"But how did the baby get in her belly?"
This was the question a 3-year old boy asked his nanny. They were at a play date with the boy’s friend and her nanny, who was pregnant. There was a lot of baby talk. But the boy wanted to start from the beginning – how did it get there?!
As funny and innocent as this question may seem, the nanny still felt a good deal of fear – and dread. "How do the parents want me to handle this?"
"It grows inside the mommy’s belly" she replied confidently. This answer worked – for about an hour.
While we can laugh about kids asking about sex, anatomy and other hot topics, it’s also a really good idea to figure out how you want to answer these questions – and bring your nanny or babysitter on board. Will you be using anatomical names? Will you want to discreetly ignore the hard-hitting questions? Tell stories of the stork, explain conception – or pick something in between?
The thing is, sometimes our babysitters and nannies are our biggest ally in difficult conversations. They can seek clues to what your child is learning about from friends, they can act as role models, shaping their confidence and sense of self-worth, and they can reinforce what you are teaching your kids about life. They can also provide a little stability if the difficult conversation is focused around divorce, death or a local tragedy.
I like to remind parents to consider your nanny or babysitter as part of your parenting team. If you are interviewing candidates, think to yourself "Is this someone I want on my squad?", "Is this someone who can handle answering difficult questions with ease?", "Is this someone I want teaching my child?" If not, keep searching.
What hot topics has your child asked you – or your nanny lately? How have you answered? And have you talked to your nanny about how to handles these types of conversations?
On a more serious note, we encourage to you to read through our Difficult Conversation series and learn strategies for talking to kids about uncomfortable topics.
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