Question: How Do I Stop A Child From Playing With His Privates?
A family child care provider has asked how to deal with the situation of a young boy in her charge liking to undress and play with his privates. She says the tot is totally unaware that the action could be inappropriate, and howls when required to re-dress and participate in a different activity. She asks: “How can ‘private play’ be kept just that?”
In addition, the same approach can be utilized when kids touch others inappropriately, and that doesn’t need to be something of a sexual or private parts type of touching. Kids may swat another’s backside or tickle them under the arms or even the inner thighs based on what someone has done to them. While the action may be innocent, the key rule to remember is that if it could make anyone uncomfortable then it is not appropriate in whatever context it may have been meant.
By this same token, discussions about appropriate and inappropriate touching or looking is also a must-have conversation with children at an early age, although the talk should be geared toward the age and maturity level of kids. Kids need to know expectations as to what is acceptable behavior and privacy requirements (that include touching, looking, taking pictures, etc.) of themselves. It is recommended that child care providers notify parents in advance of a planned conversation with kids in their charge about this topic and encourage parents to have additional conversations with their kids outside the child care setting. Parents may very well have questions about what will be discussed and how issues may be presented, and certainly have the right to ask that their child not be included in the conversation.