Thursday, February 6, 2014
How did the baby get in there?
There are two parts to answering the question of HOW the baby got started. We'll start with part 1. When a child asks, "how did the baby get in there," you don't have to begin with a dicsussion about sex. Refer to the "Line upon Line" post. Children need small chunks of information at a time. Each new piece of information is connected to previous information and builds upon it. So, your child should already know names of body parts, how a baby grows in the uterus, what it does in the uterus, and how it is born. Your new piece of information is how the baby got started, with a sperm and egg. This series of discussions ( I say series because you can't teach something once and expect them to remember it!) should occur between the ages of 5-7.
Here is what my discussion with my 7-year-old son looked like:
Mom: Can you tell me what you remember about how a baby grows and what it does in the uterus.
K: Well, it starts small, like a sunflower seed. I used to be that small! I was teeny weeny. And then, it eats and sleeps like I do so it can grow bigger until it's ready to come out.
Mom: Yes. Do you remember how the baby eats?
K: There's something like a cord that gives it food mashed up from you.
Mom: Yes. It's the umbilical cord that brings the baby special food made from what mommy eats.
K: Yeah. The umbilical cord.
Mom: Do you remember how the baby is born?
K: Mom has to push it out the birth canal. What the other word; I can't remember it?
K: Oh yeah, the vagina, and the doctor helps catch the baby.
Mom: Do you want to know how the baby got started?
K: Oh yeah! How does it get started? (He had not asked this question; it just felt like the right time to bring it up with him).
Mom: Well, moms have a piece to get a baby started and dads have a piece. That's why we have a mommy and daddy. They each have a piece that starts a baby.
Mom: Moms have something called an egg, and dads have something called a sperm. They are like little tiny cells (explain very simply what cells are if your child doesn't know). When the sperm and the egg meet, they start a baby. They are very tiny pieces that are smaller than a sunflower seed and that's how a baby gets started.
Mom: Do you have any questions?
Note: I used "What to Expect When Mommy's Having a Baby" to review and introduce the topic to him during this discussion.
Then, a couple days later, I asked him to explain what he remembered about how a baby gets started and grows. He remembered a lot of the process, but didn't remember names of new parts, like sperm. We were able to review the process a couple times before I felt like he understood and could remember the names and process. This understanding was very important because my husband and I were trying to lay the groundwork for explaining sex a few months later, which is Part 2..........coming in the next week.......