Birthday Suit Squad
Why Do Some Toddlers Love To Be Naked? They Have Their Reasons
As long as the diaper’s still on, right?
When the family is all home, do you find your toddler by following the trail of clothes they’ve stripped off? And when you get to the end, there they are, playing with their outsized car collection or doing a puzzle in their birthday suit? If you have a little nudist in the house who you just can’t seem to keep any clothes on, you’ve probably wondered, why do some toddlers love to be naked? Turns out, it’s pretty normal for little kids to just opt out of clothing, and there are a few different reasons why.
Why do some toddlers love to be naked?
Some kids don’t pay much attention to their clothes. Others love choosing their outfit each day (and feel like a runway model, no matter how mismatched it looks to us). And then there are those who won’t keep a stitch of clothing on their bodies. Like their attitude about most things, when it comes to wearing clothes and why it’s important, toddlers generally just don’t give a hoot.
“We wear clothes for three main reasons: warmth, modesty, and fashion. Toddlers, if they are not cold, do not care about the other two reasons,” says Dr. Peily Soong, pediatrician at Children’s of Alabama. “Toddlers tend to generate more heat than adults or older children due to higher metabolic rates, as well as just being more active, as any parent of a toddler can attest. So, in general, they will want to wear less clothes for warmth.”
Toddlers also have big feelings for such little people, and even slight irritants — like an annoying shirt tag — can be enough to tip them over the edge. “Toddlers have more sensory sensitivity. They tend to be set off by little annoyances,” Soong says. “So, scratchy fibers, clothing tags, tight-fitting clothes, or anything else about the clothes that is ‘off’ can make them uncomfortable.”
Taking off their clothes can also be another way to protest, express their frustration, or test what they can and can’t control. “Control can also play a part with putting on or taking off clothes,” Soong says. “If a child is grumpy, the child may fight to put on clothes or start taking off clothes out of anger if they are able to do so.”
Dressing a toddler who hates clothes
“This is all developmentally normal, especially if your child is otherwise developing normally.”
If you’re wondering how you can make putting clothes on your toddler, and keeping them on, a little easier, Dr. Soong recommends:
- Dressing your child when they are calm and not throwing a tantrum.
- Choosing outfits that are comfortable to wear, like soft, lightweight cotton clothes with minimal tags
- Keep their clothing lighter weight than you may think, and then add layers if they seem cold.
“If you are at home or in a place where it really doesn’t matter if your child is naked or not, don’t stress it. Let them be a toddler,” he says.
TL;DR: If your toddler loves being naked all the time, it’s actually pretty normal, and it won’t last forever. Until they grow out of it, just opt for comfy clothes when they’re needed and let them streak the rest of the time.
Dr. Peily Soong, pediatrician at Children’s of Alabama