27 answers

2 1/2 Year Old Daughter Self-stimulating

My almost 3 year old daughter has always been very tactile. She is a thumb sucker, blanket rubber, and has always liked to rub the soft side of velcro or her daddy's scratchy beard to self-soothe. She is very verbal and active but doesn't like crowds or large playgroups (more than 3 or 4 children) esp. if she doesn't know everyone. It really bothers her if there are people around whose names she doesn't know. Anyhow, as early as 12 months she would tighten her abdomen muscles whenever she was contained in a carseat, grocery cart, etc. and got bored. People always thought she was pooping so we started calling it exercising.
By about 18 motnhs she discovered it felt good to rub herself on the arm of the couch or her rocking horse. She also called this exercising. It would come and go and she would forget about it completely for weeks at a time and then something would trigger it and she would do it again on and off for a bit.
In the last month it has really increased to where she is doing it 10 - 15 times a day for 2 - 5 minutes each and often in public or situations she feels overwhelmed by (playgroup, company for dinner, etc.) I know she is feeling extra stress because her dad is now working 12 - 15 hour days and so she often doesn't see him at home, just when we have lunch with him. This will only last another 6 weeks as his busy time is seasonal.
She has also complained in the last few weeks about her bottom hurting. I do have an appt. with her doctor in about a week. Everything looks normal, no discharge, etc. and she doesn't seem to have symptons of a bladder infection (but she isn't potty trained so hard to tell). She did have a very red bottom a few weeks ago and desitin helped that so I am looking into medical reasons. I'm not sure if it's the chicken or the egg (is she stimulating more because the area is itchy or is it sore and itchy because she's irritating it by stimulating it too much)
Besides the obvious health questions my main concerns are: the social stigma. I don't want her to feel bad about her body or her sexuality in the future but I also know that if she continues it too much in public someone is going to comment or shame her. I am also concerned about her using it as a primary means of self-soothing (as opposed to thumb-sucking, her blanket, me, talking, etc.)
Has anyone else dealt with this! To be honest it is also embarassing for me but I want to handle it correctly so I don't pass on any of my adult shame or taboos to her. I have read quite a bit from both Dr. Sears and Dr. Brazelton and a few others who basically say to ignore it and tell her it's a private thing that needs to be done in her room (but they both say that's hard to do before they are 4 or 5). So . . . any input into this would be most helpful!

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What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thanks so much for so much input on a not often discussed subject! We had a great visit with her ped. this week. I had her wait in the waiting room wtih my mom while I took the baby in for her "checkup" so I was able to talk to the dr. without her listening and then she came in. Physically everything checked out fine. We are discussing what private and non-private means and it seems to be decreasing. She is very verbal so it is pretty amusing because she has been asking me if this is a private spot or if she can "exercise" here. She has also been asking if other people exercise and if they have to go to a private spot! Grandma is already working on her answer to the questions she knows is coming! So we are just trying to be really matter of fact but also firm about it being a private thing that can't be done when others are around. We have also been discussing all the things that are OK to do in public (suck your thumb, cuddle your blankie, cuddle your mom, etc.). The other day we were over at her friend's house and I heard her telling her little 2 year old friend that she couldn't exercise at her house because it wasn't private but she could suck her thumb because everyone had a thumb! Thanks also to those who expressed concerned about abuse. With my husbands summer schedule she literally hasn't been out of my sight in about 2 months so I can pretty safely rule that out but I know it is always something to be aware of. Thanks again for all the input.

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After ruling out any medical reason, as you are, I think telling her that it is something she should be doing in private might at least start giving her the message. It's not shameful and the way you are handling it is so gentle. Since ignoring it isn't working. I would at least plant the seed that it's a private thing. Yes, at her age it will be hard to get that across, but I think you can gently ask her to stop after you say it.

If I see that my 3 year old son is interested in his private area, I ask him if he has to go to the bathroom. He'll usually say no, and then I ask him to stop touching then. Usually just asking if he has to go reminds him to stop messing with that area. Honestly, it's hard to tell if he has to go, or if it's something else. So, that's an easy way for us to handle it.

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I read most of the responders and nearly all of them told you a similar situation-usually with their daughter or some other child they knew. They told you what they did and how they handled it and sometimes the outcome.

This is taking a huge amount of lip chewing for me but this describes me as a little girl. I was not abused sexually. I remember as early as age four discovering certain things felt good and that after I'd done this a while it was easier to fall asleep. I discovered it in bed because I laid awake for hours unable to sleep. (As an adult, I'm still an insomniac and night owl.)

