Written by Doctor G

Gulp. The 3 year old walked in on us.

What do you do when your 3 year old walks in to mommy and daddy’s room when they are engaged in some personal time? What would be a good answer to “are you hurting her?”

Zev, in Israel

A: The quick answer is: “No.” Even better if Mommy can answer, a smile in her voice, in a calm way. “No, honey, we’re playing.” Then switch the topic to your son and his needs, after all there is probably a reason he woke up and came into your room in the first place. If you take the drama out of the situation (don’t shout, order him out angrily) and just turn the focus on him, he will almost certainly drop it at this age.

Don’t try to hustle him out and get back to what you were doing right away. First off, you need to actually address whatever your child needed or you’re going to get interrupted again in a minute. Also, women’s sexual interest peaks in their brain. If her brain is distracted by something, she is usually going to need a little time to regroup. This regrouping will happen faster if one of you first attends to the child and gets him back to bed.

An underlying question here is what to tell a preschooler who witnesses sex when she asks “What are you doing?” Simple, direct but not very explicit answers are best for most preschoolers.  “Hugging.”  “Playing.”  “Being together.” What does your child do when she sees you shave or cook? She imitates. You may find her imitating this behavior as well, so don’t be too specific about what goes where quite yet.

This is a good age to start teaching kids that they may not enter a closed door without knocking.

Also, lock your door. Your child won’t always be three.

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1 thought on “Gulp. The 3 year old walked in on us.”

  1. I wonder what is worse: the toddler coming in and asking what is going on, and what is all the screaming (which will later lead to interesting conversations and the chance of the toddler imitating what she saw), or locking the door, and have the toddler bang on the door – wondering what was going on there. Then you start discussing who will put him back to sleep: naked mom or naked dad. “wait one second honey I can’t find my…oh…glasses…”. Try getting back into the mood again… In both cases the mood that takes so long to set is gone. This bad dream the toddler had just turned into the bad dream the dad has. Both scenarios (doors locked or not) are true mood killers, which go together with the saying that the best contraception is kids….

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