Q&A: Showering with our toddler-age children

Question:

When should my husband and I stop showering with our toddler-age children and changing clothes in front of them? Can you give us some guidelines for modesty in the home?

Answer: There really isn’t a hard and fast rule for dealing with this issue. Most paediatricians and child development experts agree that when a child begins to express a desire for privacy when naked or using the bathroom, that’s the time parents should begin to express more personal modesty. This typically occurs around the age of three or four. For some children it may be a little later.

What’s most important is that you begin to instil an understanding of healthy sexuality in your children from an early age. You should start when they’re toddlers, using age-appropriate concepts and language.

For example, when a young child asks questions about where babies come from, answer in a positive, straightforward manner. You might say something like “God made a special way for mummies and daddies to have babies. He uses a tiny little seed from Daddy and a tiny little egg from Mummy. The seed and the egg come together inside Mummy’s tummy, and then God does a miracle and makes a new baby.” This kind of explanation is typically sufficient for most younger kids. You don’t need to go into a detailed description of human physiology.

Most experts also recommend using accurate names for male and female genitalia. Cutesy names or code words can be confusing to a child, and can unintentionally lead to shame and embarrassment down the road, especially with other children.

© 2018 Focus on the Family.  All rights reserved.  Used by permission.

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