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Should a Toddler Cover Up Her Ta-Tas?

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My 3-year-old girl whipped off her top at a party -- is she one step away from showing up in a "Toddlers Gone Wild" video?


Momlogic's Momstrosity: My daughter has a boyfriend. He's 3 years old too. When the two of them get together, they both like to take off their clothes. Sometimes it's when they're running in the sprinklers; other times it's when they're bouncing on the bed like maniacs. I've always thought it was funny. They giggle like crazy.

But the other day at a barbeque, the boy's dad made a comment that made me give my kid's behavior a second thought. "Look out," he said, chuckling, "she's going to be a stripper when she grows up." Um, wait a minute. Why? His son often greets us at the door sans pants. Does that mean he's going to grow up to be a pervert?

Now I'm wondering if I should ever let my little girl take off her shirt in public. I'm even starting to toy with the idea of forcing her to wear a burka. Do they make them in 3T?

When is the right age for little girls to stop "takin' it off baby, takin' it all off" and start covering up?

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21 comments so far | Post a comment now
SHERRI May 22, 2009, 8:10 AM

Sorry but I don’t see the harm, my youngest daughter used stand without her bikini top on our patio table and swing around the umbrella pole. My husband and I used to laugh and say she was going to be a pole dancer. Don’t take his comments so seriously. But as far as when, I suppose it depends on what company you are with.

Evelyn May 22, 2009, 8:57 AM

The dad was a dork. As to the whole boyfriend thing, she’s a little girl, give her some time to grow up before you start using those terms. People throw them around so much thinking they are cute but it creates an atmosphere where kids grow up before their time.

Barb May 22, 2009, 9:32 AM

I think all 3-year-olds like to take their clothes off. In our situation, it was about that age that we started talking to our daughter about keeping her privates private, but to each his own.

Reenie May 22, 2009, 9:46 AM

While I understand all the parents saying how ‘cute’ it is, there is a danger with that attitude, as you don’t necessarily know who is seeing your child.

Yeah, my kids used to run around the house naked when they were young too, but I see so many parents post their kids pictures on web sites like Facebook without regard to who sees them.

Kids that age get raped too, most often by friends or relatives. This is not the world of days gone by, and we as parents need to be protective of our kids’ innocence even at that age.

Maybe I’m just old-fashioned, but I’d rather err on the side of caution…at what age do we consider our children to be sexual beings?

jennifer May 22, 2009, 9:49 AM

The fact that this is even an issue offends me. I do no think it is cute or appropriate to refer to your 3 year old daughter’s friend as her “boyfriend”. The other father’s comment was disgusting, and I would not socialize with these people anymore. How dare this man make a sexually charged comment about your toddler? I wish you had called him out on what he said. It is natural for three year olds to run around naked, and I am saddened and disgusted that something so innocent has become sexualized.

Maria May 22, 2009, 10:05 AM

I think its natural, after all they are only 3! It seems like in the US, everyone is paranoid about a nude CHILD. Its a child after all and that’s what I did when I was 3, but I do understand that there are sicko’s out there that want to harm children and its better not to have a topless child running around. It’s a real pity, that times have changed so much. I remember being 6 or 7 and running in the rain with my brother in our underwear. In Europe things are much more laid back, babies do not have to have a bathing suit while out on the beach, they run naked and play naked and no one cares.

rugbymom May 22, 2009, 10:07 AM

I am so NOT busting on men here, but he was just saying something stupid. Women say stupid things to other pregnant women, Dads say things like that. My Mom’s husband said something about my kids like that and I called him a perv and moved on. Don’t give it a second thought. The problem with those comments which are really meant as totally harmless (trying to be silly) is that for a fleeting moment, you picture your innocent little princess on a stripper pole. Try not to go there, chances are the guy just had a failed attempt at being funny

Toni May 22, 2009, 10:41 AM

I think she is of the age that you need to teach her private areas are just that, private. This is a good convo-starter with her. Obviously there is nothing sexual about this, but unfortunately there are alot of creepy people that interpret this otherwise. She is at an age where she needs to learn “in public we keep our clothes on, and no one touches you in those areas.”

anony  May 22, 2009, 11:12 AM

Don’t let the fact that this dad made a stupid comment force you to stop your daughter from running around like many toddlers do… naked as they can possibly be… this is natural behavior for toddlers and she will grow out of it … eventually. Till then net time he makes a comment like that I suggest you say something along the lines of “yeah I know she just can’t keep he clothes on… just like your kid… I guess he’ll be a pervert and she’ll be stripper… they will make quit the pair” …. :O) and end with a great big SMILE

Ann May 22, 2009, 1:33 PM

Children are innocent but adults aren’t. So I wouldn’t want my child to feel the freedom to do certain things in public because adult’s minds are very evil and perverted. I think that comment was inappropriate. It should give you insight on what goes on in his mind. Certainly wasn’t the 1st thing that should have come to mind.

Jill (the other one) May 22, 2009, 5:07 PM

Toddlers do not have ta-tas. Period.
And that dad was a jerk to make that kind of comment.

brittanie May 22, 2009, 10:07 PM

She’s three!!My brother once ran down the street completely naked in the snow.He thought it was the funniest thing in the world.They are kids it’s what they do!

monica May 23, 2009, 6:57 PM

If anyone can figure out how to keep clothes on them, let me know. Every time I turn my back, my 4yr old is naked. With the summer coming, I will fight with him about keeping his swim trunks on in the pool when others are over. I let him play outside and before I know it, he’s in the sandbox with his butt out. I admit it is harmless in my mind, but then I read every article about the perverts and my kiler mom protect mode kicks in.

Anonymous May 30, 2009, 6:55 PM

My aunt’s a very open person with all of her kids, and my cousin used to walk around naked all the time - her house, grandma’s house, wherever she wanted to. And this happened way beyond 3 years old. As she got older, it got weirder, but she wasn’t shy. Now she’s a happy, gorgeous, self-confident 17-year-old who is NOT on the path to becoming a stripper! ;) She’s just comfortable with who she is and how she looks, and honestly, I think a lot more girls need that, especially in the teen years… not that I’m saying she STILL walks around naked, because she grew out of that before puberty hit of course.

Karen June 8, 2009, 11:17 PM

“Toddlers do not have ta-tas. Period.” Exactly - no duh!! I was waiting for someone to state the obvious. A three year old girl’s chest is exactly the same as a boy’s. There is no good reason to make her wear a top at all times.

SSinthe City June 30, 2009, 9:15 AM

At 3, your child should be covered at all times in public.

Mnay children are in daycare at that age and it would be highly inappropriate to have children trying to take their tops off all day during a session.

Additionally, I feel this way about little boys and adult men jogging outside. Your body is private, and should be private at all times.

Inside your home is the only appropriate place for partial nudity of any kind.

Jennifer October 5, 2009, 8:34 PM

I let my two year old, who is big wearing a size 4-5T already, run around the house with no shirt, but not outside. I think this day in age, we need to be more careful. There are neighbors, or others around who can be enjoying it in a bad way. Also, she is getting to the age where she will be in pre-school or almost kindergarten, in that setting its usually frowned upon. I, also, dont like the boyfriend thing… My kids know we dont play that and my oldest is 14. She likes boys but knows she isnt ready to play like that nor really have a boyfriend. On the other hand, my step daughter has been taught its cute. I now we have her here at our home half the week, and try my best to show her the right things. Unfortunatly she has experienced more then any 13 year old should. She thinks its okay to have a boyfriend and do these things because her mom praised it or put it in a fancy light. Now she has no freedom at all. She has overstepped her bounderies. Not that all end up that way, but in my experience it has been a bad thing. I hope I helped some.

Colin October 5, 2009, 9:41 PM

The guy made a joke and you’re taking it too seriously, raise your kid right and she won’t be a stripper.

As for the issue it did bring up for you, toddlers should never be naked in public, it’s as unpleasent as seeing anyone naked in pubic. Private around family and possibly friends if they’re comfortable with it seems fine to me. So I guess age day 1 seems to be about the time to start covering up the privates.

Joyce E. Davis November 22, 2009, 11:59 AM

I think its about where its appropriate. Yes my 3 year old daughter and I are naked around each other in the morning getting dressed. But now that she’s in school, I continue to talk to her about not lifting her shirt or skirt and I reinforce that she needs to cross her legs when she sitting down when she’s in the presence of boys or really anywhere public. I think its about etiquette. Boys and girls are curious, but as much as possible, I’m trying to introduce certain concepts (male body parts, why people kiss, etc) to my daughter myself. I know there are somethings that I won’t be able to control, but I don’t want her to think that showing her body is the way to get attention. It was cute when she was a baby learning to walk, but not at pre-school age.

tanyetta November 22, 2009, 2:45 PM

first of all if a grown man said that about my baby girl, HEADS WOULD ROLL.

A STRIPPER? say what now? oh hell no.

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