New parents often wonder if this is typical behavior. In fact, it’s incredibly normal. They’re exploring their body in the same way they learn about their noses, toes, ears, and fingers.
Touching their bodies, including their genitals, can occur in different phases as children grow. There is no reason to scold or embarrass your child if they touch their genitals.
Should you do something when your baby is touching themselves?
When children touch their genitals, parents don’t know whether to address the behavior or ignore it.
If you discourage your child from touching their genitals by removing their hands yet encourage them to discover and play with their fingers or toes, you’re sending a confusing message.
Unlike adults, infants and toddlers aren’t yet aware of the sexual nature of genitals. They are simply discovering and exploring their world — including their bodies.
Studies have shown that genital touching is common in early childhood. Sometimes kids are so interested in their bodies that they want to show off different body parts. As a parent, how you react to this curiosity will affect how your child views their body and sexuality.
If you strongly disapprove of your child showing off an interesting body area, they may feel the need to be secretive. They may even feel ashamed of their body. But if you exercise tolerance and understanding of your child’s emerging sexual awareness, you can teach your child to respect their body and take pride in it.