Our expert says:
Thanks for your very sensible question --- it'll be interesting to see what other readers think ( and the Parenting Forum may also have some ideas ). My view is that it is rarely if ever too early, IF one is responding to questions the child has or to situations in which questions are likely. It is useful from the start to create a relationship within which they feel comfortable asking you about anything that concerns them ( questions about death can freak parents out even more ) With both, you can often use opportunities that arise when a pet deis, or mates, or they notice boy cats and girls cats are different --- its always better to answer their questions, in their language and understanding
I always remember the instructive story of the little boy who asked him mom "Mommy, where did I come from ?" She had been dreading this question for years, but sat him down with large anatomical charts and worked from birds and bees through all the species right through to childbirth. After a pause, the child said : "That's very interesting, Mom, but what I mwant was, did I come from Cape Town or Bloemfontein ? " The point being that often we answer what they're not asking or curious about, and may neglect what they ARe wanting to know about
Similarly, start more generally, and get more specific in response to what they want to know.
Don't see it as a one-off ordeal, but as an ongoing process, only starting with this first conversation. Sometimes its useful to ask them gently what they know, how they think things work. And then correct misconceptions.
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