Skip to main content

NewFolks may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.

Talking to your kids about how babies are made – making it simple and comfortable

Tips on "the talk" with children

Talking to kids about how babies are made can sound very uncomfortable — the talk many parents dread. But if you make it a lifelong, science-based conversation, answering their questions along the way, it doesn’t have to be so bad. Here’s how to talk to your kids so you’re not left scrambling when they’re already hitting puberty.

Mom and preschooler talking on a couch

Age-appropriate sex ed

There’s no need to tell young children about sex to find age-appropriate explanations while talking to kids about how babies are made. There is no shame or lewdness in talking about science, biology, and bodies. Only adult minds put sexuality into these discussions, but we can talk openly about these issues with children without ever mentioning sex.

To not be taboo, start talking to kids early about how babies are made. If you mention how a sperm and an egg make a baby starting in toddlerhood, it will be a non-issue their whole life and not a big to-do later on. Sperm and egg (not how they meet) are just parts of our bodies and can meet via IVF and other methods. The book What Makes a Baby is a wonderful primer for young children about how sperm and egg meet and then grow in a uterus. It never mentions how the sperm and egg get together.

Mother talking with young son in living room

Only answer what they ask

If a child asks where a baby comes from, only answer exactly that. A baby comes from a uterus. They might not have meant how the baby was made, just where it literally comes from (where it came out of). Listen carefully to the question and ask a clarifying question about what they mean with their question before answering. Treat questions about baby making like any other, without making it a big deal. The same goes for talking to kids about puberty.

Be inclusive and clear with your answers. Who makes a baby? Adults. It’s not “a mommy and a daddy” because for those who adopt, the birth parents, not the parents, make the baby. And in same-sex families, it would be two mommies or two daddies, or a single mother by choice could use IVF to make a baby alone. Sex ed answers should be short and broad.

How do they make a baby together? They put an egg and a sperm together. You don’t need to talk about how the egg and sperm meet, just keep it to the science only. The egg and sperm make an embryo and that grows in a uterus.

If a child is asking the question, they are ready for the answer. It means they are already thinking about the topic and are curious about the answer and will seek out the answer elsewhere if you don’t answer it, and they could get misinformation from peers or online. It’s best to answer it directly, even if it feels uncomfortable. If they ask what sex is, don’t dodge it, because it means they are hearing about it or wondering about it and will be asking somewhere else, and this is your chance to have input on their conceptualization.

Talking to kids about how babies are made and talking to kids about puberty is the same as talking to them about any other topic — it’s an ongoing conversation for the entire time you’re raising them by answering their questions as best you can.

Editors' Recommendations

Sarah Prager
Sarah is a writer and mom who lives in Massachusetts. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, National…
How old do you have to be to wear makeup? What every parent needs to know about this rite of passage
Advice for parents wondering how old a child has to be to wear makeup
Mother and daughter playing with makeup

Giving out your personal makeup tips to your teenager may be a rite of passage — but what about your younger kids? It seems that children are wearing makeup now at younger and younger ages, and as your child transitions into their tween years, and sometimes even younger, they may want to start wearing some makeup as a way to express themselves. Experimenting with makeup doesn't have to be taboo, and it can even be a safe and healthy way for your child to experiment with their creativity and express their personality.

You may find yourself wondering how old do you have to be to wear makeup, especially if your parents were strict about the matter. Take a look at our helpful parenting tips below as a guide for how to talk to your child about makeup.

Read more
When should your child learn how to ride a bike?
Find out what age to take off the training wheels
Parents teaching their daughter how to ride a bike with training wheels

Learning to ride a bike is a rite of passage for most kids. Children usually learn to ride a bike between the ages of 3 and 8. Bike riding is one of the best outdoor activities for kids, and it's something the entire family can do together. Most kids typically learn to ride a bike with training wheels first, while some are just natural and take to two wheels immediately.

Research shows that the best range for kids to learn a new skill is between the ages of 4 and 12. Teaching your child to ride a bike not only gives them a new experience and skill but the earlier your child learns, the longer they reap the physical and mental rewards of bike riding.

Read more
Is your kid screaming for no reason? Here are ways to deal with a screaming child’s behavior
There are easy ways to handle this behavior if your kid has hit this stage
Young girl is screaming with fingers in her ears.

When your kid won't stop screaming, it makes you want to scream, too. Tension is high, frustration is bubbling, and parents feel entirely hopeless, like they've lost control. If the behavior happens again and again, it's enough to drive you up the walls. Dealing with a screaming child's behavior is definitely one of the least favorite things for a parent to do.
Don't worry, there are ways to deal with this situation so you'll both feel better! Your child is feeling just as frustrated as you are, and with patience and understanding, you'll get to a place where you both remain calm. With these tips and some expert advice, your house will be a quieter space soon. A screaming child's behavior doesn't have to leave the whole house in tears, and here's how to get that to happen.

How to get your child to stop screaming
When your child won't stop screaming, the first thing to do is stay calm. The situation is enough to make you want to scream yourself and that is not going to get your child to stop. Take a deep breath and tap into remembering your child needs help expressing emotions and needs you as the parent to get them there. They're not doing this to annoy you or provoke you. They're a child who hasn't developed to a point where they know to do anything else.

Read more