Jenna Bush Hager jokes she’s ‘a little humiliated’ by her son’s response to seeing her naked

Jenna Bush Hager and her son
Jenna Bush Hager/Instagram

If there’s one thing about kids, it’s that they will always find a way to tell you exactly what they’re thinking, something Jenna Bush Hager is learning firsthand these days. On the July 1 episode of Today with Hoda & Jenna, the mom of three revealed that her 4-year-old son Hal has, er, coined a hilarious nickname for one of her body parts, and moms everywhere will relate to her mixed feelings about the whole thing.

“Recently while I’m getting dressed—if I do makeup, hair, outfit—which is what I like, Hal likes to come in there and say, ‘Look at your nickels. I like your nickels,'” Bush Hager told her Today co-host Hoda Kotb. “Now he’s talking about something else… it’s nipples. But he said, ‘Look at your big nickels.’ And then I feel a little humiliated in my own home.”

“Do you care about walking around naked with your kids around?” Kotb asked in response.

“No I don’t,” she said. “But not in a gross way.”

“I’m not saying it’s gross, why are you getting offended?” Kotb asked.

“I’m just saying. But also, I’m not walking around. I’m in the privacy of my own bathroom,” Bush Hager clarified, with Kotb noting that she’s getting from “point A to point B.”

“And I don’t have much time because guess what I have to go do down there? Prepare his little food,” Bush Hager responded.

“He walks in and he makes fun of my ‘nickels,’ pointing and laughing and talking about their size,” she said. “And then I have to get on a robe, which makes me hotter. But he’s started to shame me into outfit, hair, makeup.”

All jokes aside, it’s understandable to feel a little stung by your kids’ unflinching honesty, even if you know they have no ill intent. Each person has their own comfort level with nudity around their kids, and something like this would make for a great teachable moment to help little ones understand how important it is to use matter-of-fact language about bodies. Of course, a light lesson in acknowledging that bodies come in all shapes and sizes—at an age-appropriate level they’ll be able to understand—can help foster their own body acceptance and confidence as they grow and change.

Here’s hoping that Bush Hager—who shares daughters Mila 11, and Poppy, 8, with husband Henry Hager—is able to take her son’s quips in stride.

Is it OK for your kids to see you naked?

Surprisingly, there is very little official research on the topic—even the American Academy of Pediatrics doesn’t have an official stance on “appropriate” parental nudity. However, an 18-year longitudinal study of 200 boys and girls who were exposed to parental nudity found that there was no harmful effect on any of the following areas: self-acceptance; relations with peers, parents, and other adults; antisocial and criminal behavior; substance use; suicidal ideation; quality of sexual relationships; and problems associated with sexual relations.

Changing clothes or being nude in front of your kids is a personal and cultural decision that parents need to make based on their family’s comfort level and circumstances. Some factors to consider:

  • The age and maturity level of the children

  • Cultural norms and family traditions

  • Teaching body positivity and normalizing bodies

  • Respecting privacy and boundaries

  • Modeling appropriate behavior

Many experts suggest that casual nudity around young children is generally fine, but it’s important to be aware of and respect children’s growing need for privacy as they get older. Open communication about bodies and boundaries is key.

Ultimately, there’s no universal right answer. Parents should do what feels comfortable for their family while being mindful of their children’s developmental needs. If you have specific concerns, consulting a pediatrician or family therapist may be helpful.