Once my toddler started saying phrases like “mommy’s boobies!” it seemed like a good time to cover up after showering. Alas, laziness and summer heat prevailed. After all, it takes all of 5 steps to get from our bathroom to bedroom. How much psychological damage could result from 5 steps? Over dinner with a mama friend last week the topic came up (her husband started covering up almost immediately after their daughter was born…) and I figured I ought to investigate.
Dr. Susanne Denham, a developmental psychologist and part of the expert advice team at BabyCenter suggests that until around the 2nd birthday toddlers aren’t really aware of nudity. But shortly thereafter, the babe develops more of a sense of self that includes the existence of private parts. Signs of awareness may include resisting a diaper change in public or showing signs of embarrassment (e.g., shielding eyes, giggling) in the face of public nudity. At this point, Dr. Denham suggests it may be time to cover up.
But if you feel it’s important to be able to be nude at home, Dr. Denham suggests talking to your child and explaining that nudity is natural and nothing to be ashamed of, but that it is intended for private times. Explain that the home is a private space in which it is okay to be naked if no one else is around.
See Dr. Denham's original post and readers' comments.