Tips to explain breeding season in a youth friendly way

Fall is breeding season in many species. Use these tips to help teach youth about how animals reproduce.

Talking about animal reproduction can be a sensitive topic that many parents and 4-H leaders may feel uncomfortable, even shy, about teaching. Please know that you are not alone! Michigan State University Extension has some tips to help make the topic of how animals reproduce a little easier.

  • Use scientific terms. Using appropriate and correct terminology helps keep the conversation about what occurs during breeding and gestation fact-based and accurate.
  • Talk about time lines. Once breeding occurs, engage kids in the fetal development process. There are many charts available online that show pictures of various species’ fetal development during gestation. You can decide the level of detail you can use based on the age of the child and their level of understanding. Keep it really simple for younger children, but encourage teens to explore the science of reproduction.
  • Be open for questions. Children are going to ask a lot of questions. Do not be afraid to keep an open dialog about the breeding and gestation process; this is how they learn. Keeping fact-based information on the forefront and using the proper terminology, and encouraging youth to use the proper terminology, will help them learn the scientific process that is occurring.

Overall, this can be a sensitive topic that we as adults may not know how to navigate. By using these tips, children can learn about the process and further their knowledge in animal science.

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