Au Natural

This week on Momversation we discuss nakedness, specifically, at what point does one promote the concept of "privacy" in the household. As for me, I have no clue. We're still Naked Family USA up in here. Not that that will be a forever thing. I'm sure at some point my kids will want their privacy/reach an age when bathing with their mom will be weird, but for now, naked bodies are just naked bodies. Not that we're going to go streaking as a family down Melrose, but at home? Whatevs, I say.

I'd love to hear from you guys. At what point did you/will you cover up around your kids? At what age did your kids cover up around you/each other? Are you weirded out by nudity or do you rock Ibiza topless as a family no prob? Let's discuss.



Diane | 9:09 PM

We only require pants if we leave the house, or if anyone comes over to our house. Other than that, my 4-year old is usually pants-less.

Lacey | 9:17 PM

I agree w/ diane. My 4 y/o is usually in her underwear running around the house. I take showers with her all the time. She knows body parts. She knows the difference between peepees and cootchies. And we're not embarassed at all about it

Jasmine Sawers | 9:23 PM

First time commenter, long time reader, but I had to chime in - my dad covered up probably when I was about ten and started down the painful and awkward road of pubescence. Sometimes I'll still accidentally catch him in the buff, and he's constantly in only tighy-whities, but my mom, well, she's still naked. If I'm home on a visit and she feels like slapping me in the face with her boobs or demanding that I look at her vagina (for questionable medical reasons), then there she'll be in her naked glory. As for my brother, he's ten years older than me so he was covered up by the time I came around, and I've only ever seen his crack (constantly) or the full moon (when he's being particularly big brotherly).

The thing about my dad's philosophy when raising us (mom is another story full of shame and sex-negativism) was that we were never shielded from sex, the body, or sexuality; to him all of that was a healthy and natural part of life, and he wanted us to have fun and be safe. If he wanted us not to see anything, it was violence. A lot of people have those priorities inverted, but the older I get the more I appreciate his stance on them. Why should we teach our children that sex and the body are shameful, but explosions and gore are every-day?

Jessica | 9:27 PM

I've always been the less clothes the better around the house, especially if it's hot...My 2.5 year old recently started noticing body parts....Like my boobs for instance he is always talking about them or poking at them, he hasn't nursed since he was one. I've asked my other girlfriends who have boys if this was normal and they say yes, but i have other friends who say that now I need to not change in front of him...I feel like it shouldn't matter he is so I really going to scar him by changing/showering in front of him at this age..they are just boobs right? Anyone have an answer to this?

JustTheirDad | 9:27 PM

I go topless around my house all the time. Of course as a guy, I don't expect that to be a problem anytime soon. If these man boobs get much bigger, I might have to rethink my position.

So here's the deal at my house. My 5 and 3-year-old have been semi-banned from seeing me nude. Mostly because they make me feel a bit awkward. There is too much staring going on. The kids gawk through the shower door. Crane their neck around to get a glimpse of Daddy's equipment.

But I'm a bit torn. Every now and then one of my kids will blurt out to random friends and relatives things like: Daddy has a Big Big Big Big HUGE Big Big Big...

So if I restrict the kids peep show, I lose that occasional ego boost. Of course, I realize that they are comparing me to the man-parts of a 3-year-old, but any guy likes to hear that they are Big Big Big Big Huge Big Huge...


Jasmine - I'm totally with your parents re: sex vs. violence. I actually wrote a post about it years ago.

here, too:

Thanks for sharing, you guys! Naked party!

mommyneedssomevodka | 9:33 PM

my 20 year old cousin lives with us, so my husband and i don't run around naked. previously we would let out 2-year-old run around in just a diaper as long as there weren't other people, but we recently moved into an apartment with a balcony that is safe for the babe and puppy to play on, but also in plain view of all of our neighbors, so i've been much more insistent on clothing. however, i still shower with my kid when we are low on time, and in case of sickness my husband will jump in with her to rinse her off. and we don't make her leave if either of us is changing.
i think if we lived in a more private enviornment, we would be less clothed, but, with our living situation the way that it is, i think we are all more comfortable if everyone is at least moderately covered.

meredith | 9:35 PM

I have 2 & 4 year old girls. They are constantly dressing up in crazy costumes & there is a lot of nakedness in-between. We have a strict "you must have on pants before you go in the front yard rule", but other than that we are also Naked Familly USA! My husband and I have discussed how we will determine when it is time to start covering up & haven't come to any conclusions. In the mean time, I encourage friends and family to call & give us a heads up before they come over!

KateFitz | 9:39 PM

I know everyone has different comfort levels with this and who knows how I'm going to address this with my kiddos. But I had a naked, hippy, go with the flow, large family growing upand I resented the hell out of the nudity. From about 5 on...I didn't feel like I could say anything about it because I didn't want to hurt anyone's feelings and make me be the stick in the mud telling everyone what to do. Some kids really honestly don't care...but some really really do. Especially if you are in the self conscience minority in a free-wheeling house.


Jessica - Totally normal. My kids do the same thing. And I'm like, "yup. I have boobs. One day you will have boobs, Fable. And Archer? Unless you'd like to surgically put them there, you most likely will not. Next!"

JustTheirDad- Thanks for sharing a man's perspective. We have similar banter going on here. Totally normal I think but I can see how that can get uncomfortable. I think its different for men than it is for women. A woman's naked body, especially to a child, seems like it would be a little less... intimidating? Er... FRIGHTENING!??

Just kidding. Kind of.


KateFitz - Totally hear you. I come from a hippie family who (some!) still think its fine and dandy to go skinny-dipping in their mid-80's. Kind of awesome in a way but also AHHHHHHHH!!! NOOOO!!! NONONONO!!!!

I think its SO important (and I said this in the video) to respect that MANY people, children included, don't feel comfortable around naked adults. (I know I certainly didn't!) I'm all for naked until someone gets hurt. Or uncomfortable. At that point the naked party will end in our house and the clothed-at-all-times party will instate itself.

Ellie | 9:57 PM

My daughter just turned 3. I don't think anything about her seeing me naked. She watches me change, shower and use the bathroom. I don't really see the big deal. Though I'm not going to lie, sometimes I would love to have more privacy than I get. As she gets older I will have more privacy. I already have so much more than I did when she was 1 or 2. She will loose interest in being with me at all times and as a result she will see me naked less and less. I don't anticipate a point when I will actively shield her from seeing my naked body. I guess I will stop seeing hers when it begins to make her uncomfortable and she needs her privacy. I'm sure that time will come.

