How to Explain The Birds and Bees to Kids?

Ever been asked any of these questions?

I sure have and definitely when I least expected it!! 🤪

Before I give you a script about a way to answer them without choking on your sandwich there are a few important things to note:

  • It’s not easy, so feeling shocked is okay; give yourself a break.
  • It’s alright to postpone answering; promise to discuss later, commit to it and make it happen.
  • Adjust the conversation based on age.
  • It’s more than just sex; kids may not want those details.
  • One talk isn’t enough!
  • Discussions won’t ruin innocence.
  • It can be a positive topic.
  • It’s important to explain different ways babies are made.
  • There’s no perfect time; just start now.
  • Curiosity is natural; encourage questions.
  • You want to be their main source of information, not the internet or their friends.
  • Ignoring creates taboo and stigma.
  • Discuss facts and family values.
  • Be truthful instead of telling stories.
  • It’s okay to make mistakes; you don’t need a perfect answer.

I wrote a blog about what stops us from talking to our children about tough topics: What stops us from talking to our kids about tough topics.

 

Here is a possible way that you can answer when your pre-teen asks you :

How are babies made?

You could say that making a baby takes an egg and a sperm joining together, but this explanation might be too basic for some children. You also need to mention that there are different ways that babies can be made just like different ways families are brought together -like being fostered or adopted, or step-parents, or two dads or two mums. ‘Thanks for asking, what do you know already?’. The first way that babies can be made is called sex. When people have sex. They might start hugging and kissing and then take their clothes off because it makes them both feel nice and close. Because they both get really nice feelings, the penis gets hard and stiff, and the vagina gets ready to accept the penis by getting slippery and because of that, the penis can then gently slide into the vagina. The nice feelings then get stronger which makes the sperm swim from the testicles, up the sperm tubes and while they are swimming, they mix with the sticky stuff called semen. Then they swim out of the end of the penis and into the vagina and the race is on. Into the uterus and the fallopian tubes. What do you think that those sperm are looking for? An egg? If there is an egg there and if the sperm and the egg join together a baby starts growing. This is called conception or fertilisation. There can be over 6 million sperm but only one winner and that winner was you. 

How to explain assisted pregnancy.

Another amazing way that you might have been made is called IVF. The technical word for this is invitro-fertilisation. Because sometimes, people need support to get pregnant. They might be a single person or two mums or two dads or a mum and dad. The IVF doctor will take some eggs from mum or another person this is called a donour egg, some sperm from dad or another person this is called a donour sperm and join the egg and sperm together under a microscope and then put one or more fertilised eggs back into a uterus. Sometimes the doctor might put the sperm directly inside the uterus and the sperm and egg will meet that way. However you were made is incredible when you think about it!

How to explain assisted surrogacy.

Sometimes a person can’t hold or wants or needs somebody else to hold and grow a baby in their uterus, so this person does it for them. This is called surrogacy

Final words

No matter how you may be feeling about talking about talking with your child about how babies are made it’s important that you have ongoing conversations.

It’s a tough gig being a parent but as I say every day to the parents and caregivers that I meet; …’You are the parent and you have far more influence on your child’s sex education than anyone else. You’ve got this!

I wrote lots of blogs here about how to answer tough questions that your child asks you. Find the blogs here.

Related parenting books about sex and reproduction:

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Rowena

The facilitator of ‘Amazing Me’, Rowena is a primary trained school teacher, with more than 30 years of experience in sexuality education and a mum of three adult children.

Rowena understands the many complexities and challenges at different stages in a child’s life when talking about tough topics like sex and puberty.

She is passionate about what she does with the goal that open and positive conversations will be started and continued, that puberty is ‘normalised’, relationships enriched and strengthened and as a result, wise choices are made in the future.