I am in the late stages of pregnancy and would like to know the best way to explain the birthing process – honestly but tastefully – to our preschool-age child. Any suggestions?
When discussing human sexuality with children, the best approach is to give them just enough information to provide satisfactory answers to their questions. Avoid going into so much detail that their little minds are overwhelmed. The challenge here is to be frank, straightforward, and genuinely helpful while keeping the discussion well within the parameters of age-appropriate language and concepts. You know your own child best, and as a result you will understand most clearly how to accomplish this in your particular family setting.
When talking about the birthing process with preschoolers, a major issue of concern is likely to be, “How is that baby going to get out of mommy’s tummy?” One four-year-old boy of our acquaintance was extremely worried that the new baby was going to leave a “big hole” in his mother’s abdomen. If you’re faced with a question of this kind, you can simply say that there is a part of mommy’s body between her legs that God made very special. He designed her body so that when the baby is ready to be born, that special part opens up real wide – wide enough for the baby to come out. Then, after the baby is born, that part of the body goes back to the way it was before. Most children at this age will have no trouble accepting this explanation at face value.
While we believe in keeping your language simple when discussing subjects like sex and birth with small children, we are also firm advocates of using medically accurate names for body parts, including the sexual organs. Many pediatricians agree with this approach. You will have to determine for yourself at what precise point you want to introduce these terms to your child. But we would strongly caution you against using slang words or “cute” names for private parts. That can cause kids unnecessary confusion and may even become a cause of embarrassment later on in life.
If you have additional questions, feel free to contact us.
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