My husband is less comfortable with our daughter seeing him naked. Sometimes he seems to actively shield her from seeing him. Other times we're in a hurry and he'll shower with her. I suspect that will not last much longer.

I think whatever makes everyone comfortable is fine.

Anonymous | 10:04 PM

we don't make a big deal about it and the kids do see us naked. i shower with all the kids, Taylor 9 and the twins Logan and Hunter 6. i want them to not be ashamed of their bodies. we discuss an elbow or a penis the same so they understand that they are all just body parts. when they decide they want to be private, dress in private and not shower with me then it shall be. tricia

KateFitz | 10:06 PM

I just didn't have a strong enough voice back then to let my lovely folks know I was uncomfortable/resentful/power struggling. Looking back on it I 100% know they would have put the kibosh on it if I had even hinted at being upset. Being the 3rd of 4 kids close in age sometimes it felt like the family dynamic had already been written and I just needed to follow the leaders.

Cave Momma | 10:24 PM

My kids are 3.5 and 2.5. Nekkid-ness is no problem around here. The hubs doesn't like to be so naked around them since my daughter (the 3.5 year old) likes to tell us how much she likes different parts of our body. I mean, can you imagine being somewhere public and having your kid announce that they like daddy's penis? Not so cool. But me? No problem. And I'm told every day how much my kid likes my boobs and booty and whatever else she decides. Ego boost maybe? I figure I'll start covering up once my son starts going through puberty or tells me he doesn't like it so much. I don't know.

Anonymous | 10:37 PM

We are indecent Europeans, so we have family sauna evenings. I suppose at some point the kids will start to sauna and shower on their own, but our eldest is only (soon) 5.

findingmagnolia | 10:43 PM

We've been pretty laid back about the whole thing at our house. We're naked when we're naked and we're not when we're not. Pretty much we end up being naked just when showering and partially naked when changing clothes. We don't flaunt anything, but we don't cover up either. No big deal at this point, and I hope it never is. In fact, our laid back attitude led to one of my favorite Zinashi moments, when she noticed that my husband has something she doesn't and was sure it was a tail. She was so excited--we had just been talking about who has a tail and who doesn't, and he'd told her he didn't. She noticed it, turned to me, eyes bright, and exclaimed, "Mami! Ababi TAIL!" I'm pretty sure she'll be terribly disappointed to hear it's not really a tail. I won't break it to her just yet.

Unknown | 10:43 PM

Thank you for blogging about this and sparking/encouraging the remarks here. I am a new-ish reader and am thoroughly enjoying your blog. I too have been wondering if I should continue to go naked in front of my 2 1/2 yr old son. We bathe together, dress and use the restroom in his presence on a daily basis. We let him go naked or in a diaper in the house and in the backyard. He has recently started noticing body parts and it has been like no big deal. After reading the comments here I feel better about the approach I've taken.

Meemo | 10:47 PM

We're potty training, so our 2 year old runs around butt naked these days. My 12 and 14 year old boys are very private. Very...

I miss the days when they didn't freak out by seeing me in a bra or pantless.

They were both out of the house the other day and I was so happy to be able to walk out of the bathroom naked. Oh how I miss the freedom.

Kristen Howerton | 10:49 PM

My oldest is 6 and I still change in front of him - I figure that will change pretty soon. If he ever seems uncomfortable I will be more intentional about shutting the door. Sometimes my daughter (who is four) likes to shower with us and about a year ago my husband started wearing his swimsuit for that, because it felt a bit creepy. But my kids (age 6,4,4, and 1) don't seemed phased by our nudity or each others' quite yet.

JustTheirDad | 11:25 PM

GIRLS GONE CHILD: Actually, a woman's naked body is much less intimidating, Er, FRIGHTENING to me as well. I totally understand where they're coming from. ;)

Mandajuice | 11:30 PM

I would LOVE to have a more naked-friendly house, but I'm divorced now and nothing kills your family naked time faster than having a semi-live-in boyfriend. It's okay to see your dad naked, because he's your dad, but Joel is not your dad and no matter how much we all adore him that means one thing: PANTS ALL AROUND.

Who knew that becoming a floozy would turn me into such a prude?

Martini Mom | 12:15 AM

I have a 9-year-old son (and a 9-month-old son, but what does he care?) and we're naked all the time. I'm nursing now, so it seems like I've always got a boob out. But even before that, nudity was a pretty regular thing. The 9-year-old isn't at all weirded out by seeing me or my live-in boy friend (father to the 9-month-old) in the nude - probably because that's just the way it's always been around here. He is, though, beginning to get a little shy about us seeing him naked, which I understand and totally respect. Closed doors for him while he's getting dressed, but it's the same ol' naked same ol' for the rest of us.

L | 12:52 AM

We are "indecent Europeans" just like G's family... The boys are 6 and 2.5 and so fart naked bodies are just naked bodies... I will cover up when the time comes that I feel the need to (either for my own or for their benefit).

Autumn | 4:19 AM

We're still naked in our household too. I thought I was done with bathing with my son after he took to sliding up and down my legs (weirded me out a bit) but I just explained that I didn't like that. Now I sometimes pile into the tub with both kids!

Anonymous | 5:00 AM

I really appreciate this post. When going through a divorce (3 years ago), my children's father would say that he thought it was inappropriate that I would walk around naked in front of our 3 & 5 year old.

I grew up in a naked household and was never taught to be ashamed or to think twice about being naked. Initially, his comment made me feel like I was doing something wrong. I stopped being naked in front of the kids and began to teach them about privacy.

After about 4 weeks of the shenanigans, I came to the conclusion that nakedness is what you make it. We (my children and myself) reverted back to our occassional naked ways and have lived happily ever after.

The Sugar Mountain | 5:39 AM

MY babes are 3.5 and 1.5 (boy/girl) and both my husband and I, who are otherwise modest (I think?) will act like its no biggie to be naked. I breastfeed the baby girl and the older one is always coming over to talk to his sister in the middle of it. Its normal. Boobs- we've all got them. I always feel with all the body image pressure on young girls its important to lead by exmple- showing your kids that if you feel comfortable in a body that you don't complain about (I'm sure many moms can't resist this) that they too can feel good about and respect the body that they themselves are in.

