Where I'm a little conflicted is in regard to clothing. We live in California, so the weather is generally mild. My kids prefer to go naked -- winter, spring, summer and fall. Fortunately, they somehow intuitively understand that, when we go somewhere in the car, they must get dressed, but it's always the very last thing they do before we walk out the door. And the moment we return home, they both immediately shed their clothing and basically stay that way until the next time we go somewhere.
My husband and I are fine with their choice, although we prefer to wear clothing ourselves...we aren't actually modeling nudity. And most of our close friends and child care providers are used to the boys being naked. When they were little guys, visitors mostly found it adorable (one time I opened the door for the UPS driver who was delivering diapers and he exclaimed, "looks like I got here just in the nick of time!). But, as the kids get older, the appropriateness of having naked boys running around when visitors/plumbers/salespeople arrive at the door seems questionable. Not to mention, the boys like to run out into the front yard to wave goodbye to guests (which is complicated by the fact that we live along an open bike trail, so lots of exposure to strangers).
Naked children almost always provoke a comment, sometimes jokingly, other times not so much...one passerby actually called the neighborhood security patrol because she was concerned for the children's safety (in terms of predators...something I naively hadn't considered). So it's becoming apparent that we may need to impose "rules" around wearing clothing.
Anybody else have a 4yo that prefers nudity? Do you make your child get dressed when the cable guy comes? Or when he/she is within visual range of neighbors/strangers? Or when other children come over for a playdate? If so, what are your rules/guidelines? And how do you explain this social convention to a child without invoking some sort of body shame or fear? Is it possible to explain it in such a way that they can retain the belief that their body is beautiful even though people prefer they cover it up?
And then talk about places and people who are okay with nudity. And brainstorm situations where it might not be okay. And nurture their understanding of the issues over time, revisiting the issue regularly as they meet different situations and make their choices.
At least, that's what I'd try first.
Mountain mama to two great kids and two great grown-ups
I would just talk to them, with my dd even when she was young just explaining that this is what we need to do and why would be enough. Even though she might need a gentle reminder once in awhile.
I insist on clothes:
to go outside (i'm in scotland, there aren't many days a year when nudity outdoors is a good idea in terms of the temperature/weather!)
when guests are coming
when we're going out
for lunch/dinner mealtimes (DD helps me cook which simply isn't safe naked, and also isn't the tidiest eater, ditto on the safety - hot lasagne on your thigh? YOUCH!)
The rest of the time she can wear whatever she wants and when i say "put clothes on" if it's to cook or go in the garden she can choose whatever she wants, if we're going out or guests are coming then there is a range of acceptability (i.e she can't choose to wear only her super hero cape i made her...).
Created an instant family (7/89 and 5/91) in 1997. Made a baby boy 12/05 adopted a baby girl 8/08. Ask me about tandem adoptive nursing. Now living as gluten, dairy, cane sugar, and tomato free vegetarians. Homeschooling and loving it.
Jen 47 DS C 2/03 04/29/08/ DD S 10/28/09 DH Bill '97.
mighty-mama and her sister Kundalini-Mama
We just explained to the kids a few months ago (when we moved to an area where neighbours actually do stop by unannounced) that in our society people wear clothes, that it's okay for little babies and toddlers but that it is not considered respectful for older kids or adults to appear naked in public or when guests are over. They seemed to just accept this.
Certainly I think overall we have a pretty open attitude towards sex and body image, so I don't think it would occur to them that there is something "wrong" with being naked. It's the same thing as going to the bathroom: a normal human function, but not one you usually do in front of others.
Homeschooling, Homesteading Mama to DD ('02) and DS ('04)
I encourage clothing if guests are coming over, but it sometimes depends on my perceived comfort level of the guest(s) in question. Usually if someone is expected over, the kids want to get dressed - of course if we're having company I usually put on something a little nicer than pj's so they want to get "dressed up" too.
If one or the other is nude and an unexpected guest arrives, I judge the situation before addressing the clothing issue... UPS guy? Distract kiddo away from the door for a minute. MIL? Let's go put on clothes so you can visit because she will make an issue of it. My mom? Eh, whatever, she doesn't care.
I just tell my son, "In our society people wear clothes when they're in public."
We didn't make any references to whether or not people thought the human body was beautiful--it was just discussed as a cultural practice, much like removing hats indoors, shaking hands, putting the napkin on your lap, etc. etc.
Single Mom to 3 (12, 17 & 21) and .