There’s a lot of new ground to explore when you have a young child. Everything is as new to mom and dad as it is to their little one, so it’s an ongoing adventure for the whole family. No matter what that adventure looks like for you, it’s almost guaranteed that at some point, you’re going to have this parenting conundrum to deal with.
What are you supposed to say when your child looks at you with those innocent eyes and says, “How are babies made?”
It’s a perfectly natural question, and answering it doesn’t have to be as terrible or awkward as you think.
Option 1: Be as truthful as possible, but don’t provide all the details.
A child who’s old enough to ask how babies are made is probably old enough to process the vague explanation, but they certainly don’t need all the details. Tailor the answer to your child’s age. If they’re just a toddler, you can say, “When two people love each other very much, they decide to start a family together and then the baby grows in mommy’s tummy…” If your curious kid is a little bit older but you don’t want to get into a full-blown discussion about sex, maybe you could say something like, “Couples who love each other and want to start a family combine an egg from the mother and a seed from the father, and then the baby starts to grow…”
Of course, if your child wants more detail, you may have to go straight into Option 2.
Option 2: Tell the truth and then give “the talk.”
Only the parent can decide when it’s time to speak to their child directly about sex, but there are signs that’ll let you know it might be prudent. Kids pick up an awful lot from their peers, so if your kiddo asks how babies are made and you think they’re ready, go ahead and tell them. It might feel incredibly awkward but you want to try very hard not to come off that way, lest your child think it’s inappropriate to come to you with questions or seeking advice in the future. Employ visuals and diagrams online so that you can explain the basics in a succinct way, and encourage your child to come directly to you if they have any questions.
Option 3: Be indirect.
This approach works best for toddlers who ask the question, since although they’re curious, they’re also easy to distract and will soon be onto another topic of discussion. When they ask, “How are babies made?” ask them a question in return. “Where do you think they come from?” They’ll give you an answer and you can say something like, “Yes, that’s pretty close.” Think of it as a little white lie.
Option 4: Lie.
Straight up lying is almost never a good decision, but if your kid’s question catches you off guard or if you feel they’re just too young to hear the truth, you can tell them about the stork. Or tweak the story how you wish. If your child has had a religious upbringing, you can tell your them that “God brings the baby to the mommy and daddy,” so that way you don’t feel like you’re lying. Just know that if you decide to tell the stork story or some other fib, eventually you will have to correct your child’s understanding. Don’t wait too long.
Option 5: Dodge the question.
Of course, if you absolutely can’t bear to say anything on the subject just yet, there’s always the old standby, “I’ll tell you when you’re older.” Just be aware, though, every toddler and every kid knows how to use a smart phone or tablet, so they may go and search for the information on their own. Better it comes from you, so prepare yourself!
Answering the question “How are babies made?” doesn’t have to be a traumatic experience, but it is a coming of age moment for kids and parents alike. It’s up to you how you want to answer when your kiddo broaches the subject, but always be thoughtful in your response and encourage your child to come to you if they need help understanding.
SOURCES: Baby Center
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