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Child Development

Healthy Sexual Development

Sexuality starts in a child’s very first years of life. It’s an important and normal part of child development, and children need a safe environment where they can feel comfortable asking questions.

When you communicate positively with your child, you create a secure, positive relationship. This can help children feel more comfortable asking you about sexuality in the future. 

Examples of healthy behaviors of children age 0-3:

  • Learning about their bodies through self-touch and exploring their own genitals, often during diaper changes.
  • Having spontaneous reactions that appear sexual, such as an erection.
  • Developing language to describe genitalia.
  • Having comfort with nudity and enjoying it.
  • Being interested in the differences between boys and girls and the bodies of adults. 

Tips for supporting healthy sexual development:

  • Demonstrate healthy physical contact through hugs, kisses, snuggling, and tickling. These positive sensations become associated with being loved.
  • Support children to be private about nudity.
  • Teach that exploration through touching their own genitals is OK and can be done in private, rather than around others.
  • Demonstrate the importance of privacy while changing, going to the bathroom, or bathing by closing the door while you use the bathroom or change clothes.
  • Demonstrate and teach children to respect privacy and personal boundaries.
  • Encourage and use correct terms for body parts.
  • Talk about boundaries as the opportunity arises, such as during diapering or baths, saying that their genitals belong to them and are off limits to others.
  • Be open to your child’s questions, answering honestly and simply in a way that they understand.


Parents and caregivers – we hope you find what you’re looking for here. Whether it’s tips on sleeping, feeding, developmental milestones, or many other topics, we have information for you! Visit again soon, as we update these tips often.




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