General Question

MissAusten's avatar

How often should children, before puberty, bathe or shower?

Asked by MissAusten (16087 points ) April 2nd, 2009

This is inspired by a conversation I had with my daughter today, and I’m wondering what others think.

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62 Answers

toomuchcoffee911's avatar

Right before puberty, or 4–10 years old?

wundayatta's avatar

My son, age 9, showers twice a week. My daughter, 12, seems to shower every night, and I wish she’d do it less, because I hate having a wet bathmat all the time. Of course, she’s passing through puberty now.

MissAusten's avatar

@toomuchcoffee911, I’d say 4–10 years old.

toomuchcoffee911's avatar

I think when I was that old I took a bath every other night.

RedPowerLady's avatar

I would say every two to three days is normal. At least two times a week. Every other day would be really nice if they are a bed wetter or play in the mud. No more than once a day because of water waste. So is your daughter an over-showerer or an under-showerer?? LOL

DrBill's avatar

3–4 times a week

EmpressPixie's avatar

I think I took a bath basically all the time. I loved it. But I would say every other night is probably normal.

SeventhSense's avatar

I’d say every other day as long as they keep themselves pretty clean. Of course whenever they get really dirty-out in the rain or playing sports then immediately.

elijah's avatar

Whenever they are dirty, sticky, stinky, sweaty, greasy, muddy, or gross.

casheroo's avatar

I go by the whenever he’s dirty. Or every two days.

oratio's avatar

Ha ha, that is a great question. I have a son, and according to him it is when he wants too. That’s how often.

MissAusten's avatar

Here is the backstory—my daughter’s 4th grade teacher has been repeatedly telling the class, “At your age, you should be showering every day.” Today when the class came in from recess, the teacher said, “When you all run in here, I get hit by a wall of stink!” You can’t help but laugh at that, but still, my daughter said she felt bad because she knew she hadn’t taken a shower this morning. The teacher then lectured the class again on taking daily showers.

My daughter doesn’t really want to have to take a shower every morning, and she knows she doesn’t smell at all. She also knows that the more often she showers the worse her eczema gets. Anyway, I wondered what other parents did, and now I feel better about it. Thanks!
We do daily baths/showers for all three kids in summer because they get super dirty every day!

MissAusten's avatar

@elijahsuicide, My kids are always gross, even when they are squeaky clean. The boys, anyway.

sweetpea1204's avatar

I’ve got 4 kids and I’ve learned that 3 to 4 times a week is great. Of course under certain circumstances, getting extra dirty outside or the occassional bed wetting. Watch out for the bubble baths with the girls, there known to cause UTI’s. I actually started giving my 6 year old, at the age of 4, showers instead and she actually loves them and hasn’t gotten any UTI’s since.

elijah's avatar

even if all the kids showered every single morning, they would still get sweaty running around at recess. That isn’t a very nice thing for the teacher to say to the whole class. There was a kid in my daughter’s class last year that always smelled bad, like BO and cigarrette smoke and cat pee. All the kids complained, I guess the teacher talked to the principal and he called social services. The mom was an alcoholic and now the boy lives with his grandma. Sad story.

casheroo's avatar

I don’t think it’s a teachers place to tell children they need to bathe every day. Unless there’s an issue, then that should be dealt with, with the individuals.

MissAusten's avatar

I agree, it isn’t a very nice thing to say. I wasn’t there, however, and sometimes hearing a story from my daughter’s perspective makes it hard to tell if the teacher said it laughingly or in a snippy, mean kind of way. i’m not crazy about the teacher anyway!

Kids who seem to be developing and may need deoderant or more frequent showers might benefit from a private word from the teacher. Maybe she’s more comfortable addressing the class than having that kind of talk one-on-one with students. but I still don’t like her very much

RedPowerLady's avatar

@MissAusten I understand the eczema thing. My mother has it. I have a minor psoriasis (is that what it’s called) and showering can make it worse too. I’d say if she doesn’t stink then she shouldn’t worry about it although I understand young kids are so impressionable. Anyhow I bet the teacher is trying to get one particular kid to shower. Perhaps you should have a talk with her/the teacher. A one day class on personal hygiene would be a better fit than constantly telling the kids they stink. Deodorant does become important at that age and might help out as well if some of the kids really do smell a little. But it is really important for their self-confidence that they not be told they stink daily.

sweetpea1204's avatar

Wanna hear ( I mean read, ha ha) something weird. My eldest son is 14 and showers everyday without being asked. I’ve heard you have to pretty much beg teenage boys to bathe. My 11 year old son will pretty much bathe on his own but he doesn’t do it everyday.

