We’ve all showered with our parents at some point in our lives, there’s no denying that. Parents around the world bathe their children, either you are one of them or maybe have been one of them at some point in your life. Bathing with your child may seem like an extremely trivial activity but the effects may not be as harmless. Letting the child bathe themselves too soon may spark up hygiene issues because the child may not be able to clean up properly  but not leaving the habit until too long may have negative repercussions that a parent would not want to endure. The right age or time to stop doing so may give rise to quite vague responses and will also differ from person to person and family to family. Let’s explore this topic deeply and understand how a trivial daily activity may lead up to negatively affect the child.

Benefits of bathing together

Kid bathing with parent by PH888 | www.shutterstock.com
Kid bathing with parent 

1) Being comfortable with your body

Bathing together can allow your child to be comfortable with their body and nudity in general. Sometimes as parents we hold a million preconceived notions about nudity mainly because of societal opinions and pressure. But to allow your child to be okay with their body parts is very important. It is liberating, to be free in the environment and enjoy the bath without questioning any features of your body.

2) Learning about private parts

Over time, as the child grows up—they are curious about the world around them. And it is best to answer their questions correctly without hiding or fabricating any facts. It is in the best interest of the child to learn. This allows them to know about their body parts, body parts of the opposite gender, and also accept the difference. They may ask you questions about your body parts, pubic hair, deformed growth, and several other things and you should answer them without camouflaging anything and explaining it to them in a way that they understand the best.

Bathing with parents by Dmitry Lobanov | www.shutterstock.com
Bathing with parents

3) Gender Differences

Bathing with a child of the opposite gender allows the child to learn and understand the differences in the human body and accept them. For instance, a boy child may ask his mom about her vagina and a girl child may also have questions about breasts or hair in the armpits and understand the changes a body undergoes after growing up.

4) Can be a fun activity for the child

Bathing is a super fun activity and it encourages quality time with the child. Playing around with bubbles, props, and other games might make it quite a fun activity and will also keep the child busy and engaged for a while.

Teaching your child how to brush by Oksana Kuzmina | www.shutterstock.com
Teaching your child how to brush

When should you stop bathing with your child?

Essentially, there is no appropriate age to stop bathing with your child, it happens eventually. But some signs should be caught on as parents gradually let go and allow the child to shower by themselves. Over time, the child starts showing signs of feeling shy—this is the cue for the parent to stop. Once the child is about 3-4 years old, it is overriding to teach the child how to scrub and soap themselves. Parents should also allow the child to pick out their clothes and let them dress themselves. It may be tiring in the start when the child is still learning, they may come out of the shower leaving a mess, might mess up the way they button their clothes, pick out a funny combination—in such cases, parents should explain the child and teach them instead of giving in to frustration and taking matters into their own hands. Small activities like allowing the child to decide their outfit, allowing them to learn how to scrub themselves, letting the child wear their clothes encourages them and boosts their confidence—making them more independent.

Girl bathing herself by StoryTime Studio | www.shutterstock.com
Girl bathing herself

Negative effects of bathing with your child

Firstly, to make things very clear, nudity is normal for a child, they do not look at it the way we do. We have a very book-taught concept of it in our minds and hence, feel awkward or embarrassed. Therefore, it is also very important for the parent to not take away from the comfort the child feels or perpetuate any shame towards it. As the child grows up, it is paramount to understand that the child may also have boundaries and it is very cardinal to respect them. Slowly, as they start going to school, it becomes almost necessary for them to build a few boundaries, understand touch and privacy. Another key factor that most parents ignore, is if the child is asking for privacy, they must get it with all understanding. Slowly, parents might see the child getting uncomfortable bathing together, might feel sexualized at times too, and hence, it should be stopped as the child reaches a level of maturity and once they are comfortable with cleaning themselves keeping in mind the hygiene factor. Excessive involvement may be overwhelming for the child. The parents should allow them time and liberty to learn and be independent. Bathing themselves will also help the child learn about hygiene and this is a small step towards making their own decisions and being sufficient.

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