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How Much Information Does A Preschooler Need?

Regular readers already know this, but I have a three year old daughter, and my wife is pregnant with our second child, due in the beginning of October. Our daughter was delivered via cesarean section after 20 hours of labour and as of right now it appears that our second will be delivered via a scheduled c-section.

While my daughter is just three years old, she is rather precocious. So, the expected questions about how the baby got into my wife’s uterus (or “tummy”) and how it will subsequently come out have a more thorough treatment than one would expect from a three year old. So far, we have treated the subject with a bit of distance: offering vague answers and changing the subject instead of allowing for the typical preschooler probing (also known as “the neverending whys”) to proceed.

However, as the delivery date approaches, and the reality that my wife is likely to have another c-section, we have begun to wonder just how much detail we should provide to our little girl. On the one hand, the age-old advice of “answer only the questions asked” works, but in our case, it won’t explain why she won’t be able to lie on her mother’s stomach during story time, or why my wife won’t be able to lift her for several weeks (possibly months, depending on her recovery). So we are debating just how much information to share with our daughter.

We picked up a book at the local bookstore, but parts of it seem overly detailed, at least for someone of her age. Also, at least for me, handling it with a book feels somewhat disconnected or sterile. I feel like we should be talking about it, not learning about it during a story.

This is directed at people who already have one child, and have had, or are expecting, their second: what have you done in this situation? How much information did you give your child? Did you feel like you were sharing “too much” for their age?

You can read more SciFi Dad at Tales From The Dad Side.

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