As a parent, you’re presented with a lot of challenging and often embarrassing situations along the way. Nothing can really prepare you for these situations, but it can be helpful to learn more about what sparks the behavior.
Many of the most embarrassing problems begin during the toddler years, when your little one is developing into their own, unique person. While you hear a lot of stories from other parents about the cringe-worthy things their toddlers have said in public, one problem you don’t often hear about is the sudden and constant need for toddlers to undress.
That’s right – toddlers love to get naked! Once they’ve figured out they can undress themselves, keeping them fully-clothed can become a constant battle that you just can’t seem to win. Not only is this embarrassing if they insist on getting naked in public, but it’s also potentially messy if they aren’t toilet trained!
So why do toddlers love to get naked?
1. A Skill To Be Proud Of
The main reason your toddler develops an obsession with getting naked is because they’re showing off a new skill. It’s huge for children when they learn new things so it’s natural for them to want to show off their new skills.
Toddlers can usually undress themselves before they can actually put on clothes. So that’s why you’ll discover they are more reluctant to put their clothes back on than they are to take them off!
2. Gaining Control
While the first week or so after your toddler has learnt how to undress themselves may be more about showing off a new skill, at a certain point it becomes more about gaining control.
It’s natural for toddlers to begin testing boundaries and acting out against their parents. They don’t like being told what to do, so if you’re finding your toddler instantly gets naked right after you’ve dressed them, it could be an act of defiance. It’s a way for them to let you know that while you may be able to dress them, you can’t force them to keep the clothes on!
3. Simple Comfort
As adults, we associate clothes with comfort as well as a necessity. However, for your toddler, it’s much more comfortable to get naked! They don’t yet realize that running around naked isn’t generally frowned upon! They like the feel of being naked so they’re going to stay that way.
There’s also the fact that those cute little buttons and frills you love so much on toddler outfits don’t always feel as good as they look. Your little one could also become too hot, so they naturally feel more comfortable without any clothes on.
4. Attention Seeking
Once your toddler realizes they get attention when they’re running around naked, they’re going to continue to do it. This largely develops if their nakedness has generated a funny reaction. It can be entertaining the first few times your toddler decides to bare it all and run around the house. However, if they see you laughing, they’ll do it even more.
They especially love to see you getting embarrassed. So if they tend to get naked in front of friends, relatives or neighbors and they see you blushing, that again will spur them on to continue doing it.
Can You Stop It?
So, you know WHY they’re doing it, but the question is what can you do about it? Should you do anything at all?
Obviously your toddler does need to learn that being naked in public is usually not acceptable. This is both a common decency and a safety factor. Therefore, it is an issue you do need to address.
There are a few things you can try to stop toddler nakedness in its tracks. These include:
Choose the right clothing – When shopping for new clothes for your little one, make sure they’re as comfortable as possible. This means removing tags which could irritate the skin, making sure the material is loose-fitting and ensuring the clothes are soft and cool in warm weather.
It also means opting for clothes that are going to be difficult for your toddler to remove. When you’re going out in public for example, a one-piece romper suit would give you peace of mind that your toddler won’t be able to suddenly surprise everyone and get naked!
Have specific “naked times” – As toddlers naturally love getting naked, it makes sense to allow them to run around in the nude during specific times of the day. It could be before bath time or shortly before getting dressed in a morning. If you let them spend 30 minutes or so embracing their nakedness, they may be less inclined to want to be naked at other times.
As with anything in life, the more something is restricted, the more your child will want to do it! So “naked times” are an ideal way to give them what they want in a more appropriate, controlled setting.
Let them choose their own clothes – Toddlers love to be in control, so they’re going to be reluctant to keep clothes on that you have forced them to wear. However, if they are given a choice of clothes, they’re going to be much more likely to keep them on.
Giving them a decision of what they want to wear gives them a sense of control, even though you’re the one who has chosen which outfits they can choose between. So basically, they feel in control, but you’re the one who actually HAS control.
Beware Of Drawing Attention To The Behavior – Drawing any kind of attention to your toddler’s love of nakedness is going to make it worse. This means it’s important to remain calm and avoid yelling, laughing or generally making a big deal over it.
If you’re in public, quietly excuse yourself and lead your little monster to a private area where they can get changed back into their clothes. Again, don’t make a big deal, just calmly help them put the clothes back on.
Overall, it can be quite surprising when your toddler goes through a naked stage. It’s something many parents are unprepared for. However, it’s important to understand that it is normal and this, like other toddler phases, will pass. The tips above can help and it’s useful to understand where the behavior is coming from before trying to correct it.