The Birds and the Bees

Dear Sara,

My four-year-old son saw a woman who was very pregnant. He wanted to know if she had a watermelon under her shirt. I told him “no” but that I thought she might have a baby in her tummy. We were at the grocery store when he started asking more question so I said we could talk about it when we got home. So far he hasn’t asked any more questions but I’m sure he will want to know more. How am I going to explain this to a four-year-old? I know that he will share with his preschool friends.

Dear Lillian,

With a four-year-old, it’s best to keep things as simple as possible. He will probably ask more questions eventually, like how will the baby get out? You could say that there is a special opening that is just for that. If he asks where the opening is you might tell him it’s between the mommy’s legs.

If he asks how the baby got in the lady’s belly, you could say that when Mommies and Daddies love each other a lot that Daddy can plant a seed and it will grow into a baby.

As long as you keep your answers simple you can explain things so he will understand. You don’t have to go into great detail at his age, just answer as best you can in language that a four-year-old can understand.

Good luck.


  1. There are kids who are your son’s age and younger who already know how babies are made at least as far as knowing that it comes from the mother physically. It tends to happen with kids who have many siblings as with certain religious families such as Mormons, Orthodox, etc. Of course it also depends on whether the parents or other adults explain it to the child whether or not the child has siblings.
    I have heard kids who seemed to be no older than 3 mention the word “Pregnant.” Some parents don’t teach their kids at “such a young age” but it very often means that the child will see a pregnant woman, and will have questions.
    Answering the question may be as hard as the parent makes it. It is important that parents don’t bring their own neurosis into it.
    There are books for parents to help explain it to children. But also sometimes parents over-think how much the child wants to know and sometimes the child can be overwhelmed by learning what is really involved. It is best to explain simply and step by step:
    A woman with such a large belly is pregnant. Of course sometimes people have big bellies and are not pregnant, men and women, but it is something that people will learn to tell the difference. It is best not to stare or ask questions to any stranger who has a big belly. Quietly ask mom or dad and they should explain at home.
    This is an issue that there is more to discuss about it, but hopefully this helps.

  2. Dear Lillian,

    I think your four year old son was just
    curious and observant to what’s around him.
    That’s a good thing. I might have said no and
    remark that someone probably will be
    having a baby sister or brother. Or another
    approach is to change the subject so his focus
    is on something that’s more important to him.
    He has a bit of growing up to do first and I am
    sure he probably was more curiosity than anything
    else. I think it’s pretty smart and witty for him to have come up
    with “does she have a watermelon under her shirt?”

  3. Age appropriate responses are always the best route, taking into consideration the understanding and emotioal maturity of the child. There are religious and non religious books out there that can offer good advice or support a Christian view point.

    I purchased a top notch book, not very thick, that came highly recommended with drawings and scenarios which explained reproduction in a very tasteful way. Since we live in such a sexually charged culture we need to start early and instill good values into our children. I rather feel uncomfortable for a moment and even fumble for the right words than pass on that privilege to someone else.

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