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Mom-Approved Books to Teach Your Kids About Sex and Reproduction
Teaching Our Kids About Sex
There, I did it. I put sex in the title of my blog post. How and when to teach our children about reproduction is a highly personal decision. Our philosophy over here is pretty simple: answer their questions and if they don’t ask any give them the information anyway. Having a baby a year (like I did 1996-2005) really helps to get the ball rolling. But if you can’t do that, here is a list of my favorite books about sex and reproduction.
When the Kids Are Begging for a New Baby
But before I get to that, I need to share a funny incident with you. My children ask for a new baby on a regular basis (nevermind that they have 13 siblings). When Apollo was younger it was easy to point out how sick he was and how I wouldn’t be able to care for him if I had a new baby. The day (yes the DAY) I returned from Texas after Apollo’s second heart surgery I was ambushed by children saying, “Apollo is fixed…Now can we have a new baby?”
[Spoiler Alert: No.]
I have recently gotten into the habit of telling them “I’m too old” when they begin their campaign for a new sibling. That worked quite well until a certain child of mine read the book: Growing Up: It’s a Girl Thing. She then approached me and explained in a whisper that I wasn’t actually too old to have a baby…My jig was up, it seemed. So I told her I felt too old to have another baby.
Just this week while driving in the van I had a certain child say to me: “Mom, can’t you please have a new baby? Can’t you try just one more time and see if it happens?” This child seems to have the biology down, if not the social and interpersonal aspect of reproduction.
So, without further ado
My Favorite Books to Teach Kids About Sex and Reproduction
This is a popular, well-written book put out by the American Girl company. It sticks to the facts of menstruation, puberty and common growing up questions. It is written in a very conversational style; guaranteed to draw your daughter in and not embarrass her.
This book is great. It covers breasts, body changes, menstrual cycles, and reproduction. It has a chapter called: It’s My Body, and talks about how it is never okay for “…an adult, teen or older child to intentionally (on purpose) to try to touch or rub up against any private places on a child’s body for sexual reasons”. It goes on to give a very straight forward, but non-graphic, description of inappropriate touching.
As far as reproduction, it has a very good description of the biology of sex. It includes proper names for everything. This book does not describe relationships or when/where sex is appropriate. It states simply: When a grown-up couple unites in the mating process it is called having sexual intercourse. Then goes on to explain what this means.
I really like this approach. I am a firm believer that Chuck and I are the best people to discuss when sex is appropriate in the context of our faith, not a book or school.
This is a well-written beautifully illustrated book talking about the biological process of making babies from a Christian perspective. The cool thing about this book is it has large text to be read aloud to 3-8-year-olds and smaller text to be read to older kids. This book also covers adoption, which makes me love it even more! The only thing I don’t like is one illustration of a mom and dad snuggling in bed together. It makes me uncomfortable in the context of the text, but then again I’m a bit of a prude, so it may not bother you at all.
How Are Babies Made is a lift the flap book by Usborne.
It is geared at children ages four and up (but the illustrations will certainly draw in younger children). This book uses kid-friendly words like womb and belly button. I am a firm believer in teaching proper anatomical words, but also have no issue with words in the common vernacular. This book does not describe intercourse but does have cartoonish pictures of eggs and sperm. I personally like to have this book alongside one such as The Wonderful Way that Babies are Made. I feel like this book complements the more serious books very well.
I love this book for the anatomical approach to pregnancy and childbirth. This book has lovely transparent pages that illustrate what a woman’s womb looks like with and without a baby in it. This book focuses on the growth of a baby from sperm and egg to infant and less of the mechanics of sex. This book is a wonderful companion to the ones above. The Miracle of Birth is an older book (I believe it is out of print) but it is well worth finding a used copy.
A Child is Born is the classic book full of photographs of unborn babies at every stage of development, especially helpful if you are pregnant. I know when I was pregnant with Apollo the kids loved to check each week and see what he looked like developmentally!
This brand new book by Mayim Bialik is a great resource for girls ages 10-14. As a scientist, Bialik briefly discusses the “nuts and bolts” of reproduction and how to keep safe. More importantly, she talks about what it feels like to be a girl who is growing and changing. She discusses girls growing at different rates, the pressures girls may feel and how to embrace womanhood. She takes a very definite facts-based, this is how your body is growing and changing, point-of-view. I love this book and keep it available for my girls.
You already know I am a fan of Mayim Bialik’s books Girling Up (I reviewed it here). I was so excited when I saw she was coming out with the Boying Up for, you know, boys. Bialik writes about growing up, puberty, and sex from a scientific point of view. She is, of course, a neuroscientist in real life as well as the mom to two boys. Her tone is friendly and easy to understand without talking down to kids.
These are just a few books that I have personal experience with and that I love. I didn’t want to share any I hadn’t actually read. If you have books to recommend, please leave them in the comments, I’d love to hear about them…especially books written for boys!