Is there a 'right' age to stop bathing with your child?
When is a child too old to bathe with their parents? We got honest answers from more than 1,400 parents as well as expert advice from an educational psychologist
Every now and the topic of parents bathing with their kids coms up - and more often than not, it causes a right hullabaloo.
Stacey Solomon got stick for revealing she was still bathing with her sons, then aged 9 and 5.
And then there was the mum that got criticised for not allowing her husband to bathe with their daughters at all.
We asked 1,427 parents about this topic, dividing it in 2 questions:
- When would you stop bathing with a same sex child?
- When would you stop bathing with an opposite sex child?
The most popular answer to both these questions was that the respondents (almost 25% in both cases) had never bathed with their kids.
But, of those that did, when we asked at what age they'd stop bathing with a same sex child, the most popular answers were:
- 5 years or not sure (both 9%)
- 4 or 6 years (both 6%)
- 8 years (5%)
And when we asked about bathing with an opposite sex child, the most popular answers were:
- 5 years (10%)
- 3 or 4 years (7%)
- Under 2 years
(The graphs show bathing with a same sex child on the left and with an opposite sex child on the right...)
What our mums said
When we probed further on this one, we got some really interesting comments. Los of people said that once it was obvious your child is embarrassed or shy then it's probably time to stop bathing with them - but the age when that happens varies.
And even more pointed out that, for them, once their kids hit 2 or 3 there wasn't room in the tub for everyone!
One parent, who has 3 kids, the oldest being 11, said: "We have an open door policy on our bathroom and comfortable with our bodies. We rarely bath together but if they wanted to hop in our bath then they could."
Another, a parent of a 2 year old, said: "When they ask me to. It’s just a body.
"By hiding it away we make it dangerous and unknown and I want my child to know that bodies are normal and come in all shapes and sizes."
And speaking about bathing with both sons and daughters, this parent said: "My eldest son has special needs - if I'm required to bathe with him, I will.
"However, my middle son is 13 and I don't think we've shared a bath since he was 5 or 6. My 10 year old daughter regular jumps in with me. It's a lovely bonding time in the bubbles."
What the expert says
Educational psychologist Naomi Burgess was really pleased when we got in touch with her on this one, as, she says, it's such an important topic.
"Because our society is so riddled with contradictions about female and male bodies it makes it difficult to consider the question of bathing as a single issue," she told MFM.
"While each of us has our own personal reasons for decisions, my motivations as a psychologist are that I want children to grow up to accept their bodies as their own - to know and understand what is private and not private, and to never be ashamed of their own body.
"So I would say, before you make any decision do consider how you would like your child to feel as teenager in the maelstrom of adolescence and young adulthood - and also how you would like them to perceive and respect others’ bodies too.
More like this
"So, that seemingly simple question about bathing is really one that can lead to a lot of soul searching."
Whoa, some seriously interesting things to consider there, eh? ?
Image: Getty Images
Tara is mum to 1 daughter, Bodhi Rae, and has worked as Content Editor and Social Media Producer at MadeForMums since 2015
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