A couple of weeks ago my colleague posted a status on our corporate Facebook page asking people when they thought children should be told about the birds and the bees. I had a little chortle to myself completely unaware that my six year old daughter was about to hit me with a series of questions that would leave me quaking in my boots, most notably, “do babies come out of mummies bottoms?”
I hadn’t planned on tackling this just yet but decided that I needed to tell her something. A bit of Google research later and I had learnt that it is important to tell them the truth but only as much as is age appropriate and relevant to what they are asking about.
I thought about buying a book on the subject that we could read together so took myself off to the nearest Waterstones. The best they could offer was a tale entitled “Where Willy the Sperm Went”. Does anyone else see the cringe inducing irony in this?
Luckily a friend offered me the Usbourne Lift the Flap Body Book which seemed a lot more suitable.
So, we sat down to read it together and first I asked what she already knew. She knew that babies grow in ladies tummies, that they come out of their bottoms at the hospital and are held in by a tube that makes a belly button. We were on the right track so I corrected the obviously wrong parts and then explained about seeds and eggs and growing babies.Thankfully I got away with the question I was dreading the most, ‘how does the seed get to the egg’ but I’m sure it will arise in due course.
What I did find difficult was helping her to understand that babies are not only born to married people. She knows quite a few people whose parents are not married and she couldn’t understand how they came to be. Her assumption at six is that all Mums and Dads have to be married to get a baby and that is clearly not true so I went with Mums and Dads have to love each other a lot. I know this is not always true but it is as much as she needs to know for now.
One thing I was very worried about was the wrath of playground parents who have not yet had this conversation with their children. On that basis I explained to her is that each child should learn from their own parents and so even though it’s not a secret she should not go to school and share her newfound knowledge with the world.
This is only the start of the subject and there are so many things she will want to know from biology to family make up but we’ll take them as they come up and are appropriate.
- Author explains how babies are made without sex or gender (atinyhumanfortwoqueers.wordpress.com)
- The Birds and the Bees Conversation – What AGE is Appropriate? (momgenerations.com)
- We Gave Our Kids The Sex Talk (malibumom.com)