I have 4-1/2 yo twin boys. We live what would be considered a radical unschooling lifestyle. We don't have a specific bedtime, we don't limit screen time or have food restrictions. It's working out GREAT for us. Because of the trust and freedom, the boys seem to be making "good choices" on their own -- they ask to go to bed when they are tired (around the same time every night), they are not addicted to TV or video games (even though they can play them as much as they want) and, more often than not, they make healthy food choices.
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?
Amy â Unschooling my twin boys, born April 2006 (12 weeks early at 2 lbs each). Astrology for Parenting -- helping parents attain authentic and respectful relationships with their children and families.