Little Talks to Have With Your 2- to 4-Year-Old
Now is the time to start teaching your child about privacy. They need to know that nudity and touching their genitals are not appropriate in public. You can bring up privacy when they’re bathing or changing, explaining to them that some things should happen only in the bathroom (like washing their private parts) or in private (like changing their clothes or touching their genitals).
At this age kids may have picked up euphemisms or slang terms for their body parts. Continue using and teaching them the appropriate names and discourage the use of slang terms. This will help them communicate more effectively if something is wrong or if someone has touched them inappropriately.
Teach them that different types of touch may make them feel safe or uncomfortable. Uncomfortable touch is anything that makes them feel sad, upset, or awkward. Explain that sometimes even people they love may make them feel uncomfortable accidentally, but they should always let you know if someone has touched them in any way that made them feel uncomfortable.
Explain that their body belongs to them and no one else. No one else has the right to look at or touch their body without their consent. Tell them that even trusted grown-ups like doctors shouldn’t look at their body without a parent or caregiver present.
Whether they say no or someone else tells them no, it needs to be respected. If your child is affectionate, explain that not everyone may want hugs or kisses. If your child doesn’t like to be touched by others, help them enforce that boundary.
Talking to Your Kids at All Ages
You can talk to your child about healthy sexual development no matter the age. Below we have links to articles about what you should cover in each age range. Always take the time to think through what you’re going to say and remember to keep your child’s maturity in mind. And remember, every time you have a little talk it makes it a little easier to have the next one.
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