How often should you bath the kids?
The bottom line is that babies do not need to have a bath every day, but if your baby enjoys having a bath, of course it is not a problem. Parents find it helpful to give their baby a bath from an early age. To help relax them and mark the start of ‘the bedtime routine’. Giving a young baby a bath is not something that can be hurried and is something that you must do carefully and confidently, to get your baby used to being in water. There are a few points to bear in mind each time....
Have everything you need in the bathroom with you including a fresh nappy, night clothes and a soft warm towel.
For tiny babies, a baby bath is ideal or you can use the bathroom basin, but cover the sharp tap with a flannel to protect your baby.
When you have run the water, check that it is the correct temperature by testing it with your elbow – it should be blood heat so feel neither hot nor cold on your elbow or wrist.
Only use soap that is designed for babies and a very soft sponge.
Support your baby well in the bath and use gentle movements to wash your baby, remember that your baby may not feel very confident about the whole experience!
Don’t keep your baby in the bath too long and quickly dry them and change them into their nightclothes.You do not have to give a young baby a bath every day and you may well find it quicker to ‘top and tail’ them some days. This is when you wash their face, neck, hands and bottom using just warm water and pieces of cotton wool.
Hair washing needs to be done just a few times a week and must be done carefully so that you do not get any baby shampoo in their eyes.
Unfortunately, there will be occasions when you have to bath your baby more than once a day. These occasions are usually when they have had a really leaky nappy or been badly sick.
The moment your baby starts crawling, they will soon manage to find all sorts of interesting places that just happen to be muddy, sandy, watery etc. It is also the age when wearing food becomes a frequent event as they experiment with feeding themselves! You may well find that you may not have planned a bath for a particular day, but are going to have to have one to clean away the dirt!
Most toddlers love bath time and will enjoy playing in the bath. You don’t need expensive toys for the bath, a set of old yogurt pots and a tiny plastic watering can are ideal for pouring water! Make sure your bath is safe by fitting a non-slip mat and never leave your child unattended in the bath. Bath time can be used as the start of the bedtime routine, but can also be used during the day for a quick and successful change of tempo following a tantrum.
The important thing to remember is that there are no hard and fast rules. Do what suits you best and don’t beat yourself up if you have to skip occasional bath times! Bath and hair washing just three or four times a week for your toddler is fine. If your child has developed eczema, a daily bath is not a good idea as it can make the eczema worse.
As children grow older, they do not get quite so dirty (that's debatable) and a bath every other night should work well. Even if they are not having a daily bath, they should be encouraged to wash themselves well each night. There will be occasions when they still get themselves dirty when a bath/shower is the only option and it is good for them if they have been swimming in a pool, lake or the sea.
On a hot day, your child may well need a refreshing bath if they have become hot and bothered. Wash your child’s hair just a few times a week and if you are worried about hair nits, don’t think that a daily hair wash is essential it’s a fallacy – hair nits love clean hair!
It is best that you no longer share a bath or shower with your child once they are four years old.
By the time your child has reached ten years of age, they may well decide that they want to have a daily shower and then a leisurely bath once a week! This is certainly a good idea as their changing hormones could well make them perspire more easily. It is important to give them peace to enjoy their bathroom routine uninterrupted as girls (in particular) can become very body shy at this age.
It is usually easier to persuade girls to have regular showers and they will certainly find this irresistible if you buy them some really gorgeous shower gels and soaps. Having said that, many boys are image conscious and will want to shower regularly (they will never have time for a bath!) Likewise, they will really be delighted when you present them with some snazzy new bath time goodies!
You will definitely know that you have done a good job in teaching them about personal hygiene when you have to queue for the bathroom!