The Sugar Mountain | 5:46 AM

PS. Back to the breastfeeding in front of my son... I know in the long run this is going to affect the way he views women's bodies when the day comes for him to start noticing them. Now he knows our bodies are practical and meant for something- even a three year old can deduce that- although we don talk about it too. But, when he starts to see women's bodies as sexual I think it wont be with out that original understanding of the purpose they can serve. Its, what I hoping, will be a healthy mixture of understanding that will lead to a respect for women and their sexuality. :)

Colleen | 5:47 AM

I have two daughters nearly 7 and 3 and the older one is beginning to notice her nakedness. She has yet to make it a privacy issue but I see it coming down the road. We have the same "It's a body. the end" vibe here and I hope it lasts. I will miss the 'nudist buddhist' running around the house.

Kerry | 6:28 AM

I don't have any kids, but I'm really getting a kick out of reading this post. I appreciate everyone's candidness and it seems parents are way more chill than I had previously thought.

Or maybe just parents that read this site :)

Arnebya | 6:54 AM

I love that all of you are so free. In our house we have 10 and 7 yr old girls and a 1 yr old boy (who's just at the stage of whipping off his diaper and gleefully streaking room to room). If the girls come in the room when I'm dressing I won't cover up, but daddy will. The 10 yr old has started developing breasts already (in fact, they're bigger than mine but that is such another topic!). Daddy swears she opened the bathroom door one day fresh out the shower and he went temporarily blind in his left eye. We don't want the kids to be inhibited about their bodies and we talk about body changes all the time. But, we're pretty much clothed, esp him around the girls (while trying not to make it an issue about shame). We are rather skimpily clothed in summer, though.

Charlene | 7:14 AM

Most of the time there was a whole heap o' naked in my house growing up but it just occurred to me that although I saw my parents and sister naked I never saw my bro and likewise he's never seen me, although my sister and 'rents have (and do in context!). I don't think this was particularly imposed on us, but it must have been to have happened all this time. Now it seems a bit wrong to me, like what are they trying to say? What do you think?! Oh no can open, worms everywhere.

Arnebya | 7:17 AM

findingmagnolia: IACU at the tail! My girls at perhaps 5 and 3 saw an, um, photo (ahem) that I took of daddy years ago and exclaimed, "Daddy has a vagina thing!" I guess that was all they could come up with to note the difference.

Jill | 7:20 AM

We're a fairly nude family. We have only 1 daughter and she's on the young side of 2. Our daughter will also bring her toys or crayons into the bathroom while we shower or use the toilet. I figure the latter is setting a good example for when it is time to potty train. She doesn't notice the nudity yet but she will take my bras off the drying rack and tell me to put it on! I'm hoping it's just the pretty colors and lacy textures that make her do that.

Anonymous | 7:22 AM

We have a similar approach as mentioned ere, although sometimes I think it's more out of necessity than choice. I have two boys (3 1/2 and 1 1/2) and they're always at my feet. I don't seem to get many moments alone to shower, change, or use the bathroom privately during the day.

I do wonder often if there is (or should be) a difference in parental nudity depending on the sex of parent and child. I never saw my dad naked, but I still see my mom naked. Since I have boys, should I cut them off sooner? I imagine it will go down that way-they'll continue to see my husband naked forever, but in a few years they won't see me.


Elizabeth | 7:25 AM

We have a three year old and we have similar rules as other commenters- pants on when we leave the house or have company. Other than that we're pretty much always pants-less. I cover my top half up pretty regularly- I'm just more comfortable that way- but my wife and son are often running around in just their underwear.

I agree with you, Rebecca- as long as no one is getting hurt or embarrassed there's nothing wrong with being nudie-tudie (as we call it in our home)!

oh, jenny mae | 7:30 AM

the twins started to shy away from public (out of the house) nakedness when they were in pre-k, but they didn't get it from us. we're still naked at home family. they were just running around the backyard nude last night & miss james was in the front yard having a party in the buff. the boy is a little different. at 5 he's starting to be shy about his "privacy" (that's his privates.) on the other hand, he thinks nothing of running around the yard naked. i think he's still figuring out how he feels about it.


The Dalai Mama | 7:38 AM

We are pretty naked at our house at times--like when changing or bathing--we limit the naked time to that. Kids get naked time after bath to run around, etc. They are young--5 and 3 and we just go with it and try not to make it a big deal. We do say it's okay to be naked at home but not out in public, etc. But I think it's important to not make too big of a deal about it--they are just bodies, etc.

I am certainly comfortable naked, and my body couldn't be far from perfect and I want to make sure I am sending positive messages to my little girl to love her body no matter what.

Tricia | 7:44 AM

Nakedness in front of my daughter has never bothered me (she's almost 5)... but now I have a son, and I'm also struggling with when I should start closing the door or being better about time management, so as to be showered and dressed before the family is up and moving. I feel like my husband (who is only naked behind closed doors) should be the one letting our son see the adult version of his own body, but I doubt he would agree to that. I suppose the final word is, nobody should be naked in front of another person if they don't want to be. You just hope, as a parent, that you're aware of your kid's cues so you can start respecting new boundaries as they emerge.


I grew up in a "naked family" and I remember getting uncomfortable with it around 8 or so. But I was much more modest than my parents realized, I think. I'm an oversharer in my writing, but I don't really want any of you seeing me in a bikini, if it's all the same to you! That being said, I agree wholeheartedly that parts are just parts.

Now, with a 3-1/2-year-old son, I try to make a point of not being bothered by nakedness. Westley loves to be naked—he's pantsless right now, in fact—but I stopped bathing with him when he started going for my breasts like he was going to nurse. It was clearly a game to him (you should have seen the impish grin!) but it made me uncomfortable.

Oh, and as a three-(and hopefully, someday, more-)person, one-bathroom household? We have to share that space. Which means peeing/showering/changing with other people around. I have no idea how long that will last, but right now, that's how it is.