I never- EVER did this in public. I was a VERY modest child and rather aware of things early though I had no details. I did not want anyone knowing and I recall that the desire was there for it.

Unfortunately for me, my mother discovered one night what was going on when I apparently fell asleep in the middle of it. She confronted me the next day by tossing my instrument of choice-a teddy bear-on the her bed in front of me to watch my reaction. I found I was so embaressed I could not look her in the eyes. She asked me repeatedly what I had been doing and why. My mother shamed me greatly. My bear disappeared. All my teddy bears disappeared after that though my mother must have been sneaky about removing them. It took me until just earlier this year to realize that is what happened to all my teddy bears. I've had an aversion to teddy bears-and realized this was why. One of my daughters likes them and I've caught myself gritting my teeth over having one near by. Took a bit of soul-searching to figure out why.

My mother was NOT comfortable with The sex talk and her explanation was worse than the actual act. I was so grossed out by her explanation that I was uncomfortable around all men/ boys a long time afterwards since I had an incorrect visual in my head. This confrontation with the bear occurred after THE talk and it was Worse than the talk had been.

My mother is not an open person about any of this. She doesn't have desire. I don't really wish to know more at this point. However-she decided this behavior had to be stopped and she began pushing me to be baptized.

One night after everyone else had gone to bed she began to push me again and this time she had an answer for every reason I gave for not being ready. She pushed and pushed and finally I gave in and agreed though I felt sick about it. She woke up my siblings and father so they could get dressed so that we could get me baptized right away there at home. Then she sat me down and made me confess out loud to her all my sins. I told her everything I felt really bad about but left this out. She wouldn't accept the confession without that being a part of it and prompted me by reminding me of "the bear". With tears rolling down my face and deep sobs of shame I confessed that action as part of my "sin." I was baptized that night and ever after I struggled with the desire and need for this action. I felt I was a dirty, sinful person for any time I did it after even well into adulthood and into my marriage.

Taking the teddy bears did not stop me. I found other ways. Most children probably will. I NEVER did it in public. Not once. Ever. I got caught once and paid for it until my mother felt she'd FIXED the issue. To her it was wrong and I'm sure she'd say to this day that it is Sinful.

I have felt such guilt and gone through cycles of striving to be a good christian woman and getting rid of anything sexually exciting down to skimpy bed clothes and through cycles of binging on the stuff. My husband never understood this back and forth but I finally figured out just earlier this year the why behind it.

Took a lot of courage to think back and go through all those memories again but as I did so I peppered various thoughts with prayer. While I was thinking through all this two thoughts became clear to me.

The first thought was that my baptism counted-as I made the choice for myself and definately purged myself of everything I felt was wrong and then felt a difference when I popped out of the water.

The second thought was a realization. At 4 years old why wasn't I sleeping well? During childhood I also had trouble sweating and got overheated easily. I had horrible cramps and terrible endometriosis. I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia shortly after marriage at age 20 and have experienced many other health issues. I finally learned that my pituitary gland is dysfunctional-and my Thyroid doesn't work correctly-so my hormones are very unbalanced and I dealt with the symptoms from early on but didnt' realize it. I figured out that the very STRONG sex drive I discovered early as a child is actually a SYMPTOM! Not my fault! What a revelation!

20 years ago that would never have been considered. If my mother had thought to have me checked out-if my hormone levels had been checked including a full panel of thyroid tests instead of just the three usual ones preformed here in the USA then it is possible I could have avoided many of the health issues I endured later on.

I think you are a marvelous mother for wanting to do right by your child and for getting her to a dr. I will caution you though because today's medical doctors often shrug off things without doing enough checking. I myself know this FIRST hand. My first four doctors tested my thyroid but only did the most routine test. By that one I'm fine...but what is normal for one person isn't necessarily normal for another.

I don't know what a pediatrician might say if you requested hormone testing for your child. In my experience Doctors will often look at you like you are an idiot and have no idea. Any time one does I find a new doctor. I'm the patient or the mother of one and I KNOW what I'm experiencing and I sure as heck know what my kid is dealing with since I'm with them all the time. This attitude has not only prevented further health trouble with me but has saved my youngest daughter's life. (Pediatrician checked out a "tummy ache" with fever that wouldn't go away and diagnosed it as a virus. ER discovered she'd had appendicitis, it'd ruptured and abcessed.) We're thankful she's alive! If I'd listened to just that one doctor-well i hate to think of what might have happened.

Needless to say I'm a lot more open about things and even though some discussions are difficult for me I work to not have that uncomfortableness tinge my daughter's experiences.

I would advise you to look overall at your daughter. I was very shy as a child myself but now I'm very out-going. This email attests to this fact...ha.

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Check out the above website. The woman who runs this is local to Seattle and does free lectures many Mondays. She only deals with kids and sexuality and when I've heard her speak, she's very practical and realistic about it. She's not over the top (in my opinion), but she definately might have some good ideas!

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You've received some excellent advice and support, M., and I appreciate your willingness to bring this issue to the forum.

If you're fairly certain that your daughter is stressed by situations containing lots of people, I hope you will avoid putting her into such situations as much as possible. She sounds like a sensitive child, with behaviors that suggest sensory issues. She'll probably benefit from extra care and tenderness.

I was a quiet, retiring child. My mom believed that was undesirable, so she orchestrated a life for me filled with people and activity that I did not want. I was often miserable, sometimes frantic to get away from all that noise, motion and "static." I had/have sensory issues, but that wasn't even in the pediatric vocabulary when I was young. Now that I'm an adult and can invite people into my life when I have the interest and energy, I do much better in every way, including my general health.

You sound like a caring mom. I'm sure you'll work this out.

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I don't know a way to say this gently - but I am seeing RED FLAGS on this! I was a victim of molestation at the hand of my own father and have seen others like me growing up. The self-soothing is way over the top with the frequency you are describing and a severly red bottom scares the bejeezus out of me. Please be careful to evaluate the situation closely and do what it takes to protect your daughters. My mother did not protect me or my sisters.


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Maybe it would be easier on her and you if you simply helped her replace that behavior with another one. Like if you notice her doing it in public or whatever you take one of her hands and dance with her. This will effectly force her to stop w/o causing emotional damage and teach her that dancing is fun. Or you could pick her up and swing her around in the air after making her forget about what she was doing as well as squeal in delight that she is now an airplane.
The most significant advice I'd give you however is to make sure what ever you do to help replace that behavior make sure its random or she will learn that her self-touching is the trigger. Maybing dancing once, Swinging, eating tasty food, running fast, playing dress up---whatever it takes.

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Well, I am sure you know by now that self-stimulation during that age is perfectly normal. I would agree to get her evaluated, for both physical issues and developmental/sensory issues since she does seem to do it a lot, but chances are there is nothing wrong with her.

From what you write this isn't really so much about self-stimulation, but helping your daughter cope with stressful situations.
I think at this point you have a pretty good grasp on triggers and I would suggest that you try to work on her how to cope with stressful situations. If large playgroups stress her out - then maybe stick with smaller groups or invite just one or two children to playdates at home.
For situations that you can't necessarily control or you don't want to give up (having company over) try to talk to her about what is about to happen beforehand, who is coming, why are they coming, what is the plan for the evening (first we talk, then we have dinner....) and give her a way to retreat if she feels overwhelmed.
Also make sure to vocalize her feelings (fear, upset, excited, nervous...), prepare her for how she might feel and offer more appropriate ways of handling her stress. Don't tell her she shouldn't self-stimulate, just offer an alternative for example:"When you feel really nervous, I will hold you and help you calm down..."
If you can, tone down your activities with her to a level that she can handle easily and them build up from there.

Good Luck.

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Hi M., My daughter started doing this at about the same age, however just at night. This was hard for me because she frequently slept with me and it made me uncomfortable. The thing is, that I used to teach preschool, and used to (in my own head) reproach parents that would tell me to stop their kids if they self-stimulated during nap time. I mean, what kind of message does that send about loving our bodies and developing a healthy sexuality?
About 6 months ago I was given a pamphlet by my daughter's pediatrician at her 3 year wellness check on how to talk to a 3 year old about sexuality. Nothing graphic, just being aware that she will start asking questions, and to answer them simply and honestly...no need to go overboard. I was surprised that that would come up at such a young age. But it has. Anyway, I digress, what helped me was to take her hand gently away when she was self-stimulating, and say, "that is ok to do in private, but only in private" (make sure they know what private means). It took awhile to get the message across, but I was gently, firm, and never shameful. I haven't seen her do it in a few months now. (Hopefully she still will on her own discretion ;) I agree that seeing the doctor is a must. Anytime a child has an issue with her genital area it should be checked out promptly. Also, make sure that she knows the proper word for her vagina. We use the nick-name "Hoo-Hoo" but she knows the real word. When talking to doctors, or God forbid if something has happened to her, knowing the real word is essential!

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Check to see if she has pinworms. they can cause itching and irritation. it sounds gross and it is, but they're VERY common. when she's asleep at night (wait for a couple of hours), you can check her rectom with a flashlight. if she has them, you'll see tiny little worms. they come out at night. the fix is easy--just a pill. my kids had these more than once. I was appalled, but everyone assured me they are common. especially in preschools, etc. good luck!

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As a mom with two "normal" but sensory challenged kids, I'd say get an evaluation by an Occupational Therapist right away. It will help you and your daughter learn appropriate ways to get the sensory input she needs.

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If she is touching herself with her fingers, her hands may not be very clean and could be transmitting germs that are irritating her. Have her wash her hands frequently and try to set aside some special time for just the two of you, everyday. It is hard, but necessary, especially after the baby is born.

You might put her on a probiotic that is geared toward small children and see if that helps the genital area. If she isn't potty trained yet, her genitals could benefit from the probiotic taming her poops and pee so they aren't so acidic.

I agree with the private area. I try to teach my daughter that as well. I also had this conversation with my mom recently over my nephew who just turned 14 and would watch tv and rub himself. I suggested she tell him to go to the bathroom or a room where he was by himself, that it was a private thing to do. I made her uncomfortable I'm sure, even suggesting this. But, oh well...

All is normal, my son likes to rub himself when he gets a diaper change and he has such a silly little grin, it cracks me up. I usually give him time to finish and then finish with the diaper.


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Hi. I tried to skim through some of the responses and I saw the mention of an occupational therapist one time...hopfully I am not repeating..however, as an occupational therpaist myself, I would have to agree that this may be a good option for your daughter. There is a specific evaluation for sensory issues like this one and your daughter can be asessed as to what she specifically may need. We all need different levels of sensory stimulation...some need little as they may get overwhelmed and others may need alot to keep them alert and from getting bored. I would definitely look into this. Once assessed the Occupational therapist will begin working on and prescibing a "Sensory diet" as we call it. It is an important issue, as this can affect her social functioing and her performance at school. I work with adults, however you can find pediatric clinics pretty much anywhere. If you have further questions let me know. Good Luck!

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M., she is also reacting ( don't you think?) to a new baby- and the change in you--- no way you can have the same amount of time and attention for her that you had before - it will be awhile before everyone comes to a time of serenity again-. I told my two girls ( and my boy) now 27,33, and 38 that rubbing their private area was ok in the bathroom or thier bedroom -- I then reminded them once each day- and after that - I'd just gently lead them to their bedroom --saying '' in here - remember?'' -- and the behaviour would eventually go away. Blessings, dear heart -- it will all come round.

Old Mom -- aka --J.

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Good for you, M., for asking. My daughter, who is now 7, has been doing this exact thing since she was about two years old. She discovered it felt good to rub herself against a plastic stool she used to have. I remember being really uncomfortable and embarrassed, and her father was uncomfortable too.

When she was younger, I would try to just redirect her to another activity. As she got older I explained to her that those are her 'privates', and just like we close the door for privacy when we go potty, that if we want to "touch" ourselves "down there" that we do it in private.

My daughter, I am pretty sure, still does this self-stimulation every night to fall asleep.
It makes adults uncomfortable, but that's on us. I have tried really hard not to make my daughter feel ashamed.
Our bodies are wonderful creations. We have the ability to experience such good feelings. As a woman, I would hope that we are all able to teach our daughters to not have all the hang-ups about our bodies and sexuality that our own mothers, or even we, had growing up. It is not "bad" to touch yourself. But it does bother other people if you do it in front of them, so respect their feelings and do it in private.
Teach her to celebrate her body, to care for it, to love it. That way some day (far into the future, yes) she will find a partner who will share that with her in a respectful, loving way.
good luck!

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After ruling out any medical reason, as you are, I think telling her that it is something she should be doing in private might at least start giving her the message. It's not shameful and the way you are handling it is so gentle. Since ignoring it isn't working. I would at least plant the seed that it's a private thing. Yes, at her age it will be hard to get that across, but I think you can gently ask her to stop after you say it.

