When Should You Stop Being Naked In Front Of Your Kids?

Ad failed to load

In B.C. years (that's Before Children), you'd think nothing of walking naked from the shower to your closet or being topless for a few minutes while you hunt through the laundry pile for a bra. And when your baby was still a baby, you probably didn't change your naked ways all that much. But as your child gets older and refuses to let the bathroom door close unless they're on the other side with you, you might start to wonder if you need to to start covering up. Is there a point at which allowing your kids to see you naked isn't the best thing for their development, or is simply inappropriate? Or should you strut your stuff in the buff without caring if your kids see?

Of course, it's ultimately up to you whether you feel comfortable enough to be in your birthday suit around the house. But therapist Dr. Lynn Fraley told Romper that allowing your kids to see you naked won't harm them at all. In fact, it could even be good for them. "The few studies that have been done in this area have found that children who were exposed to parental nudity benefited from it," Fraley, a therapist based in Spokane, WA, explained. "Increased self-esteem and comfort with physical love and affection are present in households where children weren’t sheltered from the human body."

With that in mind, we asked some parents when they started to be more conscious of being naked around their kids. Turns out, age isn't a factor so much as how the child feels — and how you feel about it, too.

Ad failed to load

Some parents see no issue with it at all. "My girls are 6 and 5 .... and I roam around naked," said Betty*, 36. Meredith, 39, agreed: "My kids (boy/girl twins) are 9 and I still do. I figure they'll make it plenty clear when they're uncomfortable with it."

"I recommend that families take cues from their children. They will let you know what makes them feel uneasy and it is your responsibility to be aware of their feelings."
Ad failed to load

Fraley said that this approach of waiting for your kids to tell you know when it's time to cover up is spot-on. "I recommend that families take cues from their children. They will let you know what makes them feel uneasy and it is your responsibility to be aware of their feelings."

Some parents think that it depends on the age of the child, as well as the gender. Wendy, a 39-year-old mom of two, told Romper that while she previously didn't have an issue with letting her sons see her naked, as her older child gets closer to puberty she's beginning to reconsider. "I'm just starting to feel sort of uncomfortable about it with my 10-year-old. I've started to hear him make sex jokes with his friends (nothing outrageous and most of it over their heads!)" she told Romper. Around her 4-year-old, however, she sees no issue with, say, being in the buff around the breakfast table.

Ad failed to load

Many moms feel that being nude in front of their kids can be a teaching moment for them. Thanks to the media's unrealistic representation of what real female bodies look like, some women deliberately decide not to cover up around their daughters to allow them to see what a female body looks like without Photoshop.

"I have 2 girls, ages 3.5 and 9.5. They see me naked all the time (mostly because they seem to love to talk to me when I am in the bathroom or getting dressed!)," Melody, 38, told Romper. "I never thought about not letting them see me naked. I guess I want them to feel comfortable with their bodies and not have to rely on the media for an unrealistic perception of how their bodies should look."

"I think it's important she sees a 'normal' female body regularly so she knows not everyone is a model."
Ad failed to load

Valerie, 35, also felt that allowing her daughter to see her nude teaches her an important lesson about body image. "My daughter is 9 and I am still naked in front of her sometimes, which I see as NBD since she sees naked strangers in the YMCA locker room whenever we go swimming," she told Romper. "I also think it's important she sees a 'normal' female body regularly so she knows not everyone is a model."

This message of self-empowerment is crucial, according to Dr. Fraley, who warned that our kids can tell when we're not feeling comfortable in our own skin. "Hiding behind towels and generally feeling discomfort with your body will absolutely affect the way your children perceive themselves," she says. "If you are ashamed of your nakedness, how can you expect your children to feel good and embrace theirs?"

"If you are ashamed of your nakedness, how can you expect your children to feel good and embrace theirs?"
Ad failed to load

Dr. Wyatt Fisher, a marriage counselor in Boulder, CO, agreed. He suggests being nude around your kids when you feel like it, with the caveat that you stop allowing children to see their parents naked once they start to take serious interest in what's between their legs. "You'll know you hit the age when your child moves from seeming oblivious to your sexual organs to constantly staring at them, making comments about them, and giggling about them," he says.

