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Where Do Babies Come From?
Q: My six-year-old just asked me where babies come from. When I told her that if a mommy and daddy really love each other, really want a baby, and are very lucky, the mommy gets pregnant. She replied, "I want to know how the baby gets into the mommy's tummy."
We went to the bookstore and library, and I was very disappointed with the selection of books on the topic for this age. Ultimately, I checked out a video entitled, "Where Did I Come From?" The video uses cartoon characters, but is very explicit. Is there anything else out there for this age? What do I say to my daughter?
A: It can be challenging to find books and videos that are appropriate for young children on this topic. There is a print version of "Where Did I Come From?" but you will find that it is similar to the video and you may feel that it is too much for your daughter. Check online at sites such as barnesandnoble.com; you may find a wider assortment of materials than are available in your local bookstore.
Young children don't want or need explicit details about how reproduction takes place. Usually a simple answer is sufficient: "Mommies have little cells already in their tummies that can grow into a baby. Daddies have little cells, too, and when mommies and daddies love each other and get really close the cells come together and a baby starts to grow." Your daughter will take only what she can absorb from this, and as she thinks about it and has other questions she will come back to you for more information.
Be sure that whatever you tell your daughter is honest and as accurate as possible. Parents who talk about storks and cabbage leaves create children who eventually realize that their parents lied to them. You want your daughter to have correct information, and you also want her to feel that she can come to you when she has questions and that you will be honest with her.
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Barbara Potts has worked as an elementary school counselor for many years. She has a BA in psychology from Wake Forest University, and an M.Ed. in Guidance and Counseling from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.