An interesting message from a friend popped up on WhatsApp the other evening. She asked how my family feels about nakedness around our children.
I can’t say I’d ever given this any thought. So I spent a little time giving it some thought.
So how naked are we?
We’re naked for what I think is an average amount of time. We change in front of each other, we use the loo and bath or shower with other family members around. Occasionally, if my phone rings while I’m changing, I’ll dash – naked – to the kitchen where my phone is charging.
How the children react
I’ve noticed that as my son got older, he just stopped asking to bath with us, started closing the door when using the bathroom or changing in his own room. And when I’m changing in my room, he’ll leave. I take it he’s no longer comfortable with nakedness around the family. That’s what growing up is all about.
My daughter, still a pre-schooler, happily takes off her clothes in the garden on a hot day, though she is starting to get an idea of when it isn’t appropriate to be naked. We went to a party the other day and I forgot her swimming costume. She didn’t fuss about not having it, but when she undressed to swim, she left her panties on. She felt uncomfortable being naked around other people, so she kept herself covered.
Comfortable with their own bodies
It is a fine line between teaching children to be proud of their bodies and not feel ashamed in their own skin, and that other people don’t really want to see naked people traipsing around everywhere. However, I think using your own and your children’s comfort levels around nakedness is a helpful guide – if anyone feels uncomfortable, it’s time to do things differently.
So how often are my friends naked?
Well, I didn’t get around to asking the friend who sent me the message – that really is their own business – but I hope that our chat helped her feel more comfortable with whatever they want to do.
Fun bath times
Something I really enjoyed while my children were toddlers was bathing with them, snuggling them to my chest in the warm water, wrapping them up in fluffy towels and then cutting nails and blow-drying hair and spending a bit of special time together.
I bathed with both of them from when they were newborns. I can’t actually remember when last I bathed with my son – this year or last year – it just stopped happening as his awareness of himself grew. And he probably grew too big for us both to fit in the tub anyway.
I did hear him shriek in horror a few weeks back when his little sister tried to get in the shower with him. I had to knock on the door and ask her to please come out of the bathroom and respect his privacy. I suppose we are all learning boundaries as we go along as a family.
Do you have a family bath time? Let us know your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org.