I've been reading a lot of posts about children asking questions about sex, and their parents shying away from the topic. This post is partly for them, but I would also like to hear what you all think. If you have a minute and have something to say on the matter (doesn't matter if you're a parent or not), please leave your two cents' worth.
This is what I did when I felt the time was right:
Jack was three. I was pregnant with Marie, and we told him of my pregnancy around his third birthday. It didn't take him very long to ask exactly how this child got in there. I was PREPARED! Because I hadn't been sure how to explain all of this to a small child and exactly how much information I should share, I got myself a picture book to read with him. (I'm a bit of a coward, but at least I'm a well-informed and well-prepared coward.) I chose the Dutch version of Babette Cole's "Mummy Laid an Egg!". There are a lot of books with the express purpose of explaining procreation to very young children. They take all the scariness out. They're funny, not too graphic and don't even name names. (I named names, I'm not squeamish that way.)
When the question came, I sat him down, got the book out and we read it together. We laughed at the pictures and the preposterous suggestions ("some children are brought by a dinosaur"), and then he learned how babies are made. No one was embarrassed. The questions that came were so innocent, they were very easy to deal with. I was truthful, without giving too much information. There are things a three year old just isn't ready for. Then we read the book again. And again. And again. And then again an hour later. And again. And again the next day and again the next. Until he could tell me everything by himself and he was satisfied that he understood. And that's how he learned how babies are made. I shared this beautiful experience with him and I wouldn't have missed that for the world.
My children will learn about sex one way or another, and I would rather their first information came from me. I'm all about the mind control. I'd be worried about what exactly they would learn in the playground otherwise. There is so much misinformation out there, I want my children to be happy to come to me with questions. (My own mother wanted to talk about sex so much we had to beat her off with a stick, but now I see that she was right. About that at least.)
Please tell me how you (would) deal with this. I would love to know. Please say if you disagree as well, and why you would rather not tell children until they are older or even never. Perhaps your child was made another way. How do you deal with that information? I am rather fond of debate. I promise to respect all opinions.