Is Playing Doctor Healthy for Young Children?
The idea of young children ‘playing doctor’ is as old as the hills, and is actually not a sexual thing in any way, shape or form. This usually occurs when young children undress and look at one another’s bodies, and is very common amongst children during preschool and early school years. There is nothing unhealthy about this and in fact helps to protect children’s wellness and wellbeing as they start to learn about bodies and gender in a healthy, natural way.
Children are naturally curious about bodies – they are very interesting things, if you think about it! Children also learn a lot through role play and copied behaviours, so they can frequently be found playing at being grownups or being married, and this helps to prepare them for the roles they will take on later in adult life.
If you happen to come across your child engaged in this type of play with another child, it is very important that you react in the correct, calm and appropriate way.
Try to keep calm – it may seem horrifying to you that your child is engaged in a behaviour that seems sexual, but it is not actually sexualised behaviour, just natural curiosity.
Some parents choose to simply ignore this type of play and know that it will pass, but others don’t feel it is appropriate to let this behaviour continue. In this case, the best thing to do is to tell children (in a calm way) that the play should stop, they should get dressed, and then encourage them to play in a room that does not have a closed door, such as the family room or play room.
Later, you use the opportunity to talk to your child about the experience. As well as explaining that bodies are private and that nobody should touch their bodies without their consent, you can tell them that there are other ways to learn about bodies, such as looking at a book together.
Comments are closed.