How do you teach your discovering toddler that his or her body is a temple?

My soon to be 2 year old has discovered a sacred part of her female anatomy during bath time. I have just tried to redirect her attention to another toy but realize that this is the beginning of teaching her about the sacredness of her body. Something I never really learned until after really getting to know Christ. (Thank God for Confession and all of our Church’s Sacraments).

I am especially sensitive to this b/c of the current climate of our culture that embraces self-mutilation through masturbation as "normal’ when in truth, it separates us from God. I want to ensure that those seeds aren’t being scattered in my innocent daughter’s soul (especially unconsciously by me). Granted, I understand that she will discover the beauty of God’s creation in all that her body is capable of in God’s own time. My concern is my stewardship over that discovery. I want to ensure that what I teach my daughter about her body is in order with God’s plan for her.

So, I guess continued prayer, and hopefully some insight from parents who have been here/done this would be in order as well.

Prayerfully your sister in Christ,


Don’t get yourself too worried about this. Just redirect if she is too interested. But she’ll probably lose interest after the novelty is worn off. Our daughter did the same thing for a few months, but once it was no longer new, she moved on. The big thing is to not make it a big issue for you, b/c she will then keep it up if you are bothered by it. They have a funny way of knowing what your buttons are and pushing them.

As to teaching her about her body, that’s probably a conversation for a much more advanced age. It would go over her head right now.

She’s 2 and honestly she doesn’t know any better. I would continue to redirect her attention to a toy or something else and NOT make a big deal out of it. It will pass…

Yes, exactly this. Don’t freak out and make it something bigger than it is, which is absolutely normal. Keep directing her attention elsewhere and calm down.

Her sexual organs are no more sacred or sinful than her foot. When she discovered her foot and touched it and laughed, did you make a big deal? Probably not. She’s not masturbating, she’s learning.

I wouldn’t redirect. When our daughter discovered her vagina, we were as happy and full of information as when she focused on previous body parts. She went through a phase where she kept touching and saying ‘vagina!’ :smiley:

Then she stopped. Now she’s fascinated with her belly (maybe because I’m pregnant?). She keeps touching it. Whatever. :shrug:

I disagree. The child should be distracted from touching her sexual organs.

I agree that she is just LEARNING and that’s it’s NOT masturbating. However, I still think it’s important to redirect her, but as I said earlier do NOT make a big deal out of it. The last thing you want to do is give her the impression that she’s doing something wrong or that it’s dirty.

It’s so easy to redirect her by just giving her a toy, or say look at what Mommy is doing, and start playing with a toy, or ask her if she would like to color and give her some bath crayons or bath paint to color with. Honestly the bath crayons and bath paints were my kids favorite thing to do.

The other thing you can do to redirect her is to give her a wash rag and let her wash herself…you could even direct her to wash various body parts including her private areas, because eventual someday she’ll have to do that on her own anyways.

Just don’t make a big deal out of it, and do NOT tell her NO or bad, icky or whatever else comes to mind. As long as you don’t make a huge deal out of it and quietly redirect her she’ll grow pass it. Then when she’s older you can have the talk with her…



Mine grew past it without ever being redirected.

If she’s not masturbating, and is clearly learning about her body, and there’s nothing sinful and dirty about it, why redirect? It would never occur to me. :shrug:

YEP, she not masturbating and YEP she learning about her body AND there is nothing sinful or dirty about. That’s why it’s IMPORTANT not to make a huge deal out of it or to make her feel like she’s dirty or doing something horribly wrong. Simple quiet redirection is enough. 2 year olds are easy to redirect without any major consequence because they are very much here and now.

With that said, I feel redirection is important simply because, just like picking a nose, it can become a habitual habit that in the long run is not healthy. Touching herself could lead to health issue such as urinary track infection or even an yeast infection, not to mention the spiritual issue DOWN the road.

Some kids pick their nose and after a few days it whatever and never do it again. Other kids it becomes a habitual habit that they never out grow. The same thing can happen with self exploration.

For me there is not only the spiritual benefits but there are health benefits as well, it about proper hygiene as much as it about purity. At this young age, of 2, its MORE about hygiene then anything else.

I have 6 children and my first kept masturbating for 4 years or more – I taught him it was an ok but alone behavior (the advice I’d been given at the time) in hopes it would peter out (no pun intended).
My 2nd son wasn’t that much into it after the first explorations. My 3rd keep masturbating after the initial exploration stage until the middle teen years when she understood how it could affect her married sex life. My 4th learned from her older sister but didn’t do it much. My 5th did it every time she felt the urge to defecate, which she hated to do and held back from for days – at 7yo she rarely does anymore. My now 4yodd went from exploration to masturbating every time she lies down and is so angry at me for telling her it is not a good thing to do and to stop. Very strange that so many of my children have not just moved on from self-exploration, but I thought I’d share in case there is help there for others or my own 4yo.

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