What do you do when your preschooler asks you, ‘Where do babies come from?’ First thing to do is calm down—she’s not really asking for a detailed answer on human anatomy or the Big Sex Talk. So what does she want to know, and how do you answer it in a way she’ll understand? Here is a simple and straightforward guide to help you.
Keep it simple.
You can start by saying, ‘You grew inside my tummy until you were big enough to be born.’ Speak as matter-of-factly as you would if she asked for any other information.
It helps not to provide more information than she’s asking for. If she’s satisfied with that, she’ll stop—to your relief, no doubt. Or, if you want to elaborate, give information in short and simple chunks. You can just say, ‘When the baby is big it passes through the vagina.’ You can also get picture books that explain anatomy. There are many designed precisely for pre-schoolers.
Stay calm and relaxed
Your child may pick up on your discomfort and shame, and make him wonder if he said something wrong. You may even end up making him so bothered by the discussion that he becomes preoccupied by it. Worse, he will learn to ask other people about sex, instead of you—and this is too important a topic for you not to be involved in.
Talk about it from different angles
You don’t really have one big sex talk but a series of short conversations. One day your child asks about how babies grow. Then another day, when you visit the zoo and see a pregnant animal, you can say, ‘Some animals have babies in their tummies, too. Others lay eggs.’
Keep communication lines open
What you do now will affect how honest and comfortable your child will be about approaching you for any questions about sex or his body. The most important thing that you need to do is to show him that you’re calm, knowledgeable, and appreciate his openness and curiosity. For example, you can say ‘That’s a good question!’ or even ‘How do you think babies are born?’ (which will also help you see what he’s thinking and help correct any misunderstandings).