When my daughter was just 2 or 3 years old, I noticed her peeking around the door watching me as I was doing my monthly breast self-exam. Her innocence and pure curiosity were a delight! Rather than covering myself, or shooing her away, I invited her to join me.
I explained how I was taking good care of my body, and this is one of the ways to do it. I called it the “Tittie Test.” Without shame or fear, she reached out and touched my breasts, and I guided her little hand as I made the inch-by-inch exam across my breast, chest, and underarm.
As I prepared to examine the other side, I suggested that she removed her shirt too and do her own Tittie Test. Without a second thought, she peeled out of her top and mimicked my movements. We laughed and talked through those precious few minutes, forging a treasured memory of our time together. Like clockwork, we made it a monthly ritual. She even started reminding me, “Mommy, it’s time for our Tittie Test!”
That was more than 14 years ago–how time flies! But those early lessons about taking good care of her body took root, and she is now a responsible young woman comfortable and committed to self-care.
Children are never too young to get the message about taking good care of themselves. And it is not too early to communicate self-care principles to little ones in an age-appropriate manner–even at age 2 or 3. Learning to identify and capitalize on teachable moments to guide our daughters, nieces, and grands toward optimal health is our goal.