Bathing with your baby can be a wonderful opportunity to not only bond with them, but also teach them to bathe on their own. It is a way to teach kids about their anatomy and instill basic hygiene in them. However, you should also know when to stop bathing with baby.
After a certain age, it is no longer wise to be sharing a bath with your child. Knowing this will help you have a healthier relationship with your child. Here are a few points you need to keep in mind about bathing with your baby.
Is It Alright To Bathe With Your Kids?
Children can learn a lot by just taking a bath. Parents can use the co-bathing time not only to entertain the child, but also to educate them. Though bathing the newborn is not an easy task, the bathroom is an excellent classroom for teaching your kid about the body, cleanliness, soap, dirt, germs, and a variety of other captivating topics.
A child’s curiosity in their own body begins at the age of two to three years. As a parent, you need to teach your child about their body parts and also how to wash them properly.
The practice of bathing with the child helps to start clearing their doubts as soon as they start to form. Also, they will learn how to keep themselves clean and hygienic. This way, the child will learn the basics without even knowing that they were taught.
Casually discuss body parts and their physical and biological functions with your child. You can naturally bring about the topic of gender differences here. During this process, just remember to use real names of the body parts instead of nicknames like “peepee”, “boobies”, etc.
Bath time is an excellent opportunity to teach your child about how their body changes as they grow. You can bring it up in a casual conversation if they observe any changes in their or your body parts (such as hair in unusual places).
So, the answer to the question “is it alright to bathe with kids” is “yes, it is, as long as it is consensual and age-appropriate”.
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When To Stop Bathing With Baby – 4 Pointers
When to stop bathing with baby is a common doubt raised by many parents. Of these, more doubts are about when to stop bathing with opposite sex child.
Normally, you can stop bathing your baby when they reach school age, which is around five years old. More often than not, the child will express a desire to bathe alone.
This usually happens about the same time they feel uncomfortable being naked in front of you. This point will certainly differ for each child. Several indicators will help you determine whether it is appropriate to quit bathing with your baby.
The following are four indicators telling that it is time to stop bathing with your baby.
1. When the child starts to feel uncomfortable
Taking cues from the child is the best way to determine if it is time to stop bathing with the baby. When the kid starts to make comments and express uneasiness while they have to walk around their parents when they are naked, the parents must stop changing or bathing in their presence.
Girls may not feel any uneasiness seeing their moms naked occasionally, but not when she is with her father. Likewise, boys will be comfortable with fathers when they are naked or changing dress, but more often they feel uncomfortable around their mothers at some point. This is one of the pointers that tell it is time to stop bathing with the child.
2. When the parent feels uncomfortable
The uncomfortable feeling can be reciprocal. At some point, parents may also start feeling discomfort while bathing or changing cloths in front of their children. If you feel uncomfortable bathing or changing naked in front of your kid, take it as a pointer to stop bathing with them.
Bathing with the kid should be comfortable for both parent and kid. Therefore, if you start to feel uncomfortable at any time, consider it as a time to stop bathing with your baby. Rather than stopping suddenly, encourage them to shower on their own, and then stop bathing with them.
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3. When the child starts to ask questions
Children start to laugh and ask questions about their private parts. They may also start making comments on their parents’ physical parts that differ from their own. Boys will ask moms about why their private parts appear different.
Likewise, girls will have queries for their dads as well. Consider this a point to quit bathing with the child. However, it is important to answer their inquiries and clear their doubts before ceasing bathing with them.
4. When the child is about to go to school
At school, students from all backgrounds will interact with one another. The child makes friends with children who would be following different lifestyles. Not all of their classmates have an experience of bathing with their parents.
Therefore, when the subject of bathing with parents comes to their talking, it may raise a lot of questions. This may place them in an embarrassing or difficult situation. Thus, it is better to cease bathing with the child once he or she is ready to go to school.
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Before allowing the child to bathe independently, make sure the child has learned all the basics of bathing. There are two phases for the child to bathe themselves – supervised bathing and independent bathing. The transition from supervised to independent bathing will not be that fast.
How To Make The Child Ready For An Independent Bath?
When a kid bathes on their own while being supervised by a parent, this is referred to as supervised bathing. This ensures that the kid follows correct bathing procedures and that each one is completed flawlessly (or even close to perfection).
This is a step toward independence. Therefore, make sure the kid is paying attention to the particulars of correct bathing procedures. When the parent is there to supervise the child will be more attentive in the bathing process rather than playing around and getting distracted.
Consider allowing your child to bathe independently after you are certain that he or she can follow the procedures correctly. This requires a great amount of faith in the child’s skills. Therefore, keep the child’s skill level in mind before proceeding to this phase.
Some important things to make sure before allowing the child to bathe themselves are:
- The child can follow the right procedure when bathing
- The child will not run or jump or do experiments with the hot water tap
- The child dries correctly after bathing
Independent bathing, besides freeing the parent from a duty, helps in promoting independence for the child. Able to bathe independently can be considered a developmental milestone for a child. This definitely gives them a boost in self-esteem.
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At What Age Should A Child Be Able To Shower Themselves
By the age of four, most children begin to undress without assistance. They may even learn to lather or rinse their hair on their own. However, at this age, they are unable to take all the necessary steps to bathe properly.
As soon as your child expresses an interest in showering alone, you can allow them to do so. Despite the fact that this time frame fluctuates with children, more often they express the interest to bathe alone by the time they start going to school. This is around 5 years.
However, most children at this age do not even know how to properly scrub their bodies or shampoo their hair. So, they should be closely watched to avoid accidents and to make sure they are cleaned properly. A four to five-year-old needs constant monitoring, but a six-year-old requires less.
By the age of eight, all children should be able to shower without supervision or instruction. Even after eight years, if your child is still unable to shower independently, there may be an underlying fear or another issue that has to be addressed.
As for when to stop bathing or showering together with children, there is no mandatory or recommended age. Every family is different, so is their comfort zone. Obviously, a teenager would not want to share a bathroom with their parents.
So, simply follow the child’s cue to continue or discontinue bathing with them. As soon as your child expresses a desire to bathe on their own, you must encourage them.
In any case, what matter is
- How you encourage them to be more confident, to love their bodies, and maintain their own boundaries
- Teaching them the importance of, and practicing, consent and mutual respect
When it comes to parent bathing with a child of the opposite sex there are some matters to be taken care of.
Children do not acquire gender consistency and gender stability until they are 4-6 years old. This means around this age, a girl realize she will grow up to be a woman like her mother, not a man like her father. Around this age, many kids develop a feeling of shyness about being naked in front of the opposite sex.
The concept of privacy will be fully established in children by the age of 7-9 years. So, until she turns four, fathers can shower with their daughter. Again, it is entirely dependent on the child’s comfort. If the girl exhibits any signs of discomfort, the father should stop co-bathing with his daughter.
A father bathing with his son is an opportunity for quality time and father-son bonding. It can also be a time to teach the son about anatomy and hygiene. A father can shower with his son until one of two things happen:
1. The child shows discomfort or reluctance to continue the activity
2. Puberty begins for the child
As soon as that happens, you should stop. But otherwise, parent bathing with a child of the same sex is perfectly acceptable.