It's natural to see your kiddo in her birthday suit when you give your child a shower or help your toddler get dressed, but should your kids see you naked?

When to introduce modesty to children

Whether you're a modest mommy or are worried you may be scarring your kids for life, find out what the experts say about when you should start practicing modesty around your youngsters.

When do kids start becoming curious about their bodies?

Toddlers begin to notice differences between boys and girls and are naturally curious. At this young age, toddlers have no modesty. However, they may begin to develop a sense of excitation, but is not likely tied to a response of sexuality. "There are many child who have a high level of excitation," explains Dr. Fran Walfish, child and family psychotherapist, author of The Self-Aware Parent. "This includes kids as young as 3 years who are precocious, mischievous, and other excitatory responses." At this point, your youngsters will take more notice of your body, too. So, when is it time to cover up?

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At what age should I initiate privacy with my kids?

As far as nudity in front of your kiddos goes, Dr. Walfish advises that parents practice privacy by early grade school. "That means no joint bathing or showering, dressing or undressing, or touching genitals by the time your child reaches the age of 6 years old."

However, Carole Lieberman M.D., advises parents to initiate modesty at a much younger age. "A parent of the opposite sex of the child should start being modest around the child by age 3. This is when the psychosexual stage of development called the Oedipal Phase starts, when the child begins being more aware of his sexuality and craves love and attention from the parent of the opposite sex. The Oedipal Phase lasts from age 3 to 8, but modesty should continue."

How do I teach my children to be modest?

"Encourage kiddos to practice privacy when showering or using the toilet."

Kids tend to take their cues on body issues from their parents, so if you are comfortable with the topic of nudity, then chances are your youngsters are going to be comfortable, too. Simply introduce the concept of privacy by leading by example, introducing the topic of keeping your bathing suit areas covered in front of others and encourage kiddos to practice privacy when showering or using the toilet. Be mindful to save discussions of sexuality for a time when it is age appropriate.

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As your children get older, take cues from him or her directly when it comes to seeing your child in the buff. "Parents need to know their child individually. You must have a clear radar-sharp read on your child to determine when the right time for modesty begins," advises Dr. Walfish.

Just keep in mind that presenting your children with a negative attitude towards nudity can cause your youngster to form a negative view of their own sexuality, so be cautious when tackling the topic of modesty. By being conscious of your child's age and explaining privacy as a matter-of-fact rule without a lot of fuss, you can make the right call when deciding if your kids should see you naked without questioning yourself!

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Comments on "Should your kids see you naked?"

Savage January 09, 2013 | 5:05 PM

I agree with Erin. When children are old enough to understand what they are seeing, then it's time for the parents to start covering their nudity.

Renanzinho July 13, 2012 | 9:49 PM

As the kids get older they also become more ineepdndent with after school activities, scouting, sports, etc So it's even more crucial to set aside time with them, whether it's one on one or as a group/family. Not having them around as much is a relief for at-home moms because she gets her life back; for working dads it's even less time with them. It's a struggle every day, week and month to try and balance it out.

Annabelle June 21, 2012 | 8:32 PM

Great points. A lot of has to do with knowing your own son or daughter and when they need to assert their own modesty. What really gets me riled is when women at the gym think they can bring and older boy with them through the women's change area. I have seen boys in there who look at least 6.

Erin June 18, 2012 | 6:38 AM

Great article!! I think as soon as the child is aware, then you should start being modest. There is no reason for children to see naked adults once they realize what they are seeing. To me, it's not hard to shut the door for a little while to shower while my kids are watching TV.

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