Whether you are trying to explain puberty to a tween or attempting to talk a toddler through the process of how babies are born, answering questions about The Facts of Life can be one of the most confronting tasks you can face as a parent. Questions of this nature can begin at an early age – so be prepared! Arm yourself with some reference material, locate your sense of humour and make a mental note to answer all questions simply and honestly.
We’ve compiled a list of five books to help you and your kids get the answers to some of life’s most important questions:
1. Where Willy Went by Nicholas Allen
This book tells the hilarious tale of Willy the sperm, who competes with 299 million other sperm to claim a prize that they all want, but only one will get – the coveted egg. A light-hearted story that presents the facts of life in an easy-to-understand and entertaining manner, this is a great way to start detailing the reproductive process to the under-fives.
2. Where Did I Come From? by Peter Mayle
Originally published back in the ’70s, this popular children’s classic is packed with precise information and clever illustrations. Spelling out the reproductive process from conception through to birth, this book is one that many parents will remember from their own childhoods. Also worth a read is the companion book, What’s Happening to Me?, which discusses puberty and bodily changes. Both books are suitable for kids aged five and up.
3. Let’s Talk About Where Babies Come From by Robie H. Harris
If you’re looking for a book for your upper primary school child, this is a must-have title that covers all the important topics – from love and health to bodies and babies. With cartoon-strip illustrations and playful observations from a cartoon bird and bee, this book has received rave reviews. Let’s Talk About Sex, by the same author, is a great way to give useful, accurate information to those aged 11 years and older.
4. Questions Children Ask and How to Answer Them by Dr Miriam Stoppard
A brilliant resource for parents, this book provides useful guidelines on how to answer kids’ most pressing questions. Written by renowned parenting expert, Dr Miriam Stoppard, this book is not just about the birds and the bees, but also covers other big matters such as death and religion. This manual provides age-specific responses for two to four year olds, four to six year olds, six to eight year olds and eight to 11 year olds.
5. The Sex Explanation Handbook: Talking With Kids About Sex by Dr Martha Gelin
This is a much-needed modern day guide on how to teach your kids about sex; it astutely addresses some of the curliest topics imaginable. It covers subjects such as sex crimes, transsexuality, the portrayal of sexuality in the media and how to use the internet safely. Books can be purchased online from the author’s own website.
If you prefer gathering your information from the internet, there are plenty of free online resources for you or you can use them to help teach your kids everything they need to know about growing up. Websites include:
- Talking About Sex with your teenager from the Ministry of Health
- The Hormone Factory provides easy to understand information for kids with fun, vibrant graphics.
- The Pulse has information for teens about sex and sexuality
This article was written by Jo Harris for Kidspot, New Zealand’s best family health resource.