How often to bathe young kids?
October 27, 2004 7:37 AM   Subscribe

Parents: how often do/did you bathe your young kids (those too young to handle it themselves). We put our 3 year old in the tub about once a week, sooner if really dirty. Some of our friends dunk theirs every night. Consensus?
posted by luser to Health & Fitness (17 answers total)
2 or 3 times a week, usually--we've got two youngs boys, who insist on getting in together, so it's not something we're really up to every night. (I wouldn't say they've never gone longer than 3 or 4 days in a row, though.)
posted by LairBob at 7:52 AM on October 27, 2004

I'm with you, luser - little kids don't need to be bathed every day - they don't have the smells and secretions that adults do. We never tubbed them until they needed it - you have enough to do without doing things that don't need to be done! In summer it was probably every other day, in winter it was about once a week, sometimes longer.
posted by iconomy at 7:56 AM on October 27, 2004

For our 2.5 year old we do it every night most of the year. In the winter time, when he's not playing outside, we might do it every other night.

Part of the reason we do it is for the routine. It relaxes him before bed and it's a good transition between "playtime" and "storytime + bedtime."
posted by bondcliff at 7:57 AM on October 27, 2004

For us it always depended on time of year and consequent dirtiness. In the summer the little ones were always crawling around in the park in shorts, sandals/bare feet etc. so it was sometimes more than once a day. In the winter they often just didn't get very dirty (face and hands excepted) so bathing was just often enough to stop them getting too crusty.

Some little kids like baths and think taking one is a treat; some are not so keen, and frankly it's not worth the hassle to force them unless it's necessary.

If they otherwise seem healthy, clean, and sweet smelling then once a week sounds fine to me.
posted by Quinbus Flestrin at 8:01 AM on October 27, 2004

Every other night for our two year old. A nice warm bubble gets her nice and relaxed for bed time ... and gives me a few moments of tranquility. Sometimes, though, we just skip the bath, depending on my degree of tiredness or hers.
posted by jasonspaceman at 8:07 AM on October 27, 2004

This is very similar to a questions I was going to ask, thanks or beating me to it luser.

Our 4 y/o gets a bath 2 -3 times a week unless she really gets messy then its as needed.

The question I was going to post was about older kids. I sometimes think my Ex doesn't run my 8 y/o through the shower often enough (2 times a week as best I can tell and then she has 1 or 2 at my place depending on weekend activities). So how about older kids? At what age should they start bathing every day?
posted by m@ at 8:15 AM on October 27, 2004

We put our 3-year-old in the bath a couple of times a week unless circumstances require additional bathing. She has a skin condition that is exacerbated by bathing, so we keep it to a minimum, but frankly she doesn't need that much washing in the first place.
posted by briank at 8:25 AM on October 27, 2004

We bathe our 4-year old and 2-year old twins every night, more as part of their bedtime routine than to get them clean. (We don't necessarily wash then thoroughly every night.) They love being in the bath together, and as an added bonus, the bathroom floor gets cleaner that it otherwise would. Lately, they've discovered the wonders of showering, which is easier (less monitoring) but means more water on the floor.

We are totally flexible when company comes over, or when we're out and get back home late. It usually works out to be ~5 or 6 times per week

For our newborn - it's once a week unless she spits or leaks excessively.
posted by grateful at 8:25 AM on October 27, 2004

My two year old gets a bath every night, but it's part of her bedtime routine- we actively wash her hair and her body every couple of days and as needed (it is carmel apple season, after all.)
posted by headspace at 8:29 AM on October 27, 2004

m@, you might want to check out the "how often do you bathe?" thread for a variety of responses about bathing frequency. My personal feeling is that people don't have to bathe every day if they don't want or need to. However they do have a social responsibility -- most places anyhow -- to not be dirty, unkempt, and/or stinky. Teaching kids how to take care of themselves and pointing out where they may be remiss is useful education. It's a good idea to point out to older kids, especially once they get to that age where they stink more than they used to, that they may need to step up the hygeine pace [you may have a few years yet on this one]. However, forcing the kid into the shower/bath based on a set schedule is rarely helpful and becomes one more "because I'm the dad, that's why" issue as well as a possible source of conflict between you and your ex. I'm sure there are other people who feel that there is a useful value in the routine, and I know there are many people who find it personally very helpful and/or necessary, but my general feeling is that if the kid is clean then the kid is going through the shower enough.
posted by jessamyn at 8:33 AM on October 27, 2004

Don't 3 year olds run around in the own pee and feces all day, generally? Unless the 3 year old is toilet trained, I'd say bating more than once a week is pretty imperative (says the aunt of an un potty-trained 3 year old)
posted by tristeza at 10:10 AM on October 27, 2004

For my two kids (and my gf's four), for kids under 7, bathe daily or at least every other day. They just get dirty, and for the little ones, it helps the transition into bed. Once they get older than 6 or 7, then they learn how to shower themselves, rather than take a bath.
posted by patrickje at 10:25 AM on October 27, 2004

Every day. It's fun and playtime.
posted by semmi at 10:59 AM on October 27, 2004

They are your kids, and I’m not going to tell you how to raise them, but I agree that a weekly shower is really not in anyone’s best interest. I have friends who bathe their dogs more often. Frequent bathing will also allow you more freedom in washing their bed sheets.

That said, I don't have kids, but I baby-sat for 10+ years through high school and college for over a dozen different families. Until the kids were old enough to shower, every family I sat for would bathe their toddlers once a day, but sometimes skip a day on the weekends. Get that kid in the bath!
posted by naxosaxur at 11:02 AM on October 27, 2004

Kids that are too clean are more unhealthy once they hit school: their immune systems haven't had a workout.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:13 PM on October 27, 2004

Private bits, hands, face, and, depending on the season, feet, should be washed every day. More comprehensive dunkings can be less often for sure. Heck I don't even take a shower every day, and when camping I can go 3 or 4 days without getting too funky. As long as the hygeine-mandatory parts (see above) are clean, the rest of the body will do just fine. (Note: for a few days. I'm not advocating a Middle Ages bathing regimen).
Though, as someone pointed out, getting a child approaching puberty into daily washing habits is a good idea to avoid having a 15 year old who is totally unaware that he doesn't smell as sweet as the toddler he used to be.
posted by dness2 at 12:32 PM on October 27, 2004

Why is it that fresh-washed small children smell so great? Fresh-washed adults sure don't, and I can't see any reason why that should be.
posted by five fresh fish at 3:07 PM on October 27, 2004

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