~ Noelle

Margaret | 7:51 AM

Haha! So my family from Western Europe and we definitely had family bathtime (when we had our big 80s Jacuzzi tub) and being naked wasn't an issue until we were pubescent. I'm the oldest, and I definitely wanted privacy once my mom (not so tactfully) pointed out that my breasts were growing, and she started covering up once my brother reached about 10. My dear husband cannot remember ever seeing another family member naked, which is obviously hilarious to me, because how do you live with four other people for twenty years and never catch them naked? But he is totally anti-nudity with our son (who's 23 months) starting probably in a year or so. My son walks in on me showering, changing, going potty so there are no boundaries, but apparently my husband feels weird about, say, throwing my son into the shower with me to bathe him (he hates the shower, anyway). So we have yet to figure this out. I don't mind nakedness at all (unless it's flagrant or attention is called to it) but I think my husband and I have some more talking to do. =)

Jessica | 7:56 AM

Also, my son is always in a diaper when it's hot, and now that were potty training I wouldn't care if he was running around naked, your only young once and at some point you do have to wear clothes! My parents let us run around naked until we were pretty old, like 12! I was the oldest though and it took my longer to grow up than it did with younger sisters.

Amelia | 8:00 AM

Nudy Booty!
So funny that you post this today, because the hubs and I had the rare treat to pick up our son together yesterday afternoon so we headed over to the park that has a water feature so that Asher could splash around. I could care less about him getting his clothes/dipe wet, but nonetheless I was grumbling that we couldn't just strip him down and let him run around for 10 minutes instead of having to schlep around a wet kid with a soaking wet cloth diaper on. My German friend said that clothing was always optional for kids at the water park near house growing up and I was very much longing for those Germanic ways yesterday afternoon.

I hope I don't sound like a total creepster saying this, but I think that it's so important to share some level of nudity because it fosters curiosity about this human experience and because it opens a dialogue about how we all have bodies and how we respect those bodies. I was raised with a sense of mysticism about being a woman, that breasts are celebrated and that there's something ancient and sacred about sharing your body, and I think that a lot of that comes from bodies always being celebrated, not hidden. What's funny is that it's because of this freedom and celebration that I think of myself as being a bit more modest with my clothes (never really bared the ol midriff in the 90s, still treat my cleavage with respect) even though I'll be the first one to drop trou and jump into the lake if the day calls for it. I am also about 10,000 times more likely to pop a squat on the side of the highway than I am to walk into a gas station bathroom, but maybe that's just me? I'm clearly digressing here...

Kids are so perceptive, if we're cool, they're cool, you know? If we get weird about it, chances are they will too. As with all things it seems that if we're picking up on their cues, we're not really going to go wrong.

Unknown | 8:04 AM

My kids still bathe together on occasion but I have 3 so it is hard to fit them all in the tub and I have two boys and a baby girl and she's just curious about that thing the boys have that she doesn't :P (she's 20 months, they are 4 and 7). Anyway, my oldest usually showers or bathes on his own now because he wants to, not because we've made him.

I don't really like for him to see me naked anymore though because he recently commented on my "chesticles" (my word, not his) and although I KNOW it's nothing sexual, I don't necessarily want him to have memories of me walking around the house naked. So, I wear a robe around him. I still shower with the other two so... I think 6 is about the age to stop being naked in front of your kids for me personally but to each his own. I think every family has their different comfort levels, etc.


I've been wondering myself when it would be time to not be naked in front of my son. He's almost 5. I stopped allowing him to take showers with me a year ago when he poked me with his finger. My husband still takes showers with him and I get dressed around him but we're never naked outside of our bedroom.

Tanna | 8:51 AM

At age 5 with my son I put a stop to the bathing together. He asks for privacy when he is using the restroom. We will will change clothes or get out of the bath/shower in front of each other, but restrict the running around playing naked. I think it has to do with each person's comfort and the questions that get asked or the touching the is attempted. I try to stress the private parts and that no one is allowed to touch except for help bathing, wiping or if there is a medical problem. I don't want them to feel embarrassed by their bodies, but also don't want them to cause others to be embarrassed if they are naked or partially bare in front of them. My oldest gets hot frequently when playing outside. He likes to take his shirt off. I am ok with that if it is just us at home, but if he has friends over or playing at their house the clothes are required.

Rachel | 9:07 AM

The problem I see with at-home nudity (which we still rock with the nearly-three year old) is that for little kids it is sometimes hard to differentiate between OK at home and NOT OK outside the home. Like now I'm trying to get my daughter to stop flashing her undies at the (very conservative Christian) neighbor boys CONSTANTLY. She loves her underwear. We made such a big freakin deal about her underwear when she was potty training. And so she wants to show them off. But it is "not polite to show your underwear to other people" is a hard message for her to comprehend. So we're working on it.

But that said, I think "yep, this is my body. I have pubic hair. No, daddy doesn't sit down to pee. Why? Well, he has a penis and mommy has a vagina. Yep, so do you. Poop comes out of your bottom. Yep, there it is." That is all fine. Just information. Not sexual.

Helenation | 9:27 AM

My father would always cover himself up. If my sister and I ever caught him naked he would be furious. I was very curious about why he would do that.
Now that I'm a Mommy I let my son run around naked. He's seen me naked and takes showers with me. Sees his father/my husband naked as well. Husband sometimes tells me that I always have my son naked...but it's not me, he undresses as soon as he steps in the house. I let him. There will enough time for him to be clothed!

Anonymous | 9:42 AM

I have to disagree with Jessica Gottlieb about "age appropriateness". My Catholic Mexican mother made me and my sisters get fully dressed every morning before coming downstairs and eating breakfast with my father because she felt that's what was appropriate behavior. This rule made me feel so embarrassed about my body and even a little scared of my father and other men. When Jessica says that this is about "age appropriateness," my response (as an anthropologist and as a woman who grew up with strict rules about appropriateness,) I have to say that what we understand as "appropriate" is not biological. It's learned!! (See Margaret Mead) My husband and I just started asking ourselves when and if we should stop having family showers (our daughter is 4), but we would never discuss it in terms of "appropriateness" with her because that would instantly tag our family ritual and our nudity as somehow "inappropriate" and therefore shameful. I agree, Rebecca, if it comes from them, then of course we've got to respect each other's boundaries. Absolutely. And I may even decide that I don't feel comfortable with all-out nudity in our household down the line. For now, though, I'm not gonna introduce any sort of shame of self-consciousness.

Linden | 9:44 AM

My kids are still young (1 and almost 3) so there is a lot of nudity in our house. The kids take baths together and think nothing of seeing each other and mom and dad naked. We also take baths/showers together sometimes and so far it has been no big deal. My son does ask about parts sometimes, but mostly it's just cute at this point. About breasts: "Those are for milk for Ada."

