How and When to Talk to Kids About Pregnancy
Whether you are pregnant or someone else your child knows is expecting, the time comes when kids start asking questions. With pregnancy the big question is HOW. Usually, if a child is ready to ask, they are ready to hear the answer. That said, little kids are sometimes satisfied with a very brief answer so give only the information they ask for. If they persist, continue, but if a child has left the topic alone, don't push more information than he's ready for.
How Did the Baby Get In There?
This one can be tough if you over think it. You may want to talk about love and God, but leave the seeds and eggs for a later conversation. A small child will usually accept that a baby gets into a mommy's tummy when she is ready to have a baby. Of course this will vary based on your family. I told my kids that after you get married and you're ready, God puts a baby in your belly. As your child grows and experiences the world, she'll start to question more.
One thing is easy to be clear about. Don't tell a child the baby is in your stomach. Explain that there is a special place in a woman's body just for growing a baby. The stomach is for digesting food. It's very confusing when kids think the baby is in there with the pizza and we don't want them thinking we ate our babies to get them in there!
How is the Baby Going To Get Out?
What you say will depend on the child's age and their understanding of their own private parts, but always tell the truth. If your child is still very young, you may want to say something like the baby is going to come out through a special tunnel in Mommy's body. But be careful, one question can lead to another so don't think you'll get off so easily. There's nothing wrong with naming body parts if the child is ready. If the child is ready, you can even watch television shows together about childbirth.
(I had two C-Sections so I dodged the bullet for a long time, but finally had to confess to my daughter that the baby comes out of a woman's vagina, which stretches so the baby can fit through. I only lied a little, when I said it didn't hurt!)
Remember you are laying the foundation for all those difficult talks to come. A lot of small talks along the way can pave the road for the big talks up ahead.
How Long Until the Baby Comes?
It's so hard for kids to grasp the length of time before a baby is due. You may want to wait until you are showing to let your small child know about the baby so she doesn't have to wait so long. But this can be near to impossible. We all want to share the good news. Telling a small child you are expecting a baby "next year" may be sufficient. You can use the times she asks about the baby to explain about the miracles of life and that each baby is so special that it takes a very long time to grow in Mommy's tummy.
Trust your maternal instincts and you'll find the right words at the right time!