Kids should know that if anyone ever touches them in a way that feels strange or bad, they should tell that person to stop it and then tell you about it.Explain that you want to know about anything that makes your kids feel bad or uncomfortable. Learning about sex should not occur in one all-or-nothing session.Nor should parents feel this is or will lead to promiscuous behavior.
Toddlers often will touch their own genitals when they're naked, such as in the bathtub or while being diapered.
At this stage of development, they have no modesty.
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.
By the time a child is 3 years old, parents may choose to use the correct anatomical words.
They may sound medical, but there is no reason why the proper label shouldn't be used when the child is capable of saying it. — should be stated matter-of-factly, with no implied silliness.
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 convey 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.
No one, not even a friend or family member, has the right to touch a child's private areas.
However, the AAP notes, an exception to this rule is when a parent is trying to find the source of pain or discomfort in the genital area, or when a doctor or nurse is performing a physical exam.
It should be more of an unfolding process, one in which kids learn, over time, what they need to know.