I remember growing up that I saw my parents naked more than I wanted to. My mom still loves to skinny-dip, and my dad walked around his bedroom/bathroom naked. I learned pretty quickly not to go in those areas if I didn't want to see something that I didn't want to see.

Anonymous | 10:12 AM

So, I could use some advice on this issue. We're pretty matter-of-fact about nudity. We don't try to hide anything, and we regularly shower with our 4.5-year-old. She sees both of us change our clothes, etc. She and her 3-year-old boy cousin play naked a lot. However, my daughter has started to say things in front of other adults about "I tickled my daddy's penis!" (because her foot touched it in the shower, while he was holding her, and he jumped) and "I kissed daddy's penis!" because she ran over to him and gave him a smooch, and, well, that's how tall she is. So I've tried to talk with her in a very simple way about how our penises and vaginas are sort of private, but ... uuhhhgghhh, I really stumble on the issue. I don't want her to think these are taboo body parts, and I don't want to plant the message "We don't kiss people's private area" because yes, we in fact do. So the dad penis thing. What to say? Anything? Let it pass?

Dana | 10:22 AM

Four kids - two adults - one bathroom. It would be impossible to stay covered up even if we wanted to. Which we don't. Our oldest is seven and shows no signs that she's uncomfortable with nudity: hers, ours or her siblings. Our youngest is frequently in underwear only or his birthday suit. He often runs out to the front porch to see his sister off for school in the buff while my 4 yo twins typically follow after him in just underwear.

Jackee | 10:26 AM

We're not naked all the time people but not "you'd better cover up all the time!" people either. As a nurse, it's important to me for my children to know their parts and the actual names for these parts. I want them to know that mentioning the word penis or vagina is much like saying elbow or nose. Your parts are your parts and we shouldn't be ashamed of them.

MommyLisa | 10:28 AM

My daughter runs around naked and she is five and a half. Only at home, not really at grandma's, but grandma and grandpa help her go potty out in public and take baths, etc. at their house. She isn't even bothered to be naked in front of her 17 year old brother. It doesn't bother him if she has underwear on... :P My hubby is a naked dude. He is always naked and or in tighty-whiteys (underwear around both his teenage kids he so doesn't care) so I guess we are Naked USA too.

Glenda | 10:48 AM

Growing up I always saw my mom so it was so natural. We had no shame of our bodies. When I had my kids I did the same. They knew all body parts (boy/girl) with no shame. They took baths together until they were about 3 & 6, and even when they took separate baths they walked from bathroom to their rooms naked or w/ a towel wrapped around them. If they were changing it was natural. To this day I can change freely in front of my daughter, and I don't have a problem w/ my son seeing me in a bra and undies. It's natural and normal to us.

Hespyhesp | 11:21 AM

This is funny because I just had this convo last week with my co-workers. They were totally freaked out when I told them my 2 year-old son pointed at his daycare teacher's chest and said "BOOBIES!!!" I, on the otherhand, thought it was hilarious and so did she! One of my co-workers actually said, "You know, modesty goes a long way!" Whaaat?! He's two!

Anonymous | 11:21 AM

Naked is the norm around here (2 1/2 y/o boy and 4 y/o girl). My husband wears underwear around the house (he doesn't feel comfortable with his junk swinging free around my daughter anymore), but other than that, we are a naked house.
I really don't see that changing until my kids start to feel uncomfortable. I'll let them vocalize it and then we can discuss what boundaries they feel are appropriate.

This has always been the norm in my family: My mom even sleeps naked with my kids now and even if I'm in bed with her. Funny story: last time they stayed at her house, she got up and was walking around naked. My son says : Bunni-PUT some clothes on. It's time to make pancakes!

MeQueen5 | 11:27 AM

Great subject!
To each his own of course.
You got me thinking about this.
I am a mother of 5 adult kids,
4 girls and 1 son.
A grandmother of 8,
7 girls and 1 boy.
I came from a family of 6 kids.
4 brothers and 1 sister.
All I can say is it must just be a generational thing for our family.
We are just comfortable with the human body clothed or not.
Boys vs. girls nakedness of course take a turn when the development starts or the child wants the privacy
Otherwise we are just comfortable I guess!
My 22 year old daughter walked in on me the other day while I was soaking in the tub naked as a blue jay of course. I told her you may see what your body will look like in 35 years.
She exlaimed...
"I think you are beautiful mom!"

Bronwen B | 12:00 PM

My mother changed in front of us all the time, was naked after showers and stuff, etc. I think that ended when I was 6 or 7, because I thought it was weird and embarrassing. Yeah, it was all me. I don't know why I was such a little prude but I was not cool with nudity at that age!

thedalyn | 12:15 PM

I grew up in Naked House USA and, when I go home to visit, I still often see my parents naked and vice versa (they have a super fancy bathroom so we all want to use theirs, which means traipsing through their room naked).

I'm not sure you can say that this is related, but I don't have any body image issues and I'm comfortable and confident with sexuality (for the record, my parents are still crazy in love and I always knew as a kid that they had sex...duh.). For me, sex and nudity were never a big deal. Now with two little boys and a teenage girl in the house (I still shower with the two year old every night before bed), I hope that we can instill the same kind of...respect? nonchalance? comfort? Yes.

lonek8 | 12:16 PM

I am comfortable with whatever level of nakedness happens in the house - I am working on trying to get the kids to stay dressed a bit more - my 5yo is constantly only wearing underpants - she rips off her clothes the second she gets home and now her baby sister is following suit, and in general I'd like to keep the dressed during normal business hours so we don't constantly have clothes all over the house. But that's a mess/annoyance issue, not really a naked thing. The kids all bathe together - 2 girls and 1 boy ages 5-2, and they will run around and wrestle totally naked while waiting for me to get their baths ready.

I have bathed/showered with the kids and am constantly called to solve problem in between private showering and dressing so I am forced to do things in front of them naked all the time. it's no big deal (although my 2yo has recently become overly fascinated with my boobs, and the groping is a bit off putting, so I try to stay dressed around her, lol). And of course I never get to go to the bathroom on my own either - it's just not that big a deal anymore. My husband is a different story and he doesn't shower or do anything undressed in front of the kids, although he did let our son watch him in the bathroom when we were working on potty training.

I don't have any plans to really change any of this either - when the kids decide they want privacy, or are embarrassed to see their old mom's boobs, then I'll adapt and start covering up. Until then, whatevs

Anonymous | 12:23 PM

We are semi-naked pretty regularly. Baths, changing, hot nights (though we haven't had too many of those yet)...My 20month old usually has a diaper or cotton underwear on though as we've just started potty-training.

