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How much do you tell a 6yr old about the birds and the bees?

(13 Posts)
Lillyofthevalley Sun 29-May-11 23:05:43

As per title really. Caught on the hop today by DS just as we were getting ready to go out. 'Mummy, can you have another baby', 'no darling', 'Mummy, where do babies come from?'
Ashamed to say I told him I would explain when he is older but repeating the incident at the BBQ this afternoon I was frowned upon as 'he's obviously ready to know so you should tell him' (by the person who also frowned on me for allowing my DS to know that there are same sex relationships confused)

So, I know this question is going to come up again and don't want to fob him off with 'babies are found under the gooseberry bush' - but how much info is age appropriate?

He already knows babies are made in Mummy's tummies, (as he asked me if I had one in my tummy once, 'no darling, I don't' 'Why are you fat then Mum?' - charming blush)

He's now obviously wanting to know how they are made etc and I am totally stumped on what to say.

Carrotsandcelery Sun 29-May-11 23:12:10

I tell mine the exact answer to their question, no more, no less. I tell them the truth though, I just don't elaborate with any more detail than they ask.

DD (10) knows most of it now. Ds (6) has a smattering.

I make sure I don't show any embarrassment at all and keep it very casual.

Lillyofthevalley Sun 29-May-11 23:16:44

When you say 'smattering' how much are we talking about exactly?

LawrieMarlow Sun 29-May-11 23:23:07

DS is 7 and DD is 5 and they both know that to make a baby you need a sperm and an egg. They know that DD has eggs inside her and that when he is bigger, DS will make sperm. They know that sperm come out of willies and that for the sperm and egg to meet, that a man needs to put his willy inside a woman's vagina. They both find this idea v weird, but seem to accept that grown ups do some weird things grin.

They know that a woman's body builds up blood inside her womb each month to prepare for a baby being there and if there isn't, it will come out as a period. As I have a mirena coil and don't have any periods, I am sadly no use as a practical demonstration here. They know that DD will grow breasts and have periods when she is older and that DS's voice will get deeper, he will either need to shave or have a beard and that they will get hair around their willy/bits depending on which they are.

I haven't talked to them about sex being a pleasurable activity - I am not sure when and how to approach that but I am sure I will manage when the time seems right.

I have been explaining things for several years now rather than a one-off approach which seems to work for us

Portofino Sun 29-May-11 23:23:52

I got the book "How did I begin" from Amazon when dd was 5/6, You have to remember it is not embarrassing for them at that age, they just want the facts. If they ask, tell them. Use simple language but tell them. It is just biology after all.

Carrotsandcelery Sun 29-May-11 23:30:08

Ds knows most of what Lawrie has said. I am not sure how much he has understood that the willy goes inside to leave the seed. He knows he has seed sacks (testicles) where he will make the seeds that will go with the egg in the woman and grow into a baby.

He doesn't realise it is pleasurable, as Lawrie says, as he hasn't asked about that yet.

Don't assume that once you have told them it has all gone in. They revisit it at odd moments and ask questions that make it clear they haven't "got" all of it. I explain again and over time their understanding builds.

They generally follow me into the bathroom so know about periods and how I deal with them etc. I have never hidden it or shown any shame. I just treat it as a part of life, like cleaning your teeth.

I am hopeful that they will not be confused when they are older and will feel they can ask me anything about it too. Fingers crossed.

APieOfButter Sun 29-May-11 23:43:53

I ended up having a convesation with 4yo DD1 tonight (at bathtime, key point for embarrasing questions I find). She pointed out her nipples, and DD2s, and then asked when she will grow "fat boobies" to feed babies, then where babies grow, so I told her they will grow in her womb, and told her the vague area where it is, then we moved on to how poo is made hmm

She already knows that she has eggs inside her, and when she is a grown woman she might decide to mix it with a mans seeds to make a baby, which she will grow in her belly, and that you don't need to be married, or even have a boyfriend, but most people think it is a good idea, and that sometimes women who love other women ask a friendly man to give them some of his seed. (I have a very inqusitive 4yo, and an 18mo DD2, and me and Dh got married after both of them were born, meaning these questions do come up)

She has also asked why boys have what she calls a "straight bum", I have corrected her that it is a willy, and we have talked about why she has to wipe after a wee, but boys don't (due to her granda telling her that wiping after a wee isn't needed, I suspect because he only had boys) We have also talked about how she was trying to come out between my legs, but got stuck, so the doctors cut a hole in my belly to get her out. I'm, to my shame, avoiding the question of what her visable parts are called. I'd hope I would say labia and vagina, but for some reason my policy of honesty is having a problem with that.