If I see that my 3 year old son is interested in his private area, I ask him if he has to go to the bathroom. He'll usually say no, and then I ask him to stop touching then. Usually just asking if he has to go reminds him to stop messing with that area. Honestly, it's hard to tell if he has to go, or if it's something else. So, that's an easy way for us to handle it.

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You've seen this response a lot, but: my daughter does this, too. She's 5 now, and the frequency has decreased. We call it her "Private Thing" and she does it in her room. If I catch her doing it at the gym or whatever (usually in waiting situations where she can lie down), I am stern with her, with an "Uh-uh" and stern look. She knows what I mean. I treat it like any other behavior I've asked her not to do (stepping off a sidewalk when I've asked her to stay up there, for example), so it's more of a "listening to Mommy" sternness, rather than a "oh NO NOT THAT!" kind of thing.

It is disconcerting when she won't come to dinner because she's "busy", and when she gets all sweaty, etc. But she is growing out of it. Good luck!

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It sounds like she's definitely overwhelmed to be doing it so frequently (to the point of redness/soreness). It might be worth it to check it out with a pediatric psychologist for some advice. They might tell you it's totally normal, BUT have some wonderful strategies for helping her work through it.

I used to nanny a little girl who did it on the corner of a table, arm of the sofa, corner of the bathroom sink, etc., etc... It got so bad, the palm of the hand she supported her weight on was getting pushed out of shape. Her parents were going through a divorce, mom had started working full-time, they moved to a new house, in other words lots of changes. She phased out of it eventually (I think kids started making fun of her at school), but to her parents it was a signal to get her counseling. She was 4 years old though, so I think going to counseling was more appropriate.

Also, even though the stimulation she is getting is definitely what we would call "sexual", she does not understand sexuality this young. For her it's purely physical, it feels good, she does it. You are smart to want to get some ideas for how to work with the situation now before she is old enough to become "stigmatized" by it.

Best wishes to you.

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I think that if you consistently give her a private place to self-stimulate, like her bedroom or a bathroom or something, that even at 2 1/2 she can learn that it needs to happen only there. I have my 18 month old and my almost 3 year old trained that there blankies stay in their rooms. When they feel like they need their blankie, I will find them in their bedroom with it. I also did this with a boy I nannied when he was 3. He could suck his thumb in his room. It was kind of funny because that was my rule. Mom and Dad didn't care if he did it outside of his room, so as soon as the parents would get home, that thumb was in his mouth. It was like the changing of the guards. I am glad that you are trying to stay away from making her feel bad about it. I used this method to self-soothe as a child, and I think that it was prolonged by my mother constantly telling me how bad it was and that I needed to stop (going to hell, all that good Catholic stuff). It is very natural with little girls as well as little boys. It took me until I was a teen-ager to decide for myself that it wasn't the worst thing in the world for me to do. Good luck, this is definitely a tough one.

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My daughter does the same thing, but with shopping carts & her car seat buckle between her legs. I flipped my wig the 1st few times of seeing her do this because I swore someone was hurting (molesting) my daughter & I was trying to find out where she was learning it from or WHO was doing this. After speaking to the dr & reading that other mommies have gone through this too... it's perfectly normal for children to "self explore" because it feels good. I was told to acknowledge that the action feels good but it needs to be done only in the bedroom or at home where no one else is. Soon she will learn this. Be patient, it's just like you telling her to not eat with her hands & to use her fork or spoon. :) You had to tell her over & over again. Eventually, she will get it. I am still struggling with this because it's a bit uncomfortable for me to see my daughter doing that but like you, I don't want to make her feel shamed about herself. :) A suggestion to you about her rubbing for 2-5 minutes, maybe you should say "OK, I know that feels good but how about let's read a book"? Try & distract her? I don't know... :) Hope I could be some help! Good Luck! :)

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MY daughter went thru the same phase, I would just redirect her and sometimes if it was persistent suggest she go into her room as it was a private activity that she should do on her own. It passed on it's own and anyone that has had kids will understand that kids do this and not shame her, anyone that hasn't had kids... well I don't think they have a right to say much more than "lovely child"
I had a lot of playgroups when all our kids were doing the same around the same time and it got quite comical.. try to have a sense of humour and handle it lightly
Good Luck

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Regarding the sore bottom, you can try a warm bath with some baking soda.

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Hi M.,

I know you've been to the doctor already and things have checked out fine, but I would definitely put her on a probiotic - Culturelle is a really good one. You can get it online at Vitacost or ask at Sam's Club (the ones that have pharmacies) they have the best prices. It can help her tremendously!