Becca | 12:24 PM

My son is 5 and still loves being in all his naked glory. It's an open subject in our house, and he seems to have a pretty healthy mentality on it. If we're in a hurry, I will still sometimes hop in with him and shower. After 5 years though, the questions have pretty much stopped. His favorite thing, I'm sorry to say, is peeing outside. (thanks Papa). He somehow thinks that the world is his urinal and it's at his disposal whenever he pleases. I just hope we can get him to stop before he starts kindergarten.

Molly | 12:30 PM

Kind of following up on Amelia's comment, though this is only tangentially related. Saw a conversation on FB where moms were going berserk telling everyone to make sure their daughters wore shorts under their skirts if they played on playsets in public because of pedophiles. Someone said they'd recently seen one around. I think this is an urban legend. And speaking of sex vs. violence, a bunch of dads joined in and made jokes about shooting a pedophile if they saw one. I think the idea of having a beautiful baby girl, in a beautiful dress, where shorts under it, just out of some paranoia, puts fear of sexuality above a child's enjoyment of her own body. I can't believe we can't even let 3 year olds enjoy their bodies, and be made to think about sexuality at all times.

Point being, I'm pro-nudity until *the child* wants space, and I too remember going to Germany where kids in the summer play naked in public parks. Nudity I think *de-sexualizes* children's bodies, and obsessing about covering up is what makes them grow up faster and lose that innocent unself-consciousness.

guitarhero12345 | 1:00 PM

My kids are 9 and 7. We are a naked house and it hasn't changed yet. We have a pool and like to skinny dip when we come home from a walk or baseball game, we just all strip down and jump in. I want the kids to not be ashamed of their bodies and enjoy the freedom of being naked. It's something that they rarely get to do as adults. My son is the oldest and the most conservative but still hasn't expressed being uncomfortable around us. Both kids, however, are shy and don't want to be naked around anyone else but me and my husband so that is just perfect! I dread the day that I can't just walk around the house topless. I thought it would come sooner but 9 years later it's still okay. I figure when puberty hits my son will let me know that he's uncomfortable and I will cover up then. Until rules or restrictions.


Molly - Yes to EVERYTHING you said.

Sherry | 1:54 PM

We're Nudist Buddhists over here too. My daughter is 2.5 and takes showers with daddy regularly. It kills two stinky birds with one stone and gives this SAHM an evening break. Until she is embarrassed or is old enough to sexualize nakedness, I see no problem with us all running around in just skin. That said, we're not naked in front of visitors -- unless we've had A LOT of tequila.

Sherri | 2:11 PM

First, I gotta say, Rebecca, I LOVE your blog. I have been a dedicated reader for almost 3 years.

I grew up in a totally prudish house. I don't want my kids to feel the shame I did about my naked body so I'm trying to be really open about it with them. My kids are 4 and 1. So far there haven't been any questions about body parts - but I know they will come soon enough. Their favourite thing to do before their bath is what we call a "nudie run". I'm leaving my prudish past behind!

Maggie | 3:54 PM

We are still naked in my house. Our children are 5 and 3. I think privacy and modesty are very much child led. My son (5) still baths, showers, runs freely through the halls, and potties in front of the 3 of us. At 4 he, all on his own, started closing the door when friends came over or going to a different room when playing dress up with a girl friend. My boy and girl still bath together and it's no big deal. Some mothers I know obsess over when to cut that out. I always say the child will let you know when they are ready. Even if they never tell you you can start to sense a little discomfort just as I did with my son being naked around non family members. It's a natural part of a child growing up and I believe you will just know when the time to cover up more comes.

My daughter still showers with her dad sometimes but every once and a while she thinks his "parts" are some sort of fun chain for her to pull. That can be a little awkward...

April | 5:47 PM

We're naked family USA too. Although, since my 14 cousin moved in with us... not quite as much! My little ones jump in the shower with me all the time. My parents were naked too... I would say around high school they started shutting their doors when they got dressed, probably following my angsty teen lead. I think the non chalantness made me comfortable with my body and who I am... I hope to instill the same confidence in my kids.

Anonymous | 6:00 PM

Of course, there's a point where things get weird, but naked bodies aren't the same as sex, and we all need to know that.

My mom still parades around in her undies (at home) at nearly 70, and it's not really anything. Go mom!

SO | 6:11 PM

When I found out I was having a girl I decided that I was SIMPLY GOING TO BE confident, physically around my kid at all times. We shower together and I go so far as rock some naked in the locker room at the pool. So far (she's five), so good. She is fairly amused by my c-section scar. She likes the story a lot.

Anonymous | 6:15 PM

similar to a lot of the previous posters, we were an equal opportunity nudist colony for a lot of years. we have 3 girls - 5, 2 and 7 months. when my oldest was 3ish she became OBSESSED with catching a view of my hub nude. she was totally fascinated. after explaining the diff between boys and girls we limited "cross-cultural" daddy nudity to accidental. mainly because it made my hub uncomfortable to be inspected by our daughter. me though? it's a nudey girl party around here. i answer the question, "why do you have hair on your front heiny" multiple times a week. Ah motherhood!

Anonymous | 6:44 PM

This is a topic that I've struggled with. As a child I was sexually abused for years and grew to be ashamed of my body and feared my stepfather. When it comes to nudity, I've tried to not be ashamed (very hard to overcome) of my body and show my children (ages two and five) that it is very natural. I have showered with them and I don't run for cover if a child comes running through the door, although that is what I really want to do. I'm worried that somehow I will scar them but need to remember that nudity will not do that to them. I was starting to think that my five year old was at that age of needing privacy but is that just my past?
I have had plenty of counseling and it seems that I am still always second guessing what is appropriate and what is not. I see a baby's bottom and my thoughts are first, oh that's so cute, second, was that wrong of me.
I wish it was easier for me to be "Au Natural" in this house. My greatest fear is that I pass my "body issues" on to my children, every day I work so damn hard at making sure I don't.