Wow, I've never listed it like that - she knows more than I did at 10 years old! I think it is down to me being far too chatty, and her being far too nosy...

sprinkles77 Sun 29-May-11 23:59:51

my parents got a cartoon video called "where did I come from?". I watched it with my brother, then 5 and both parents. I was 7. I seem to remember it was quite humorous, and made sex look like quite good fun but a bit silly. Of course I already knew about it cos some other kid had told me in the play ground. I then went and told my cousins, who were 5 and 3, who thought I was making it all up, and told their mother. Who said I was talking rubbish!

Lillyofthevalley Mon 30-May-11 12:25:07

Thanks for all the replies - certainly alot of food for thought. I must admit I am surprised how much children know at such a young age, certainly the bit about putting the willy in the vagina I would have thought was tmi for a 6yr old or younger, but what do I know? Otherwise I would not be asking would I!

Actually reading your replies has filled me with fear when the question next arises. Unfortunately I grew up with a Mother who was only too happy to talk about the birds and the bees in such a way that I totally shrunk away from it and refused to discuss it with her in any way or form. Its a bloody miracle how I ever managed to meet DH and have our DS to be honest!

Obviously DS needs to be informed correctly and not hearsay from the playground so have ordered 'How did I begin' from Amazon, (although out of stock at the moment). Told DH what I had done, he was not impressed as he thinks DS is too young too know too much info about it all - but at least I will have the book when we feel DS is ready.

One question though, those of you who have explained to your dc, do you feel they have lost their innocence a little? Not sure if I have phased that right or if its a silly question but hope you know what I mean?

APieOfButter Mon 30-May-11 15:02:28

I think I get what you mean, and I am a bit strict with my two about them doing things like wearing makeup/heels/inappropiate clothing and watching music videos and so on, making sure that they know that breasts are for feeding babies, etc. In a way, I think that being totally honest with them lets them keep thier innocence longer - innocence isn't the same as ignorance, and teaching about reproduction etc in the same way I teach them about digestion seems to work well. Of course we talk about emotions too, but while we have told them that most people chose to have children with someone they love, sometimes it happens by accident, and they love the child just the same.

I just don't want sex and thier own bodies to be scary or something to be whispered about in playgrounds - I would rather I was the one to introduce a healthy attitude to it all. Children will see things they want to know about - for example this morning DD1 was watching DH shave, and was asking why I don't shave my face but sometimes shave my legs, so we had a little chat about some of the differences between men and women and how she will grow up to be a woman, and she might like to shave her legs when they start growing hair, or she might not, it will be up to her. To me, it's all the same kind of thing.

Saying that, I do think there is a place for sex and relationship education at school or another formal setting before puberty (and a good reference book being availiable in the house) as sometimes the scattergun approach can unintentionally leave blank spots.

I have had to tell her not to dance around shouting "look at my boobies!", and not to come into the bathroom just to see me weeing (she thinks it's funny), so I don't pretend to have the answers smile

I'm presuming he has seen his parents naked, maybe other children, so he will have noticed differences between boys and girls and men and women, so it will probably follow on that he will start to ask why the differences are there. Just answer what he asks (although I tend to do that, then start rabbitting on about the patriarchy or somesuch and the kids wander off...)

Carrotsandcelery Mon 30-May-11 15:07:06

It doesn't interfere with their innocence at all Lilly - I would steer clear of the book btw. I would only answer exactly what they ask, no more! They ask when they are ready to know.

In some ways I think it retains some innocence as they ask you rather than their peers, where they would get all sorts of sordid and mixed up stories, especially from those with older siblings.

It is not the same as foisting the info upon them as your mother may have done - it is just answering them honestly when they ask.

My dcs are painfully innocent, even dd at 10, so you should be fine.

motherinferior Mon 30-May-11 15:13:44

Nope, no loss of innocence at all.

Lillyofthevalley Mon 30-May-11 19:17:59

Thanks again for the replies. carrot the word foisting is exactly the right word for how I was 'educated' about sex by my Mother - the thought that she now knows that I am no longer a virgin makes me cringe!

Certainly don't want my own ds to feel the same way about it all.

What complicates my mind further is that I have two dsd's who are being brought up in a way which I do not agree with. This makes me go the opposite way with my ds, perhaps too much so. I really need to loosen up! Just feel that they knew too much at too young an age and they certainly lost that innocent look about them.

I do not want this for my ds obviously, I want him to have a happy carefree childhood - hence the question re innocence.

I shant cancel the book but will look at it carefully and perhaps take ideas from it about how to put things in a way which is appropriate for a 6yr old and as some have said just address the question asked rather then going into it all.
Thanks again x

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