1 mom found this helpful

My advice...which I haven't read from any of the other wonderful mothers that gave advice...Please find a Child (psychologist)Therapist for your daughter to talk to... This is for precautions... If you continue to wait, or if you think she will outgrow this, think again...There will be some long-term problems as she gets older if you don't help her now...One of the Mothers advised that she saw this affliction on a television program and it was revealed that it started when the girls were small. I'm sure the adult did not seek help...Why wait? apparently if your beautiful daughter says I can't do this at home, she is still aware of the urges and the "need" to do this in private...Get her help immediately... and you could benefit from expressing your feelings and emotions to someone neutral as well...I wish you the very best...

1 mom found this helpful

Well after reading some responses. I am going to post. When my children did this, I simply told them doing that in non-private areas was not allowed, and to do those things in the privacy of their rooms, where other people are not at. That is a great response. There is nothing wrong with it, but you can get arrested as an adult. :)

That being said the frequency worries me and the sore on her bottom as well. I had a neighbor that had two children. And by the way the daughter was behaving I was sure the child had been molested. It came out years later that indeed she was. She would come home from kindergarten and first grade and had wet her pants, randomly. I understand this is an indicator as well that somethings up. She also molested the babysitters daughter, at the age of only 6. The molested daughter was worried that the girl would get in trouble (the mother found bloody underwear) and refused to tell what happened, so the step-father got accused, causing him to move out to of the house. I know this is probably startling. If there are other signs you are seeing, especially regression, please get to a child phycologist.

I also agree with the other person that said, if the child is anxious around others, then don't expose her to them.

I do acknowledge this could be just self soothing, or stimulation. It's the amount coupled with the rash that makes me see possible flags.

BTW, I don't know if this has entered your mind, but I will say the mother of the child this happened to was sure something had happened, got the girl to a specialist, and it still didn't come out. Not sure if she has let people know who it is to this day. The son was also having some strange behavior.

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Good to hear you have a doctor's appt. I have very little experience with this, but, i remember being a kid and getting a yeast infection. I didn't know it was a yeast infection at the time (but i've figured it out with post-experience comparisons), but i do remember that it itched, so it was extremely compelling to scratch it. I was older at this time, although not really old enough to understand about stimulating myself. Still, i definitely did this in response to an itch, not for the primary purpose of self-stimulating.
Short story - perhaps ask her doc to check for a yeast infection. It could be relatively mild, but still really itchy.

My daughter is also very interested in exploring herself. She has given herself an irritated bottom by handling it too much. We spend a lot of time talking about how you have to be gentle with yourself. We also spend time talking about how important it is to have clean-dry pants because the wet can cause it to hurt.

1 mom found this helpful

MY friends daughter (now 3) has done this (self stimulating) since she was very little. They finally talked to the doctor about it (because, you are right its uncomfortable for adults to think about it)...but the doctor assured them that it was simply that, stimulation. They were told that she should outgrow it. I would encourage you to talk to your doctor about it and make sure that their isnt a medical reason for it, such as an infection or something...my daughter digs at her underwear all the time. Its embarrasing for my husband and I, but she doesnt even think about it, it bugs her so she digs at it...what do you do? Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

my neighbors son started putting a pillow between his legs and kind of humping it as a child.. my friend thought is was cute.. well, it went on.. he would do it in front of anyone.. but only in his house.. where his pillow was. He is now 13 and he is still always rubbing against things.. all his friends, my son included... tell him he is very perverted cause he is always rubbing on things or using his hand to touch himself. The kids think he is weird.. even though most of them are still his friend. I think it's liking your nails, or sucking your thumb.. you get used to it and it's hard to stop. Maybe start with you can do this on 2 days a week... or 3 days a week.. and hopefully go to less time. She feels good when she does this.. but it's not healthy to do it a lot.. because it's hard to stop. Hopefully she will outgrow it.. My son's friend hasn't... good luck..

1 mom found this helpful


There has been times when my daughter has discovered herself while watching TV. She is 3. It has mostly been right after a bath when she is sitting there with just a towl on. I have just told here that we don't want to touch there because then we have to wash our hands just like when we go potty. I don't tell her that is is wrong to touch herself there or "dirty" I just encourage her not to so she doesn't have to wash her hands. She seems to respond well to it.

Good Luck!

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