Momma | 7:41 PM

I still bathe with my 3yr old son but if/when he starts to sexualize my body, or when it has become "weird" then I will stop. He has never asked questions, stared at my breasts or even played with himself. I am ready for when he does ask questions but I'm certainly not bringing it up, and definitely not at age 3. I don't have a problem with my boys seeing my husband naked for as long as they want to, BUT I would not want our daughter to to see my husband naked past the age that she becomes uncomfortable with that. We do have a registered sex offender a few doors down, so there is no nakedness going on in our front yard. The backyard is fair game all day. With the rise in child pornography I can not imagine letting my kids run around naked in a public place where someone might see them or take a picture of them. I think each kid is different, I would cover up or stop being naked in front of each of my kids at varying times depending on them, their maturity level, their inquisitiveness, and if they were aggressive.

robin | 7:56 PM

We don't cruise around the house naked (us adults, that is), but I definitely have no issue changing, peeing, showering, whatever in front of the kids. Also, I am currently breastfeeding my 3 month old so my boobs are hanging out for the world to see all the time! My 3 year old LOVES being naked and hates underwear. I do have a rule that she has to have something on her bum, but that's mostly because I don't want poop particles on my couch! My husband did tell me recently that he is less comfortable with nakedness in front of the kids because, 1) if he showers with them they are eye level with his man parts, and 2) the 3 year old will ask "can I touch your penis?" every time she sees it. So...
But, yeah, like many others are saying. It's no big deal until it is. Bodies are bodies are bodies, and there's no need to draw attention. As long as everyone is comfortable being naked, party on!

Elizabeth | 8:31 PM

I love what the third commenter, Jasmine, said about her dad's philosophy on viewing bodies/sexuality vs. viewing violence. I honestly had never thought about that-- and being an expecting mommy, I think it's time I start. It seems that letting children be around family members who have real bodies is sending an early message that the world is not full of underwear model-esque women or muscle-clad men, but of people who have scars or cellulite or hair or whatever. It would teach them to accept their bodies and not be so obsessed with being what advertisements show. However, so many people are weirded out by nudity (maybe because they've grown up surrounded by said advertisements) that they shield their children from it, yet are completely okay with some of the video games or TV shows their kids watch, or the make-believe games they play where they have guns or bombs or what have you. It seems so backwards.
I admit that I will probably feel a bit shy being naked in front of my child, but this got me thinking about how I really want to try to overcome that and break the cycle of body insecurity that is all too prevalent in our culture.

Anonymous | 8:58 PM

Wow! Guess I am I big prude!
I have an 8 yr old stepdaughter and a 2 year old son. My husband and I change, shower, and use the potty in front of our son, but that is the extent of our nakedness in front of him. He,on the other hand, runs around naked or in just a diaper all the time around the house. Outside of the house, he is always dressed.
This past spring break my stepdaughter stayed with us for a few days which meant she would be using our bathroom to bathe. Well, my husband and I were completely shocked when she just stripped down in front of the three of us and pranced around naked before her bath. She didn't mind being naked around us at all. We felt uncomfortable though. Also my dad was staying with us at the time and we had to ask her to put a towel on before heading to the living room to grab something she forgot. This was the first time she ever met my father mind you
Also, this was going on spring break, she always wanted to watch us change our son's diaper and peek at his pee pee. We always had her leave the room.
Anyway, now I'm second guessing my prudish ways. Am I wrong for not being naked family USA??

PS + Please excuse any misspellings as I'm on my phone.

Tirzah | 4:27 AM

I remember well growing up and showering with my mom. It was never a big deal... in fact, I feel like it had a lot to do with me never having crazy body image issues like some of my peers did.
My daughter is almost 3 and when we get home in the afternoon the first thing she wants to do is get naked. I am just fine with it. It makes my husband uncomfortable, but he is not from a home where being naked was ever okay. I tell him scolding her for it is only going to make her conscious of the fact that it is somehow "wrong" and to be extra careful with girls as they will look for any excuse to be worried about their bodies.
For me, I think our kids have always had ways and WILL always have ways to let us know when they are over something (I am over drinking from your boob//I am over this crawling business//I am over you holding me 24/7//etc.) and that is when it's time to respect their needs; however, it's hard to pick an exact age since all kids are different and there is no internal clock that goes off on their 5th birthday or what have you that says "OK!! STOP with the nakedness!" Like most things in parenthood, we just have to play it by ear!

amyunicorn | 6:14 AM

I'm fairly open to nudity, to a degree. I base my comfort level on the kids' comfort level. I change in front of them, walk from my bedroom to the bathroom partially clothed (I may realize I need to shave my armpits when I only have a bra on)... things like that. My husband routinely sits in the house with only underpants on... that's comfortable to him. My daughter willingly sits on the bed while I change (she's 12 now), and she chooses to avert her eyes when SHE is not comfortable seeing me. It's not like I prance around in front of her, but I will change nonchalantly, if that makes sense. I wear thongs and have been known to walk through the house, and I have often wondered if seeing my entire ass will scar them?! OH NO MOM'S BUTT!! But really? I don't think so.

The kids shared a room until my daughter was 8 and my son was 4, and when they got their own rooms is pretty much when they began to cover themselves up from each other, and us. Our son is very modest and although I still bathe him, he shows some discomfort in actually removing his clothing in front of me. I have to sit with my eyes averted while he disrobes and gets into the water. He changes awkwardly, making sure no one is watching and covering his groin up as much as possible. This is not something we feel we've put upon him, we have actually wondered where this level of discomfort has come from. He makes a big deal of announcing that he's NOT LOOKING while I change in my bedroom if he happens by the doorway or comes in to ask me something.

I remember seeing my mother walk from her bedroom to the bathroom, completely nude, when I was around 10/12 and it wasn't a big deal then, but looking back I think "Ugh, I really don't want that to be a memory of my mother." So it makes me conscious of the kids' level of comfort, and to be modest, not flashy. But also to be comfortable in my own skin, and be an example of that.

Salli | 6:35 AM

I remember showering with my dad at age 3 or 4, but i was totally fixated on the wells of water that our tummies and arms made when he was holding me. No memories whatsoever of his penis. Phew.

Mum never hid her nekkidness at home, even now when she comes to stay, still sleeps naked and doesn't cover up if any of my kids happen to see her. They love her beautiful crinkly skin.

When I was about 16 mum would ask if she could see me naked (sounds creepy but it wasn't) because she wanted to see how the baby she'd given birth to and cuddled skin on skin had turned out as a young woman. I understood, but was a shy teenager and unfortunately couldn't oblige her.
She got her chance however when I was a pregnant 19 yr old in labour - wow how my modesty flew out the window then! I didn't care who saw me nekkid as long as they got that baby out! Right. NOW!

