Chances are, if your child has asked "Where do babies come from?" then you will have felt awkward and maybe a bit embarrassed at how to answer. Often these questions are asked when parents are least expecting it, seemingly for no reason, but if you are pregnant, it may lead to questions from your inquisitive child being thrown your way as it sinks in that you are going to be having a baby.
So, should you change the subject when your child asks "Where do babies come from?", or tell a few lies? Or, should you be open and honest about the birds and the bees? Here, I explain all...
Children under 5 become more and more curious about the world around them, asking a lot of "Why?" questions and wanting to know how things work, so it's no surprise if they see a pregnant woman or meet a new baby, they might want to know where babies come from.
The key thing to remember at this age, is that it's not about sex - children won't associate the mechanics of reproduction with adult feelings of attraction and desire. This means that you can give them a simple explanation of how babies grow inside a woman's tummy - The mummy and daddy make a baby, it grows inside mummy's tummy and then when the baby is ready, it comes out. Explaining in this way helps children understand that the process takes time.
They may want to know why and how, so you can go on to explain that the mummy and daddy have decided that now is the time to grow a baby and when they are older, you will explain exactly how the baby comes out. It's not often a child of this age will have many more questions, but if they do want to know exactly how a baby gets in a mummy's tummy, it is best to be fairly honest, but in a way that suits their understanding - a baby grows from the daddy's sperm joining an egg in the mummy's tummy.
Try not to get flustered as then your child might sense there is something not quite right and they may then think having a baby is something to worry about.
You don't need to sit your child down for 'the talk' if you don't feel comfortable, instead you may want to wait until your child asks, which, may not happen until they are learning about it at school - usually by the end of year 4, when they are 8 and 9 years old.
Whatever the reason for the conversation though, having an open and honest chat is best, starting by asking them what they think. If they haven't been learning about reproduction at school yet, they may have heard ideas from their peers, or seen something on tv that has made them curious. Once you hear their thoughts, you will be able to gauge how much information to share. They may, for instance, tell you exactly what happens, meaning you will only need only need to confirm that what they think is correct.
If they don't seem to have grasped the concept, don't be afraid to explain to them honestly. You might want to explain that a baby is made when two people have sex together, how a penis and vagina fit together, and a sperm fertilises an egg. It is a good idea to use the correct language though, so instead of babies growing in the mum's tummy, they grow in her uterus.
It is important to point out that having sex is something that adults do, when they both want to, and not something that children do.
It is also good to explain the other ways that babies enter a family, such as through adoption, surrogacy and IVF.
As children get older, you can add more details, as tweens and teens will have more complex questions about sex, relationships and pregnancy. Keep in mind your child's maturity though, so that you use the correct words and language that they understand. Using the wrong words, may end up scaring them.
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