That's precisely what prompted Jennifer, a 34-year-old mother of 4, to stop being naked around her then-5-year-old son. "He started asking a lot of questions (which I answered in terms he could understand) and there was a lot of staring going on after that so I figured it was the right time for a little more discretion," she explains. "He'll still barge in on me in the bathroom though, if there is something he really needs." It's also different for men, she pointed out: her husband stopped being naked in front of their kids the second they "pointed a certain something out."

Ad failed to load

Worrying about at what point you may go from boosting your child's self-esteem to causing more harm than good seems stressful, but moms who've been there say the decision to cover up isn't something they had to debate. The transition will happen naturally when everyone's ready.

"The human body is a beautiful thing and I think it’s very important for small children to know that it’s normal and natural to be naked."

It's also important to teach our children that nudity can be totally appropriate depending on the situation. "Something as incredible and nurturing as breastfeeding should not be hidden and acceptance of our bits and pieces should be celebrated." Dr. Farley reminds us. "The human body is a beautiful thing and I think it’s very important for small children to know that it’s normal and natural to be naked."

Ad failed to load

So follow your instincts and let your kids be your guide, instead of feeling like you have to stop being naked around them once they reach a certain age. As they develop a sense of modesty and approach puberty, they should show signs of wanting more privacy, which includes having you cover up. As long as they're cool with seeing you naked, you don't have to stress over whether you locked the bathroom door. But it's not a bad idea to have a pretty bathrobe on backup, just in case.

Ad failed to load

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

Being A Dog Parent Prepared Me For Having A Baby, Really

I’ve always wanted kids; I was never as sure about raising a puppy. Then I spent six months living with someone who brought home an eight-week-old golden retriever puppy, and I see no way to make it out of that experience claiming not to love dogs. I…
By Heather Caplan

20 Of The Most Popular Unisex Names Of All Time, That You'll Be Hearing More Of For Sure

You might think of unisex names as a fairly recent trend, but the truth is these versatile monikers have been commonly used throughout history (well, some more commonly than others). That's why the team over at Names.org recently compiled a list of t…
By Jacqueline Burt Cote

How To Have A Date Night With No Babysitter, Because It's Easier Than You Think

After having children, many couples feel that their love lives immediately go out the window, but it's so important to make your romantic life a priority so both you and your partner can be the best versions of yourselves you can be. As we all know, …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

9 Ways Baby No. 3 Made My Family Feel Complete

My husband and I decided to have another baby right after we got married and, well, we had no idea what we were getting into. I got pregnant right away, endured a high-risk pregnancy, and, before I knew it, my third baby had arrived. Together, we emb…
By Steph Montgomery

8 Stereotypes About New Dads That Are *Totally* True

Much like new mothers, new fathers have a lot on their plate. Parenting can be scary and complex, especially at first and regardless of your gender. People want to do right by their kids, after all. And since all new parents are a hot mess, dads are …
By Priscilla Blossom

8 Differences Between Being Pregnant In Your 20s Vs 30s, According To Science

Whether you're planning a pregnancy, or just thinking about your future family, it's typical to think about things like child-spacing, how many kids you want, and when to start trying to conceive. When making your pro/con list, you might also conside…
By Steph Montgomery

16 Moms Share Remedies For Their Most Intense Chocolate Cravings During Pregnancy

For better or worse, pregnancy is usually synonymous with odd cravings. Sure, there are the stereotypical combos like pickles and ice cream that plague gestating women the world over, but there are other mind-boggling combinations, too, including but…
By Candace Ganger

Putting Sunscreen On Your Kid Doesn't Have To Be A Fight — Here's How To Do It

I am almost translucent, so me and sunscreen are basically besties at this point. Even though my children are beautifully deep brown thanks to my husband's genetics, I still slather them like biscuits being buttered because I refuse to take risks wit…
By Cat Bowen