As for my man and I - we sleep naked and our 4 children, two boys aged 9, 5, and two girls aged 3 and 1 see us naked in the mornings when we get up and get dressed etc. They also all bath together which will have to stop soon only because the eldest is getting too big to fit with the rest of them!

I get the feeling that we'll continue to be a fairly laid back family and will of course shut the door if or when the kids decide they'd rather see much less of our nekkidness!

Aside from that, YOU, gorgeous Rebecca, are totally awesome-sauce. Congrats too on the twin carrots!! (thats what they are this week?) x

S | 10:18 AM

I come from a super-conservative Catholic family, so nudity isn't really something I grew up with. Sure, my brothers ran around in their boxers/boxer-briefs, but I can say for certain that I didn't wander around in my underwear. Despite the conservative nature of my family, I still have a memory of taking a bath with my mom, and like everyone else seems to be saying, there was nothing sexual about it. In fact, I remember it as a moment of just spending time with her and I distinctly remember noticing a birthmark on her shoulder. I can truly say I don't remember her "parts"; I remember that birthmark.

My daughter is just turning 2 and while I still don't waltz around naked/in my underwear all day long, I also don't worry about whether or not she sees my body when I go in/come out of the shower. The few times I've needed to get in the tub/shower with her (typically when we're on vacation), I haven't worried that it would scar her memory of me. And I doubt I will worry about that for another couple of years at least.

Can't say for certain if I'd feel the same way if she were a boy, but I feel pretty confident saying that at least it wouldn't weird me out if a son saw my husband naked either.

I guess some of that Catholic conservatism lingers when it comes to seeing the opposite gender. But to each his/her own, and I can totally see why other people would feel comfortable regardless of genders.

Jessi | 10:53 AM

We go naked, but once our girls started having body changes, we started insisting on some coverup. Our dynamic, with a step-father, leaves less wiggle room I think. Even though he's been around since my daughter was 4, there's an expectation from the outside looking in and since someone called child services for me leaving my child napping in his crib while I grabbed the mail from down the sidewalk, I don't want to risk it. With my 4 year old boy, I'd have to staple his clothing on. I've been naked with him forever, but now that he's nearing 5, MY comfort level dictates that he doesn't shower with me. I'm willing to change in front of him, but I no longer wander around naked first thing in the morning. Nothing sexual, it just feels like it's "time".

Gwin | 2:52 PM

A really interesting topic with some great feedback too.

I have a little girl who is 3. I have another one on the way with my partener who is not her biological dad but in the relatively short amount of time we've been together he has bonded so well with her & treats her as he would his own.

Daughter & I are always naked in front of each other - a very naked household indeed, mainly because I struggle to keep underwear in convenient places & am constantly searching the house in the buff & accidentally flashing the poor defenceless neighbours!

When we found out we were pregnant I wondered what to do with the issue of daughter's nakedness around her step-dad. I'd usually keep her in pants when he was about the house just to avoid awkwardness but now that we're to be living together & having another I figured it seemed a bit daft to apply this rule when clearly number two is going to be nappy-changed & bathed & generally naked around us both anyway.

Does anyone else have any step-parent experience in this department?

I shall not stop being naked if number two is a little boy, but perhaps when they reach that age of puberty & change then that is the time the kids may feel more comfortable being more covered up. But for now, we're just going with the flow & I hope that our attitude will enable our growing family to be much more comfortable with their bodies in future!

Anonymous | 6:54 AM

Another Dad perspective: we've had a fairly relaxed clothing-optional household since our kids were born. For me that's been really nice because I really don't like clothes. Our parenting style is to pay attention and do what works rather than have a rigid idea about everything. Kids change, they have different friends, and so on. In our case, rather than our kids wanting to cover up more, it turned out that there were specific people in our lives that were up to no good. I give my kids a lot of credit for speaking up when things weren't right. As far as the actual nudity vs. clothed: my two daughters, now just finished high school and middle school respectively seem to enjoy being naked a lot more than when they were younger. My son and my wife tend to get cold easily and that is usually why they cover up. I'm naked most of the time at home. My eldest sums it up, if you can't be naked at home, where can you be naked?

Anonymous | 12:15 PM

Oh wow. First off, thank you so very much for all these, my faith in humanity has been restored. Secondly, I am not a mother, nor am I married. Thirdly, this keyboard is awkward, so apologies. I am 17 years old so you have a heads up. I don't think I became particularly self conscious until I turned 7, and my nungas (breasts for the more sane of mind) began. Scary stuff when you're seven and your nipples go all weird. Anyway, I think the last time my mother ever saw me naked (purposefully) was when I was 11, and having a bath. That was when she pointed out I most definitely needed a bra (I was quite happily filling a 32A). That made me really uncomfortable. I guess mainly because no one else had started wearing bras, and for PE the girls still changed in front of the boys (I was then mocked and laughed at and went home and cried for hours until I found out the next day my teacher had spoken to them and they had to apologise to me) and I have still accidentally seen my parents naked en route to the bathroom in the mornings (God knows how, they had an en suite) but to be honest, I don't think seeing my fathers 'manliness' ever affected me and my mother was rather well endowed in the basoomer department and I could always revert back to her should I need help. Anyway, my parents never cared much for wandering around the house with no strides on and my parents used to refer to us naked people as 'pink things' and we used to have a little dance. Hehe. My brothers still had baths together even when they were 11 and 9, although the 11 year old didn't particularly want to, we didn't have enough water for a family of five. I guess he must have been really self concious and I still feel for him. My phone felt the need to correct 'for' as 'fog' just then. To be honest, nakedness affects nothing particularly that I can see, and gives you a fairly even view of life and sexuality. It will not affect a childs future relationships, whether sexual or otherwise. Thing is, once I turned about 12 and fell madly for the lifesaver who I was quite good friends with, I started to pay a lot more attention to how I looked etc. as a result, I learnt quite a lot about the human body and the way it reacts to things very quickly. So there you are. Also, I will soon be starting a blog on random information I believe needs to be shared with the world, and I was hoping I would be given permission to post a link to the website to it?

So in all, allow your children to run free and wild, and let them do as the please, because when they become sexually interested there is no turning back, and it will only happen when either you or their friends begin making a deal of it. And again, thank you you have made my day (: