It’s going to happen whether you want it to or not. You’re going to have to have the “talk.” And if you’re smart about it, you’ll realize that it’s not one talk, but probably many over the years as your kid goes from asking completely naive biology questions to clamming up around you whenever the subject comes up.
Here are a few tips you should keep in mind.
1. You probably can’t remember either how babies are made. So, for God’s sake, do some reading so you don’t feel yourself jumping to the details of the parts you do understand. Especially when talking to young kids, you want to only answer the parts they are curious about at their age, and not about the stuff they’ll only want to know when they are in their teens.
2. Use the media. For better or, mostly, worse, the media is full of inappropriate references. With little kids, we mostly wince and try to ignore them, hoping our kids will let them slip by, like random words of Chinese thrown into a sentence. However, at some point that you’ll recognize, you can use these references to check your child’s understanding or need to know.
3. Talk to them an not at them. Try to keep things two-way, and take a break if the conversation falters since that likely indicates you’ve done enough talking for now.
4. Talk your age. When it’s time to have a sex talk, it’s also time to dispense with words like pee-pee and boobies. Likewise, you also don’t want to use slang to refer to genitals. Stick with old standards like “penis” and “vagina” and you’ll at least take one awkwardness out of the equation.
5. Get over your own embarrassment. Now is not the time to worry about your own issues with sex, or think about the raunchy ideas you have connected with the subject at hand. Focus the mind on helping your kids get the age-appropriate information they need without coloring it with editorializing that might confuse their understanding at this point.