Early Sexuality

At 2, your child may begin to ask questions about where babies come from. Try to be as open as possible, but focus on teaching him the correct names for body parts.

One subject that may come up during a pregnancy is how the baby began growing in Mommy's uterus in the first place. Answer these questions honestly and correctly, in the simplest terms possible. Your toddler doesn't need to hear an explanation of sexual intercourse; that can wait until about age 5 or 6. One thing you can start doing now, however, is provide him with the proper vocabulary. Teach him the correct names for body parts, such as vagina, penis, uterus, and breasts, and try to give your child a sense that his body is beautiful and to be appreciated and nothing to be ashamed of.

Parents may be worried at this stage when they discover a child masturbating or playing with his genitals. This is a normal toddler behavior that you shouldn't completely forbid. Try to ignore such touching when it's done at naptime or bedtime, but try to distract your child if you see him masturbating at other times. Explain, "You should not do that around other people, but it's okay when you're alone." Consult your pediatrician if the masturbation seems excessive.

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