Young girls will often begin to question where babies come from when they see a pregnant woman. A girl might also question why her anatomy looks different than a little boy’s anatomy. We can be challenged by these questions unless we remember that our daughters are just little girls. In my experience talking with parents, I have observed three different types of parental responses to these questions:
- The enthusiastic, well-meaning parent who might see this as the opportunity to teach their children everything that no one taught them when they were kids.
- The cautious parent who will carefully question and probe the child’s reason for asking this question.
- The insecure parent who will try to get out of this situation by suggesting that the baby came from angel dust.
Where do we begin?
These young girls have not yet felt the effects of hormones that will mature their bodies during puberty. Their question is truly “innocent”, but it does provide a wonderful opportunity for us to begin a dialogue that can continue through elementary school and beyond. I am going to outline a teaching moment you can have with your young daughter using my first book, I’m a Girl, Special Me, which is written for 5-7-year-old girls. Using my book will make the teaching easier for you because Dr M (the fictional teacher in the book) provides all of the content for you. You and your daughter can simply enjoy the learning experience together.
Here’s what you can do as you prepare for this special teaching time with your daughter:
- Review the book on your own. This book has an engaging storyline with relatable characters. Note that there are four “Dr. M Says” boxes in the book. Each box includes a learning concept that summarizes an important point about anatomy. These boxes narrow your goals as you teach your daughter. If she understands these four points, you have earned a learning victory!
- Select a time and place where you can be alone with your daughter.
- Make sure that you will not be interrupted by people, siblings, or mobile devices.
- Include some favorite treats so that this time together will be memorable and fun.
- Start at the beginning of the book and introduce the characters to her first. See which one she thinks is most like her. Make sure she feels comfortable with Dr. M and looks forward to learning from her.
- If your daughter is closer to five years old than seven years old, you might want to divide this time into two learning experiences.
- Don’t expect your daughter to remember everything you have taught her. This is just the first pass teaching this important information. As you go throughout your day, when there are opportunities, refer back to concepts in the book. This will reinforce what your daughter has learned and also prepare her for the next book in the series, I’m a Girl, My Changing Body written for 8-10-year-old girls who are about to enter early puberty.
By sharing this special time together, you have created a unique family memory and taken the mystery out of this topic. Hopefully, now the communication channel is open!