These are the three “Naked Questions” I am asked with regularity:
1) “Is it okay to be naked in front of my kids?”
2) “When should my kids stop bathing together?”
3) “Is it okay for me (or my partner) to be naked in front of my opposite sex child?”
The short answers to these questions are:
1) Yes. This is a family and parenting decision. If you are comfortable being naked in front of your kids, be naked. If you are not, put your clothes on.
In cultures where they are very open about sexuality with children (like the Netherlands) families are naked together from birth until death. Those countries have considerably better outcomes in terms of their teens’ sexual health.
In the US, we’ve confused being naked with being sexual. Being naked is not being sexual unless the naked people are doing something sexual.
2) Stop the bathing together when they are making you crazy with their antics; you are uncomfortable with them bathing together; or one of the kids requests solo bath time. If there is a 3 year age difference between the kids, and the older child is heading into puberty (8 or 9) I would stop the bathing together. But that’s just me.
2) Yes. I think it’s important for children to see normal, healthy adult nude bodies as they are growing up. That being said, if you are uncomfortable being nude in front of your opposite sex child, put your clothes on.
If your kiddo is approaching puberty, ask them if they are comfortable with your nudity. If they say no, put your clothes on. If they say “I don’t know,” this is often kid-speak for “no.” Put your clothes on.
If you are not a naked family, make sure your kids see some non-sexualized images of naked, adult bodies. Page 13 in Robie Harris and Michael Emberly’s book It’s SO Amazing offers up exactly what I’m talking about.
Blessed Be the internets, as here is a guide: How to Practice Nudity in Your Family