When talking to children, a key principle is to be honest and truthful but to impart only the information that they need to know according to their age and understanding.
A preschool child may ask where babies come from and a simple answer about coming from mummy’s tummy might be enough to satisfy their curiosity, but older children may need more factual and detailed information.
Pick a good time to chat with her, and refer back to her question by saying: “Remember you asked me the other day about sex and how babies were made – this is an important chat we should have together.” It is crucial to get your tone right.
If you appear embarrassed or nervous, then this will make the conversation harder.
There is also evidence to show that pre-teen children are less embarrassed and more able to listen to information about sex than teenagers, who might be mortified if parents raise the subject or less likely to listen due to teenage rebellion.
” I was a little shocked and, as I was thinking what to say, she then told me that her friend told her that “the boy and girl have to have sex”.
Now I feel I didn’t handle the situation well and that maybe I should have talked to her more about sex and what she knew, but I did not feel comfortable.
Also I wondered whether she is too young to know the full facts. Should I raise the conversation with her again or let it go? Most parents find talking about sex to their children a delicate subject to get right and, frequently, like yourself, they are caught off guard with a question they are unsure how to answer.
In particular, the HSE has produced a book and DVD called Busy Bodies targeted at children in fifth and sixth classes and their parents.
This can be downloaded from and free copies can be ordered by texting BUSY, followed by your name and address, to 50444.