Before I had kids, I would have said… you don’t.
But then my four-year-old son started asking about whence his younger brother (and now a younger sister) came.
My wife, good science student that she is, opted for the straight-up biological explanation: There is an egg, it gets fertilized, baby grows inside mommy, baby comes out.
That held him for a little while. But then today, this conversation ensued:
4.5-year-old son: Daddy, how did you fertilize the egg?
Me (stammering): Uh… egg?
He: Yeah, how did you fertilize mommy’s egg?
Me: Well, there’s just a special way that mommy and daddy show love to each other that makes that happen.
He: Can I watch?
Me: No, it’s private.
He: Then can I watch from the wall?
That’s as far as I’m willing to go in explaining sex to a kid that young… on the one hand, I want him to hear it from me before he hears heaven-knows-what descriptions from his peers when he starts going to school all day. On the other hand, I’m not sure he’d be able to handle all the details (or that it’s appropriate to share them at this point). I can see him sharing his newfound knowledge with someone else at an inopportune time.
So parenting pros (or even parenting novices)… how do you talk to your kids about sex? How much do you say and when?