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Do You Take Baths with Your Kid?

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Rachel Sarah and Dr. Leah Klungness:

kid in the bath tub

We've both had different experiences bathing with our kids, but this much is certain:

Our kids love to play in the water (don't yours?). When it comes to taking a bath or shower to get clean, however, that's a different story.

Our toddler daughters loved to fill up the tub with lots of bubbles and fashion fantasy shampoo hair-dos. One of our daughters serenaded us with "pretend songs" in the tub, too.

Dr. Leah's baby boy, however, could not be coaxed into a bathtub filled with bubbles. And he furiously resisted shampoo.

She never bathed with him past infancy. This choice had nothing to do with gender differences. Her little guy played -- actively! -- in the tub. He loved that watery expanse as the setting for his imaginary flotilla. Sitting on the bathroom floor glancing through magazine while marveling at his fantasy exploits was a welcome respite. (Of course, few magazines survived the watery onslaught unscathed.)

What's bath time-with-the-kids like at your home?

Bathing with your kids is a very personal decision. It seems that most parents think it's fine for a toddler to take a bath or shower with either parent. Things get a bit more controversial after that.

Many parents drift away from "co-bathing" during the preschool to early school age years. Exactly when parents stop has to do with how the parent and the kid feel about this issue more than anything else.

What you're comfortable with depends on the age -- and gender -- of your kid. Also, you're likely influenced by what was considered "normal" when you were growing up.

Here's what we think: when either you or your kid feels uncomfortable and wants more privacy, then "co-bathing" should stop. Some kids (and adults, of course) are simply more modest.

10 comments so far | Post a comment now
ashley April 7, 2009, 8:01 AM

I showered with my son until he was 4 1/2. It was never uncomfortable for either of us. Not every night, just on the nights that I had pulled a double shift, 6:00 am to 7:30 pm makes for tired mommy!! I bathe with my toddler daughter some nights, like when the boys go to cub scouts. No biggie!! Now my son wants his “privakcy” (I know how to spell, that’s just how he says it and its cute). I grew up in a family that was not modest, my dad would sit on the couch in his undies and my mom would walk around in a bra if she was hot. And no, we’re not rednecks, my dad is an attorney and mom a nutritionist!! So, no modesty here!!

birdsfly April 7, 2009, 12:13 PM

My son is 4 and I just stopped co-showering with him. My husband still does on occasion, but mostly he’s taking his own Big Boy showers with me sitting in the bathroom thrusting shampoo at him (kid really doesn’t like baths much!)

Anonymous April 7, 2009, 5:09 PM

I bathe with my child every day…but my baby is still in utero.

Wendi April 7, 2009, 5:22 PM

My son 2 1/2 yrs takes two showers a day and it always starts with one of us in there with him. Then after a while we want out and he says he just wants to stay there so we let him. He loves it. He can wash himself head to toes and just has a blast. Of course we are always in ears shot of his singing and always checking on him. His favorite person to shower with by far is is 12 yr old brother…who is not such a fan of it.

Anonymous April 8, 2009, 12:42 PM

Different gender showers should stop by age 5 about 7 years before ”little boys and girls become young ladies and young men” by six they need privacy from people of other gender if your the same gender as your baby/child/tean it should be fine until about 18

Anonymous April 8, 2009, 2:19 PM

I bathed with my son up until he was age 32. He loves the bubbles. :)

Anonymous April 8, 2009, 2:33 PM

I bathed with my son every day until he was 32. He loves the bubbles. :)

Jamie April 8, 2009, 5:16 PM

wow-my daughter just turned 7 and while i dont make a habit of it-i work long hours so sometime just to save time me and her will shower together-i dont see the harm in it-however i do feel that as she grows it would be inappropriate-like in her teen years maybe-but that isnt gonna stop her from walkin in on me getting dressed or going to the bathroom(i have NO privacy) now i would never allow her to shower with her dad-thats creepy-but im her mom! she came from me-i hardley think she will be damaged from a few shared showers with me a month

Monica Culp April 9, 2009, 3:49 AM

My son is 2 1/2. We don’t do it too often but when me or my husband just want to give him a quick wash up I will throw him in the shower with one of us after or before. Then the other will grab him to dry him up. He is definitely becoming more curious. I caught him trying to inspect the plumbing once. That was a sign that quick showers need to come to an end soon at least with mommy. I say 3 is more of the age it should come to a stop.

Ju April 13, 2009, 11:50 PM

Here in Korea (and Japan) they have public bath houses with men and women separated by floors (at least in Korea). Boys are allowed into the women’s bath with a female adult until they are about 7/8, but are usually taken by a male relative/friend of family when they reach around 5. I agree with Monica, if my son(when I have one) starts wondering about the plumbing, it’s showers with Daddy or Mommy wears a swimsuit! As it is, my daughter loves Mommy&Me bathtime!

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