Expert Iconexpert advice MORE

Age-Appropriate Sex Ed

Toddler and Teenager Expert Advice from Carleton Kendrick, Ed.M., LCSW

Q: My daughter,five years old, asked me yesterday how she arrived in her mother's belly. She knows how she was born. She knows that before that, she was inside her father. So, now she wants to know the conection from her father to her mother. She knows about our genitals, we bathe all together and she has seen me urinate. Now, how can I explain the sex act with an appropriate answer for her age?

A: At this curious age you can answer her in a direct manner. At this age she will comprehend and absorb only as much information as she can handle. I am somewhat worried about your words "... before that, she was inside her father." I understand what you are attempting with this explanation but she (the baby) wasn't inside you at any time. Your sperm had to enter her mother and join with an egg from her mother's uterus before she was conceived. I think you can tell her something like: You were made when a sperm from daddy's penis got together with an egg from a part inside mommy called her uterus. Daddies put their penises inside mommies' vaginas and then let the sperm come out of their penises to go join up with the mommies' eggs. We call this making love or having sex.

I know you will always include the importance of love and your family's values as you give your kids a healthy sex education.

More on: Expert Advice

Carleton Kendrick has been in private practice as a family therapist and has worked as a consultant for more than 20 years. He has conducted parenting seminars on topics ranging from how to discipline toddlers to how to stay connected with teenagers. Kendrick has appeared as an expert on national broadcast media such as CBS, Fox Television Network, Cable News Network, CNBC, PBS, and National Public Radio. In addition, he's been quoted in the New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, USA Today, Reader's Digest, BusinessWeek, Good Housekeeping, Woman's Day, and many other publications.

Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.


Where Should Newborns Sleep?
We've rounded up all the alternatives and considerations to make a safe choice for your new addition.

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books!
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our new Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme, and create reading lists for kids!

5 Tips to Help Make Your Child Self-Sufficient
Follow these tips to help your child become self-sufficient, and help him learn the skills he'll need to take care of himself.

Ready for Kindergarten?
Try our award-winning Kindergarten Readiness app! This easy-to-use checklist comes with games and activities to help your child build essential skills for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Facebook icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks