During early childhood, children grow quickly and are learning new things. Learning about their bodies especially is important as they learn to develop healthy boundaries including concepts like “my body is private.” Many parents worry about teaching these concepts too soon but by discussing these topics early on you can take integral steps to help keep your child safe
Teach young children about “private parts”
Teach toddlers early on about what parts of their bodies are private. An easy way to have the conversation is to tell them the parts of their body that their swimsuit covers are considered private parts and no one should touch or look at them. From a young age, encourage your child to let you know right away if anyone asks or tries to look at their private parts. Creating open communication even with young children increases the chances that your child would share with you if something did happen.
Use real terms
Toddlers should be able to know that they have a “penis” or “vagina.” When children are taught fake words for their body parts, this can lead to confusion and also set them up to not understand appropriate boundaries with those parts of their bodies.
Never make your child hug or give affection to anyone
We all can remember a time we were forced to hug a family member we didn’t feel comfortable engaging. Help children learn the choices they have over their bodies by never forcing any type of contact that is not invited by the child. This assists children from a young age to build an appropriate understanding of healthy boundaries.
Having age-appropriate conversations with young children will set them up to feel more secure and also create open communication between you and your child. Your child will feel more comfortable asking questions or talking about uncomfortable situations which will help to keep them safe.