7 Things A Mom Really Means When She Says She Doesn't Want Anything On Mother's Day

Every year my family asks me what I want for Mother's Day, and every single year I tell them the same thing: Nothing. So, by now, they know that when I say "nothing" I absolutely do not mean "nothing." In fact, there are more than a few things a mom …
By Candace Ganger

19 Moms Share The Way They Cured Their Pregnancy Comfort Food Cravings

I was obnoxiously sick during the first trimester with, "lucky" for me, both of my pregnancies. For the first three months I lived on saltines, lemonade, and fresh bread. Once I was able to eat, however, all I wanted was savory and sweet comfort food…
By Dina Leygerman

8 Fascinating Facts About Babies Born In May, The Luckiest Month Of All

The height of all things fresh and springy, May is an excellent month to have a baby. It's a time of growth, graduations, and outdoor celebrations. And these fascinating facts about May babies will give you more reasons than ever to appreciate childr…
By Lindsay E. Mack

I Used To Judge Formula-Feeding Moms — Until I Became One

The other patrons in the hip Brooklyn restaurant probably couldn’t care less what I was feeding my baby, but I’ll always remember the shame I felt as I quickly mixed up his bottle of formula in front of them. I admitted to my childless friend that I …
By Katherine Martinelli

7 White Lies It’s Necessary To Tell To Keep Your Relationship Healthy

Telling lots of lies typically isn't associated with a healthy, strong, lasting relationship, and that's still certainly true, but not all lies are exactly the same. Though you've probably heard from someone at least once or twice that the lie they t…
By Lauren Schumacker

The Skinny Jeans That Saved Me Postpartum

Accepting my post-pregnancy body is hands-down one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. It’s something that I still work on every single day. During my first pregnancy, I was 20 years old, so I managed to bounce back quickly. In fact, I dropp…
By Allison Cooper

7 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say They Feel Safe

In those first weeks of new motherhood, it can feel like you need an interpreter for your newborn. With their limited means of communication, figuring out what message your baby is trying to get across to you can be a challenge. With time, however, y…
By Kimmie Fink

Here's Why Dogs Are Obsessed With Babies' Poop, According To Science

Most family dogs seem to understand babies, and they're more than happy to make friends with the newest member of the pack. It's adorable... for the most part and until you go to change your little one's diaper. Suddenly, you're wondering why dogs ar…
By Lindsay E. Mack

6 Signs You're Meant To Have A Big Age Gap Between Kids

There's a five year age difference between my two children, to the day. Their age gap wasn't planned but, for a variety of reasons, works well for our family. And since I was so focused on having a second baby, I totally overlooked the signs that wou…
By Candace Ganger

13 Unique (& Totally Not Mainstream) Mother's Day Gifts For The Hipster Mom

Hipsters thrive on being outside the norm and not really digging anything considered "mainstream." Whether it's in their fashion, what music they listen to, the books they read, or how they enjoy beverages, there's just something that makes them dist…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Here's How To Introduce Your Pet To Your Baby & Make Everything As Calm As Possible

Our home, which we lovingly refer to as “the funny farm,” is filled with four-legged family members. We have two crazy beagles and two cat jerks, and boy are they loved and spoiled. (As they should be.) But we are now finally having a baby of our own…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Here's The Right Birth Method For You, According To Your Zodiac Sign

If you're pregnant, you've probably given childbirth some serious thought. Some moms-to-be prepare a meticulous birth plan, while others are comfortable just going with the flow. And me? Well, I made a plan... but that plan was useless when faced wit…
By Steph Montgomery

My Dog Knew I Was Pregnant Before My Family Did

Growing up, I was 100 percent sure I'd be a mom one day. To a dog, that is. My baby plans came later. And once my husband and I were sure we wanted both a dog and a baby, we'd add to our joint dog-and-baby name list over Sunday brunch or on date nigh…
By Melissa Mills