Children can start to ask about sex and babies at any time. Knowing when to start having those discussions and what to say can be very intimidating. How much information do you give? Do you only answer what was asked or should you offer more information? How do you explain mature concepts to a child? How much is too much? Not enough?
Each parent need to decide these answers for themselves. Be honest and factual and be prepared for many little conversations rather than a single big one. This not only takes the pressure off the parents to have the perfect answers, it allows both the children and parents time to digest the information.
There are many books available that can help broach the subject and help to illustrate the biology of puberty and sex. These three titles offer varying degrees of detail and illustrations
by Cory Silverberg"A Truly Inclusive Way to Answer the Question ''Where Do Babies Come From?'': The new book What Makes a Baby offers an origin story for all children, no matter what their families look like." -The Atlantic
Geared to readers from preschool to age eight, What Makes a Baby is a twenty-first century children's picture book about conception, gestation, and birth. It illustrates a variety of family compositions without being specific about gender people or body parts, so most parents and families will find that it can reflect their own experiences.
Where Willy Went
by Nicholas Allan
Willy is a little sperm who lives inside Mr. Browne with 300 million friends. Every day Willy practices for the Great Swimming Race. And when the day arrives, he swims faster than his 300 million friends to win the prize—a marvelous egg. Then something wonderful happens, and eventually Mr. and Mrs. Browne have a baby girl who has the same winning smile as Willy and who grows up to be a great swimmer. The cartoon illustrations explain how babies are made without being terribly specific about the act of sex. I like that it introduces the concept of genetics.
It's So Amazing!
by Robie H. Harris
This book was created in response to repeated requests from parents, teachers, librarians, and health professionals for an up-to-date book about sex and sexuality for young children. Using language that kids will understand, it covers many subjects related to reproduction. I liked that it covered so many situations, from natural conception to doctor-aided pregnancies, and included a variety of family situations. Some readers may be uncomfortable with some of these topics, such as briefly discussing abortion, Aids/HIV and masturbation, but I found it very easy to use the sections somewhat independently from others. This is a resource that adults can come back t again and again as new questions arise from children. The information is straightforward and factual (no storks here), however I recommend reading ahead so that you are familiar with both the text and the pictures and can then decide what is appropriate for your child.