It’s the question parents everywhere dread: “How are babies made?” It’s also a question that’s resulted in many myths and legends (we all know the one about the stork), and it’s one that has left many a parent tongue-tied. But this question will get asked, and however uncomfortable it makes you, it’s best to be honest in terms your toddler can understand. Try not to avoid questions about sex as this can lead to misunderstandings. Instead, parents should tackle curious minds head on, while keeping their answers age appropriate.

How to deal with pregnancy questions

During the preschool years, and from the ages of four to six, your child will probably start wondering where babies come from. They will also start to touch their own genitals as they begin to learn about sex, gender and toilet training. This is completely normal.
When toddlers and children ask about pregnancy, you should try to explain the basics. Go for a simple, truthful answer such as: “Babies grow from an egg inside the woman and then come out through the vagina.”
You don’t need to go into the details about intercourse, because at this age children won’t grasp the concept. Instead, you can explain that a man’s sperm joins a woman’s egg and then grows into a baby.

How to deal with sex questions

It’s time to burst a bubble; the big birds and bees talk is dead. Nowadays kids pick up bits and pieces from friends, family, pop-culture and books. What follows is more of a gradual process as your child’s understanding of the world around them changes.
When faced with a question about sex, it can help to ask your child what they think happens first. This will help you gauge what they already know, and the level of detail you need to give them. As we’ve already discussed, toddlers and children only need a surface level understanding. But as a child ages their knowledge gaps need a bit more help. Asking them what they know first will help you fill in these gaps.

A question of timing

Be on the lookout for opportunities when discussing sex and pregnancy. For example, you could discuss genitals at bath time, or explain the basics of pregnancy when someone you know is pregnant. This will help your child grasp the concepts more easily and relate them to their own life. This ultimately will foster a healthy attitude towards sex and pregnancy, and it will also signal to your child that they can discuss anything with you. If in doubt when faced with difficult questions, always be honest and answer the question in a simple, straightforward manner and in terms your child will understand.