Although it’s tempting at this stage to organise fun play dates with your friend’s toddlers, don’t expect it to work perfectly. Toddlers at this age, still don’t know how to ‘play’ with other children, so while they are happy to play alongside each other, concepts like sharing or being nice will be lost on them. Children naturally learn from others around them, especially older children, so whilst spending time amongst other children is a positive step, make sure you are in her sight to provide her with security in case she feels threatened or frightened by others.
This month your child’s understanding of her environment increases and so do her questions. She might ask where babies come from and she may show curiosity in you or your partner’s bodies when you are naked. At this age there is nothing wrong with parental nudity, although experts think that by age three, children can become uncomfortable and you may need to keep a towel wrapped around you. It is best to judge nudity by the reaction of your child. If she doesn’t seem bothered by it, it is probably fine for a few more months but if she asks questions, wants to touch or seems upset by it, cover up.
A balance between covering up completely and being too free with your nudity is probably best as you don’t want your children to think negative thoughts about nudity from an early age. Try to teach your toddler that her body is special and should be looked after at all times. You can tie this in with cleanliness and washing her hands. Tell her that her body needs to be looked after just like when she cares for her teddy bears.
Questions about sex can also be a tricky subject but one that must be answered carefully. Your child is probably too young to grasp concepts like sperm and egg so stick to easier ideas like, ‘babies grow inside their mummy’s tummies’, and to further questioning, ‘when a mummy and daddy love each other sometimes a baby is born’. You will probably also need to explain that when she loves someone it does not mean a baby will be born too!
There are also some great books on the market that explain about sex and where a new baby brother or sister comes from.
Have you tried swimming with your toddler yet? Splashing in the shallow end or being held by you whilst you swim is a great way for her to get used to the water.