Cup of Jo has been running for 13 years (!), So we’ve decided to highlight one of the most popular entries from the past every now and then. Here’s one of our favorites that was originally released on January 26th, 2015.
The other day I was putting four year old Toby to bed when he turned to me and asked …
“When I grow up, will I not have a chin?”
At first I didn’t know what he was talking about, but then I realized that most of the men he knows have beards, so he thought his chin was going to go away. I explained to him that he could have a beard or no beard, and either way, he would still have a chin.
I thought my work was done there and was about to go into the living room to watch TV with Alex, but his follow-up question was …
“How did Anton get into your stomach?”
Big questions, Tobes!
When my sister and I were five and heard about the shocking mechanisms of baby-making on the school bus, we rushed home to ask my mom, and I remember sitting in our bedroom when she objectively told us how it was all worked, and a few days later we were all reading “Where am I from?” The book was good-natured and funny (“it feels like a sneeze!”), But now it feels a little dated.
So I was looking for a new book for Toby and here’s what I found …
The baby tree. I read this beautiful, charming book for Toby about a little boy whose parents reveal over breakfast that they are expecting another baby. The boy wonders where the baby will come from and asks his babysitter, teacher, postman and grandpa. They all give him different answers and when he finally asks his parents, they tell him directly and truthfully (and somewhat abstractly :). It’s really cute, and I love that the last page of the book covers more in-depth questions – about adoption, same-sex parents, etc.
For older children:
Age 4-8: It’s not the stork!
Age 7-10: It’s so amazing!
From 10 years: it is completely normal
These three books by Robie H. Harris and Michael Emberley are wonderful. They talk about the body, gender, childbirth, adoption, different types of families – and for teenagers, puberty, birth control, homosexuality, masturbation, as you call it. The books are very open and accept the children’s questions and feelings while they write in a warm, direct tone.
Pamela Druckerman wrote an essay for the New York Times on the inspiring Dutch approach to teaching children to have sex:
Apparently the Dutch are at the forefront of sex education and have little problem addressing the issue. Parents in the Netherlands have had many casual, age-appropriate conversations about sex with their children over many years, starting with young children. Compulsory sex education begins in elementary school and includes lessons on respecting people who are transgender, bisexual, or gay.
“If we start sex education when children are teenagers, or just before they become interested in sexuality, I think that you are too late,” says psychologist Sanderijn van der Doef. “As soon as children have questions, they have questions, they have the interest, and then they have the right to get a correct answer. “
Dr. Van der Doef says parents should provide simple, clear answers. When the child has more questions, they will ask. Once he is 3 or 4 years old, “you can explain in a very simple way that mom has a small egg in her belly, dad has very small sperm in his body and when the sperm meets the egg a baby grows into the belly mother. “Three-year-olds rarely ask how sperm and egg meet. If they do,” you have a very smart child at that age, and that means the child must have an answer, “she adds.
What about you? Did your little boys ask where the babies are from? What did you tell them How did your parents tell you? I would like to hear …
PS How to get your kids to talk and chat with a four year old over dinner.
(Illustrations by Sophie Blackall for The Baby Tree)