I have been pondering the question for some time now, when do you STOP bathing/showering with your kids, and I think it’s mainly because we’ve reached that boundary with our eldest now, and it’s got me wondering what YOU MAMAS have to say on the topic.
There are quite a few different schools of thought on this topic, and I’ve gleaned some valuable information and discovered that the way we do “bath time” in our home is fairly normal and healthy (from a developmental point of view) and I was quite chuffed that despite feeling like I’d missed it, we’d actually nailed it!
I’ve done a bit of light reading online (cause where else do you find information these days), and here’s what I’ve discovered.
It’s a teaching opportunity.
According to psychologists across the world, bath time is the perfect opportunity to teach your babies and young children about their bodies, about personal hygiene and about the differences between girls and boys and bath time is essential to our cleanliness and general health and well being.
We have always made bath time fun, adding toys and bubbles, and allowing our boys to discover their bodies and name the parts (anatomically) without making it awkward and teaching them to be confident in their nakedness, by us not being shy and ashamed of our bodies in the bath room. This “monkey see monkey do” approach works well at this age, and they pick up our unspoken vibe about how we feel about our bodies, and then subconsciously attach it to their bodies. So it’s important to allow them to be free in their undressed state, and learn about their body and body parts.
Stop when you’re uncomfortable.
Rule of thumb is 5.
“The general rule of thumb is by the time children reach school age, around five years old, they shouldn’t be showering with you,” says Dr. Richard Beyer, a licensed psychologist in Arcadia, California. “That’s the conventional wisdom, the general cutoff line.”https://www.fatherly.com/parenting/how-to-shower-naked-parents-teaching-bathroom/
I’m happy to go with this age, and have told my eldest that Mommy will no longer bath with him because it’s time for mommy to bath alone and have some time to herself. That way, he’s not attaching the idea to something he did, but to something mommy wants. At the same time, we are telling him that when mommy or daddy are in the bath or shower it’s private time, so he can start understanding that bath time and toilet time are not shared time, especially when he starts at big school next year. That he can start understanding privacy for himself as well as for others.
Body autonomy, independence and responsibility for cleaning themselves.
I utilise bath time to get them into the habit of brushing their teeth and learning how to wash themselves using soap and a facecloth (you could use a sponge or whatever). They are expected to brush their own teeth (the little one gets a bit of help) and they must wash their own bums and willies and their faces. My eldest is getting good at washing himself, but my youngest still needs me to help me after he’s had a try.
This teaches them independence and a self reliance that they will need later on in life, and I truly believe that if you want them to be clean teenagers, you need to instill those habits as early as possible. We start now, that’s why raising kids is so hard, we have to teach them to be clean, respectful and considerate when they are so tiny so that when they get to the age when you can’t tell them what to do anymore, that those values are set deep into their character already.
I would LOVE to hear what your thoughts are on this topic! So please leave them in the comments!