How to Teach Modesty

Updated on March 07, 2011
S.C. asks from Bowling Green, OH
9 answers

My oldest daughter is 4. I've started doing in home childcare for 2 little boys (3 and 16 months). We've never really worried about modesty in my house. My husband dresses in the bathroom with the door closed, but the girls and I don't really worry too much about it. Well, now that my daughter is older and we have these little boys in the house, I need to teach her to be a little more modest (like not changing in the living room). I try to explain to her that we need to start dressing in the bathroom when the boys are here or when we're at someone else's house. She keeps asking me why and I'm not really sure how to answer her with out giving her some kind of weird body complex.
She sees me change the 16 month olds diaper and I know that she's going to start asking about the difference between boys and girls. I just don't know how to handle it! We have mostly girls in my family, so I wasn't expecting to have to deal with this so soon!

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answers from San Francisco on

I don't personally think you have to worry about "modesty" at that age. The little boys you are babysitting are quite young. I don't think it matters if she changes in front of them. JMO.

5 moms found this helpful

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answers from Fort Walton Beach on

We tell our kiddos that when we have guests they need to change somewhere private (bedroom or bathroom). It's totally ok when it's just us to be running around naked or in just underwear but when other people are at our home then we need to be clothed. This goes hand in hand with what is appropriate for others to see/touch - nothing that is covered by a swimsuit should be seen/touched by anyone other than mom, dad, dr. for hygiene & medical reasons. That's the basics for us. Hope you find a way to talk to her that works for you guys. Many blessings :-)

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Colorado Springs on

You have some good answers already. One thing you can do to help your daughter is to get her a pretty bathrobe. That gives her something special to wear when she doesn't have her clothes on.

And, of course, you want to model the modesty that you want your daughter to have.

As for the differences between boys and girls, I wish Mr. Rogers were still around! Anybody else remember Fred Rogers and "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" on TV? He had a little song about boys being made so that they're fancy on the outside and girls being made so they're fancy on the inside. Maybe you can find it online somewhere!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

She's 4 and she will have a ton of questions from now own.

Be honest with her. MODEL behavior with her.

We've never been that modest at my house. Of course hubby dresses alone now but it's nothing for daughter to see me or vice versa. I'm also not one of the ones who run to the fartherest corner in the locker room or run to a bathroom stall to change.

Just don't accidently set her up for a self esteem/body complex.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Muncie on

My daughter's only asked once and I told her it wasn't polite to be running around naked now that she was a big girl. She goes potty like a big girl so now it was time to dress and stay dressed like a big girl. Like it was like saying please and thank you, it's just good manners and grown-up and big kids use good manners.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Lakeland on

I have 6 adopted children and one biological daughter. All of the adopted children are male from India and we used to have a similar modesty issue with our little girl. I was not sure how to deal with the issue. My husband, Bert, suggested that I have a little mommy-daughter heart to heart. I explained to my daughter (who is 5) that boys and girls have different "parts" and that these parts need to be concealed from the other gender until marriage. We also made a game of rushing in the morning to get ready for school. The catch - she has to change in the bathroom. She enjoys this game and has at least developed some modesty. I would suggest implementing some sort of fun game to encourage your child to preserve her modesty. Hope this helped!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

Tell you child that babies need help for everything including changing diapters, etc - so it's OK for babies to be naked around the house - but parents would never walk around town with a baby all naked - right? Well as you get older and more gorwn up and your body grows up there are private parts of your body - that are really only OK for you mom, dad & doctor to see. Tell her as she becomes a teenager it won't even be OK for dad to see cuz he's a "boy" and you're a girl.

If she asks why just tell her it's one of the thing we do in most neighborhoods in the world. You can show her why we stop cars at a stop sign or red light, why we say please & thank you, or hold open the door for someone coming in behind us - that it just makes things work out better with all the different kinds of people who live all around us.

Kids learn societal norms all the time - I don't think there's anything wrong with explaining "that's just how we do things to make everything work out better for everyone".

At this age expect LOTS of "whys" - I never got tired of them - although not all moms feel the same way...

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Tampa on

I tell my little one (5 years old) that being naked around family is ok, changing clothes around family is ok, and both around young children is ok. Guests, family we don't see often and friends 5 and above - we don't do those things in front of because you don't know how they were raised.

I wouldn't worry about the 3 year old boy, nor the 16 month old boy. It seems more of a you issue than a true modesty issue. I was expecting to see school aged children in this post, not toddler to barely pre-school aged ones.

Just tell her she needs to get changed in her room, because that is what big girls do.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Baton Rouge on

When it was just me and my daughter, we had a clothing optional household unless company dropped by. I simply told her when she was little that we put on clothes when other people came by because being around naked people sometimes made other people nervous, and it was rude to make guests nervous.

1 mom found this helpful
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