Birds Bees BabiesWhere Do Babies Come From?

can be one of the most uncomfortable questions ever asked by a child!

Is your young child asking where babies come from?  Sometimes "the stork" is the right answer!




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By: J.L. Sweat

It seems that the Chinese have decided that it is important for young children have sex education in their schools. So important in fact, that they have created a text book for first graders and second graders which discusses and depicts body parts and sex organs. The book was created in response to an alleged failure by parents to discuss the “where do I come from” question with children. It seems that answering the where do babies come from question is universal.

Check out the book below and see for yourself…

Sex-ed book for early grades By Liang Yiwen Shanghai Daily

J.L. Sweat is the author of Birds, Bees, Babies. Birds, Bees, Babies is a non-biological children’s book that tells the story of the Birds & the Bees.

J.L. Sweat reading Birds Bees Babies

Are you worried that your child is too young to learn where babies come from? Most Parents have serious reservations about discussing the birds and the bees with young children. Here are six things you should consider in your calculus:

1) Children will wonder about the birds and the bees very early..

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children should be introduced to body parts as young as 18 months old.  By 4-5 years old, Parents should already be formulating a plan to discuss where babies come from. At 4-5, children may even express curiosity about sexual organs.  According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, these are not adult sexual curiosities but rather, signs of normal interest.  They point out that between 5-7 years of age, children may make up their own answers about where babies come from and may even turn to their friends for answers.

American Academy of Pediatrics.

2) If Parents don’t establish themselves as resources, children will ask elsewhere..

When children ask their Parents where babies come from and they are given the run around and/or told to ask another Parent, they learn not to go to their Parents for answers to those questions.  Once a child establishes that his or her Parents will not provide this information to him/her, the child will look to other sources.  These sources may include, siblings, peers, and/or classmates.  The child may even attempt to consult books, the internet and other media.  The fact is, once a child is curious, that curiousity will grow until it finds answers.


Children’s Hospital Boston

3) A Parent should take control of the Birds and Bees question before someone else does…

Waiting until your child asks where babies come from may be a mistake!  By the time a child is asking, the child has probably already been exposed to many potential answers and is already formulating his or her perceptions regarding the matter.  Between television, school, and the playground, there are plenty of opportunities for a child to be exposed to these concepts.  Just because the child is not talking to you about them, does not mean he or she is not wondering.  It is arguably better to be a tour guide and help them through this time rather than waiting around for a child to ask uncomfortable questions.

Source: Planned Parenthood of Indiana – Parent Education Packet

4) The initial answer to where babies come from does not have to be biological.

The “Santa Claus” method of discussing things with small children often postpones bigger conversations and can be very effective.  Providing children with a non-biological answer is sometimes a better way to deal with discussions of where babies come from.  While this writer may be biased as I have written a book that gives a non-biological story about the birds and the bees, it is important for parents to at least consider postponing potentially overwhelming biological discussions until a child is older.  Birds, Bees, Babies tells children that babies are made by the birds and the bees and that they use frogs, snails and puppy dog tails to make boys and sugar and some spice and some things that are nice to make boys.  It is a picture book and rhymes.  There are other such books and approaches and folk tales that may be fun for a family to use to start these discussions.  The fact that a discussion occurs is important and is often a healthy start, irrespective of the content of the discussion.  Making a child comfortable having these discussions with a parent is the goal.


Birds, Bees, Babies by J.L. Sweat

5) If your child has certain disabilities, it may be even more important to address certain issues and set boundaries for the child’s protection.

Discussing “private parts” and why they would be off limits to others is something all parents want to consider.  There are many different ways to handle these conversations.  If your child is disabled, there might be even more reason to make sure that the child understands that adults and other children should not be touching certain parts of their bodies and that they should communicate with parents if such is occurring. One of the most important goals is to provide kids with the ability to communicate and act responsibly.  The ability to communicate certain discomfort may be enhanced if parents work to ensure that children have a forum for communication and feel comfortable doing so.

Source: Disaboom
See Also: Ultimate Guide to Sex and Disability by Kaufman, Silverberg, and Odette

6) If you decide to engage in biological discussions of the birds and the bees or sex with young children, make sure you are fully prepared to explain things.

