As a child learns to run, jump, throw, draw and so many other things, she also develops a curiosity towards her body, including the genitals. Don't freak out! It isn’t sexual. Learn about this behaviour and what you can do about it.
Why Do Toddlers Touch Themselves: The Reason Behind It
When you see your child fiddling with her private area, you may be taken aback. You’re probably left wondering whether it’s normal for a toddler to touch herself. You might feel confused or even disturbed at first. But what you need to know here is that unlike with most adults, toddlers touching themselves is not masturbation, as they’re not even aware of what that is yet. It does feel good and comforting to them, however, even though there’s nothing sexual or even emotional about it. Touching the genitals also does not cause physical harm or pose a health risk, so there’s nothing to get worked up over.
Children Touching Private Parts: What You Can Do
- First off, don’t panic. You will only make the situation worse and your child may become confused and even upset about your reaction.
- Don’t scold or forbid your toddler from touching her private parts. It will only create confusion in her mind.
- Ask your child if she needs to use the bathroom when you see her touching her private area. It could be an indicator that she wants to go.
- If you find your toddler playing with her private parts in a public place, quietly ask her not to. Keep your voice calm and comforting. You don’t want to alarm her or make her feel ashamed. Find distractions for your child. Talk to her about animals, show her colorful objects or play with her.
- You can also ignore it for a certain period of time. This behaviour usually goes away as tots grow up and many times, parents don’t need to do anything about it.
- Experts believe that many toddlers fiddle with their genitals solely out of boredom as the activity can keep them engaged. Another tip on how to stop your toddler from touching herself is to keep her busy with activities like coloring, painting and group play, and you should notice her touching herself less.
- Children exploring private parts: It can start during the potty training period of your baby as she comes in close contact with her genitals at this time. You can have her wear clothing that does not allow for any access to her private parts such as onesies.
By the age of three, ‘ sexual curiosity’ in young children and subsequent genital touching gradually disappears. If it doesn’t go away with time, you can consider contacting a child specialist. Your toddler might have a urinary tract infection if the touching is very frequent.
If you have any further queries or experiences to share about when toddlers touch themselves, feel free to do so! Your tips can also benefit other mums whose kids are going through the same thing.