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Teaching your kids about the birds and the bees

Teaching a young child about the birds and the bees (where babies come from) is not something most parents look forward to. But it’s a talk you need to have to ensure your child gets the right information and understanding of the subject.

Woman talking to her daughter about sex

There will come a time when you need to teach your kids about the birds and the bees. There is no exact age — it’ll vary from child to child, depending on their maturity and curiosity — but once they start asking questions like “Where do babies come from?” you know it’s time to have this talk about sex. After all, if you don’t teach them about sex, then they’re still going to get that information somewhere else, somehow. Better that they get the right information from you! But how detailed do you get — and how do you even start? Here are some words of advice to help you get through this lesson.

Be collected and calm

You may be nervous and even stressed talking to your kids about sex, but do your best to hide your anxiety and present yourself as cool, calm and collected. Your child will be able to pick up cues such as your language and tone of voice, and if you come across as frazzled and uptight, they’ll relate the notion of the birds and the bees with anxiety.

Be honest

Parents used to get away with telling kids that the stork brought the baby, but such myths only lead to confusion. It’s more advisable to be honest, to an appropriate degree. With kids under the age of five or six, you need not draw a diagram of female and male anatomy with sketches of how sexual intercourse happens. The key is to be upfront and yet still abstract. So, for example, if you’re explaining a current pregnancy, consider saying that the baby in your belly (at this age, you don’t have to clarify that the baby is not technically from the stomach) got there with some help from their father, and that your love for each other has produced the baby that is growing inside of you.

Be prepared

Have some examples from movies or television shows that might help put this abstract concept into perspective for your child; in fact, the storyline from a movie might be the opening into the conversation about the birds and the bees. Also, seek out books from the library or bookstore and brochures from your doctor or clinic to have on hand and ready for them; this might help clarify things for your little one and help further the conversation on another day.

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