Learning about Body Parts and Bodily Functions
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From WikiParentingSome of the first words children learn are words that describe body parts. By the age of two, most children can point to their noses, knees, feet and other oft referenced body parts. However, knowledge of the work that these body parts actually perform is acquired more gradually.
 Birth to 2 years old
Children are curious about their bodies even before they are able to articulate their curiosity. You can encourage both language development and the foundations of an early understanding of bodily functions by reviewing the words associated with each body part. You can make learning engaging through the following learning strategies:
 2-5 years old
During the preschool years, children learn to dress and undress themselves. As children become more adept at dressing and playing physical games knowledge of body parts evolves into a better understanding of bodily functions. During this stage, children also develop and interest in imaginative play and as such, their role playing scenarios may take on sexual undertones. When children begin to engage in games of “doctor” and other role play that encourages disrobing and exploration of their own body or that of another, it is important to talk with children about what “private” means as well as explain what things should not be done in front of other people. Children in this age group can begin to understand that sexuality is private.
Additionally, since toilet training generally occurs during the late toddler and early preschool years, children at this age will begin to use language to name their body parts and bodily functions because they are becoming familiar with a certain cause and effect relationship that controls their urination and defecation. It is important to teach children the correct words for body parts and functions so that they do not become frustrated and discouraged by ambiguous language. Knowing the words “vagina,” “vulva,” and “penis” helps children clearly communicate any problems or concerns they may have with respect to physical discomfort or inappropriate touching. Knowing what “urinate” and “bowel movement” mean will also keep the lines of communication between parent and child clear and unambiguous. Even if your child prefers to use slang words, but it is also important for them to know the correct terms so that they may be able to properly communicate any problems that they are having to a medical professional. Since there is so much slang terminology that pertains to urination, defecation and genitalia, health care providers cannot be expected to know all of the words or their nuances. Slang words often mean different things to different people.
Preschool aged children are extremely interested in bodily functions and have probably mastered most of the basic body part terminology. At this stage, body awareness and learning about bodily functions can be encouraged through simple and fun activities: