Showering with your child

Parents have been coming clean with a shower of questions for me including:

– When should a child move from wanting to take a bath to using a shower?

– When should a parent stop bathing or showering with their child?

Well, let me see if I can rinse off some information on this topic.

Bathtime guidelines

Providing information

– First and foremost, when a parent either joins or supervises their older infant or toddler in the bath or shower, it can certainly be a great time for teaching the names of body parts.

– For toddlers and preschoolers, it can be a time to teach in a matter-of-fact way, respect for the body, and to instill the importance of protecting the body from others who should not be touching it.

Moving from bath to shower

– Your child’s curiosity to try the shower may kick in early if a child sees their older siblings using it.

– That being said, the American Academy of Pediatrics states that five years is the youngest age for unsupervised bathing, although ages 6 and 7 are usually when children are able to properly clean their bodies and wash their hair themselves in the shower.

Shower safety

– A shower mat will help prevent slips.

– Stow away any razors and skin or hair treatment products so your child doesn’t explore on their own when in the shower and try them out.

– Make sure the hot water temperature is not set where it can be high enough to cause burns.

Time for privacy

– When should a parent opt out of bathing or showering with their child? It is usually the parent, who is often of a different gender than the child, who wants to opt out first because they are starting to feel uncomfortable being with the child in the bath or shower.

– Another reason is that your child wants privacy, in which case a parent should still consider leaving the bathroom door open and staying close by, while allowing a child to bathe or shower themselves.

– If you are not bothered by co-showering and your child is not seeking privacy, certainly when your child has reached elementary school-age, that is really a time to give your child the responsibility for bathing or showering on their own.

Hopefully, tips like these will clean up any concerns you have when it comes to knowing more about how you can transition your child from the bath to the shower.

Lewis First, MD, is Chief of Pediatrics at The University of Vermont Children’s Hospital and Chair of the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Vermont’s Larner College of Medicine. You can also catch “First with Kids” weekly on WOKO 98.9FM and NBC5.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *

Starting at $4.75/week.

Subscribe Today