‘Where did I come from?’
That question for many parents can send a wave of worry on how exactly to share the answer, but don’t worry at all, my top tips for explaining reproduction, should help your little ones have a simple and magical explanation to how they came to be.
Honesty is the best policy! I’ve always talked to my children very honestly since they were very little. I think honesty is incredibly important in some situations, but this doesn’t mean providing graphic details or big words, just simply arming them with basic knowledge and the answers they seek.
When our daughter was diagnosed with HMS and needed lots of tests and physio – we thought it was important that she knew right away what was going on. We explained that she wasn’t poorly, nothing bad was going to happen, it was just that her body was but a little different in a rather special way. This honest attitude to her condition meant her later heart valve diagnosis meant the specialness just added up more! There was no fuss made, and we still don’t ‘wrap her up in cotton wool’ but arm her with information, explanation and understanding, so she always feels in control.
Books are wonderful!
Books are helpful for a variety of situations, and when our daughter was going through this time of trying to understand what was happening to her little dislocating legs and arms, we used a body book to show her the parts that were being a bit tricky! We chatted about the amazing things our bodies do and how sometimes they don’t work very well.
I think it’s so important to be honest – but within reason. I answer any questions truthfully and as best I can. (Google is helpful when my biology education fails me!) Often, that honesty helps little ones cope far better than a made up story that gives little help or the answers they seek so that they can understand what is happening and why.
It’s the same when it comes to understanding how they were made.
When should you tell children about how babies are made?
Like many things – I do think it’s a personal thing for you and your family. When it comes to making the decision that they are ready, it really is a child thing and not an age thing, so go by your own child’s stage of development.
My two have always taken an interest in biology from a young age, something I love and encourage, because, lets face it – our bodies are pretty amazing and interesting with what they can do! So they have always known (in a simple way) how they came to be.
Where do babies come from?
Its a question that many parents worry about, but it’s the most natural question in the world!
My two have known how babies are made since the toddler years – but it’s always been a very basic knowledge. (Daddy gave mummy a seed and the seed grew into a baby in my tummy!)
As early talkers it was easy to chat about things and now at 6 and 7 years old we’ve gone into a little more detail (bar the actual you-know-what bit) so they know how they were made.
How do you tell children about the birds and the bees?
The facts: While the facts are important – the details are not. Chat to your child about the very basics. How a seed and an egg are needed, and who provides which, and a simple chat about bodies. From a young age they’re not quite ready for the details how exactly the seed got there – but are more interested in the details on how it turns into a baby.
The Making: (Or what I refer to as ‘the baking!’) For my two, I explained how making a baby is a bit like baking! You need the ingredients and then it takes time to bake! So you need one egg (which is inside the mummy tummy) a seed (sperm) from daddy (or if you have donated sperm – a nice way of explaining it, is a ‘gift seed.’)
The seed pops into the egg and together they grow, over nine months, into a baby!
I explained gestation, what bits grew first, how the baby changes and grows bigger, how the mummy feeds the baby through the umbilical cord (their belly buttons are where their magic feeding tube was) and how very magical and special it all is. They were truly fascinated. Again, books and pictures really help, and I found this lovely, simple picture from ‘Live science’ helped show the ever-changing baby in the womb.
Once I’ve told my little ones anything important – I get them to talk back to me about it. This repetition, often helps it sit in their head for a bit.
They repeated back back to me the information pretty well! They then told me I was amazing for growing them – which is pretty special!
Whenever you decide to tell your little ones, make it clear, keep it simple and use books (some fab ones are linked below) or video to back up your explanations. Make it magical and not scary, spare the big words and graphic detail until they are old enough to understand. Remind them of how completely wonderful they are and how making them was very special.