When do kids start becoming curious about their bodies?
From as early as infancy, kids are interested in learning about their own bodies. They notice the differences between boys and girls and are naturally curious.
Toddlers will often touch their own genitals when they are naked, such as in the bathtub or while being diapered. At this stage of development, they have no modesty. Such behaviors are not adult sexual activities but signs of normal curiosity, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), who says that this type of behavior doesn't warrant scolding or punishment.
So, what should you do when your toddler begins touching him or herself? Each family will approach this in their own way, based on their values, comfort level, and style. But keep in mind that your reaction to your child's curiosity will tell him or her whether these actions are "acceptable" or "shameful." Toddlers who are scolded and made to feel bad about their natural curiosity may develop an increased focus on their private parts or feel shame.
Some parents choose to casually ignore self-touching or redirect a child's attention toward something else. Others may want to acknowledge that, while they know it feels good to explore, it is a private matter and not OK to do in public.
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