Once you have the chat about sex with your child, you have to make sure that your child sees you as an authority.  If you make the conversation uncomfortable, it will create a disincentive to talking to you about the birds and the bees.  Get materials, charts and pictures if necessary.  Read about what is appropriate for your child’s age group.  Rather than forced discussions, plan activities, movies or even television programs that will provide more natural segways into a discussion.    Further, you may create new external dynamics as your child may decide to share this newly acquired information with other parents.  If possible, discuss the fact that you will be having these conversations with the Parents of playmates so that they are not taken by surprise when this new serious information set hits the playground and social group.


U.S. Sex Information and Education Council

See Also SexEdLibrary

J.L. Sweat is the author of Birds, Bees, Babies, a non-biological children’s book about the birds and the bees that provides a “Santa Claus” approach to telling children where babies come from.

The Birds & The Bees: 5 Answers For Curious Children

Many parents dread the day when a child is old enough to ask where babies come from. The answers can range dramatically, from biological to silly catch phrases and song lyrics. Here are 5 answers that may help:

1) The Biological Approach

The biological answer can vary as can the corresponding methods of explaining to a child where babies come from. Some people get diagrams. There are stories where some kids have been traumatized by a big book full of diagrams and pictures of things that a child was not ready to see yet. The older the child is when the question is asked, the better this approach may work. However, the younger the child, the less likely the child is to understand or grasp the concepts being conveyed. Remember, there is a huge difference between understanding and repeating what has been told to a child. The biological approach deals with sex as well and at the very least, prepares a child for discussions about sex and sexuality.

2) The Semi-Biological Approach

This approach works best for a child who is a little older, but not old enough to discuss sex. This approach takes into account the fact that a child may be too young to discuss or inquire about sex and that a child may still be in an innocent phase. This approach is also a good approach to take when the question is tainted by a friend or playmate who is either asking such questions or repeating random information he or she has picked up somewhere. The basic premise of the semi-biological approach is to state that there are males and females and that they are different and explain how. The child can then be told that women have babies and that they are in the belly, that it takes about 9 months for a baby to grow and for a women to give birth, etc. The semi-biological approach is designed to give information yet evade the details about how a woman gets pregnant. This is accomplished by giving out a great deal of information about what happens after the woman gets pregnant, overloading the child with information and if executed correctly, leading the child to believe he or she knows where babies come from. It is a bait and switch of sorts.

3) Avoidance/Postponing the Inevitable

This method is arguably the worse of them all. Basically, it entails avoiding the question posed by a child altogether. The other approach is to tell the child that you will explain it to him or her. It is never a good idea to allow an inquisitive child to go unguided into this area as there will always be some adult or child in his or her life willing to give an answer. It is better to take control of the question and this learning opportunity, irrespective of how young the child is. Doing so sets a precedent and is often the start of important communication between a child and his or her parents in this area. It is always good to let a child know that he or she can ask these questions of a parent without penalty or ridicule. The last thing a parent wants to do in this situation is leave a child to his or her own devices or playmates when discussing where babies come from.

4) Random Song lyrics and Loose Concepts

This approach follows the avoidance approach very closely. It is actually the method many people use, not because it is a good method, but because it has been repeated for years. They tell children half stories about all sorts of things including swallowing seeds and the birds and bees. The problem with this method is, it confuses children more. The biggest reason for the confusion comes from the method in which these loose concepts are told. They are left dangling, with no connection and no story to tie them together. Because of this, children are forced to either make up the missing pieces or even worse, to ask their friends and playmates. For this reason, this method is not as effective and can actually lead to the introduction and spread of misinformation.

5) Birds, Bees, Babies: The Santa Claus Approach

Disclaimer: I wrote a book about the Birds and the Bees called Birds, Bees, Babies. My personal bias aside, this approach is a good one for situations in which a child is too young to understand biological concepts and in which a child wants to avoid topics concerning sex, sexuality and other sensitive concepts. This approach is best referred to as the Santa Claus approach because it is exactly what many families do around Christmas, they tell a child that a big fat man is going to come down a chimney and bring gifts. This is not lying to a child, it is a way of teaching concepts and is very entertaining for the child if done right. It is that premise which was behind the writing of Birds, Bees, Babies. There were so many loose concepts being put forth that were never connected coherently with an entertaining story. The book follows a young girl who is being taunted by a playmate because she does not know where babies come from. Her father eventually tells her a story about a woman who wanted to have a baby and how a friendly bird heard her talking and convinces the Birds and Bees to made the baby. There is even a stork. The Santa Claus method is effective on young children because it gives them an answer and gives them closure. Sometimes a non biological approach will help a parent postpone the discussion of complex and sensitive topics.

Whatever approach you take, GOOD LUCK!!