowledge their curiosity once again and say that you would like to discuss it when you get home or have time to talk about it. What’s important is that you do go back to their question when you have the opportunity to discuss it with them.
  • Try to stick to the facts and use the correct terms (uterus, vagina etc).
  • However embarrassed or awkward you may be feeling, try not to show it to your child and be as calm and normal as you can.

 

While there is no script for this conversation and it greatly depends on the child and the parents, here are some ideas on what you could say:

 

  • Mummy’s stomach has a house called the uterus.
  • The uterus pushes the baby out of the stomach when the baby is ready to come out.
  • Babies are made by both mummies and daddies, a seed from daddy and an egg from mummy.

 

As awkward as this may be for parents, it’s an important and relevant conversation to have.

 

Question answered by:

Anita Shankar

Psychologist and Family Coach

Thanks for sharing!