How to Talk With Your Kids ... Questions about Sex
By Carol Hildebrand

You spend Thanksgiving with your sister, who is expecting a baby. On the way home, your daughter pipes up from the back seat: “Daddy, how did the baby get into Aunt Amy’s tummy?”

A typical response: Much hemming and hawing, with vague asides about Mommy and Daddy loving each other very much and having special time together. Your kid ends up learning that babies make people act funny.

A more helpful response: “That is a fabulous question! Are you wondering how it got in there or where it is in her body?”

Assuming the latter, give digestible snippets of information: “The first thing you should know is that the baby is not growing in her tummy. The only thing that goes into tummies is food or liquid or medicine. The baby is in a special place in a woman’s body called a womb or a uterus. The womb stretches and stretches as the baby grows and that’s the big bump you see on pregnant women.”

Pause and wait to see what comes next. That may actually be enough, says Braun, but if your child wants to know how the baby got into the womb, she suggests something like this: “Okay. Any animal or person starts with a part from a grown-up woman and a grown-up man. The woman’s part is the ovum, or egg, and the man’s part is the sperm or seed.” If you have a pencil and paper handy, you can illustrate with a dot for the ovum and a dot with a tail for the sperm. “The sperm swims to meet the egg and fertilizes it, and it starts to grow in the woman’s womb.”

The conversation may keep moving, or it may be enough to satisfy your child’s curiosity. The key is to give the information in small pieces, and keep it calm and matter of fact.

Find basic tactics for solid communication when dealing with young children in How to Talk With Your Kids ... About Anything

For more real life, familiar situations, see:

Rudeness in Public

Sibling Bickering

Fear of Natural Disasters