SeventhSense's avatar

@sweetpea1204
Well teenage boys start to desire to smell nice for some others teenagers. :)

sweetpea1204's avatar

When my teenage daughter was his age she was out as with her friends as ofter as she could get away, yet he’s ALWAYS home either on the X-BOX or the computer. Is that normal for his age?

cak's avatar

Every other night, for my son – unless he’s just gross – then he takes one on his off night. Spring time and summer time, it turns into a nightly event. My daughter, nightly – she’s 15.

As far as the teacher, I think that was a very poor approach to the subject. Hygiene can be approached, but it needs to be handled, with tact. That was not the way. To be demeaning really affects from kids – like what you mentioned, your daughter felt bad and took it personally.

Around 4th grade, hygiene really becomes something that is discussed in the district where I live. They take into consideration that kids are going through puberty earlier and body odor does become a problem. It would be more constructive to address the entire hygiene issue, talk about showering and deodorant. Approach it as a lesson, it’s constructive. Approach it as “you all stink!” – it’s destructive.

SeventhSense's avatar

@sweetpea
Boys are slower to develop communication skills vital for dating. It’s perfectly normal. I used to play all the time with my x box um…...

MissAusten's avatar

I think I will call the teacher tomorrow. Thanks for all of the input! Now I am going to take a shower and get some sleep! Good night everyone!

sweetpea1204's avatar

X-BOX huh…lol. I guess I shouldn’t complain. At least I know where he is. My daughter on the other hand became so out-of-control that I couldn’t deal with her and had to send her to live with her father.

augustlan's avatar

I’m an adult and don’t even shower every day! I have super sensitive skin along with eczema. The schools around here do have hygiene units, where they encourage showering everyday along with deodorant use. They even give out sample sized deodorant. I believe that started in 5th grade. Our kids generally shower every other day, and it’s fine.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

Well, when I was a kid, I took a bath every Saturday, whether I needed one or not. :-)

wundayatta's avatar

We are all victims of Procter and Gamble propaganda designed to see as much soap and shampoo as possible. We do not need to shower every day, and our kids don’t need it every other day. Once a week, whether we need it or not, is fine! ;-)

Seriously, I shouldn’t shower every day, due to skin problems, but I don’t feel right unless I have. I don’t want to visit these problems on my children. I took one shower a week up until puberty. I think it’s fine if my son does two a week.

Tangent_J's avatar

at some point, the BO monster goes to live inside your child, up until then, 3 times a week or so…after that, daily…we have three kids and all three kids started daily at different ages. I am certain the girls started sooner than my son.

SeventhSense's avatar

<—-victim of Neutrogena.

aprilsimnel's avatar

I was brought up to bathe/shower daily. I don’t remember ever skipping a day, even when I was small. But in thinking about it, if they don’t smell, maybe 2–3 times a week is probably better than daily.

Darwin's avatar

When we were little, we did the bath every Saturday night thing and then as needed in case of mud. About 5th or 6th grade it became every other day to daily depending on activity level and by high school it was daily.

My kids have always loved both baths and showers, so that was actually a punishment – to make them skip a day, or take only one shower in a day. My daughter, as an athlete, takes generally three showers a day, but one is more involved than the others. My son takes one a day but he hasn’t quite made the transition from little boy to full-blown teenager.

When I was in fourth grade puberty was still several years away, but nowadays there are 2nd graders having periods so hygiene can be more problematic. In any case, the teacher should never have told the kids that they stink. That was uncalled for.

In the case of folks with skin problems made worse by over-bathing, may I suggest sponging off with Cetaphil or an equivalent? That removes skin odors and dirt without drying and irritating the skin. I have both psoriasis and eczema and that is what I do, especially in the summer.

cak's avatar

@daloon – I wish I could do that with my son, but I swear, the child can find a mud puddle in the Sahara Desert.

Zen's avatar

@MissAusten LOL @ always gross.

I think kids have a good sense of how often to shower. More in the summertime, less in the winter. Always after a sports or sweaty game or such activity. If it’s the weekend, in the winter, and the child has been at home reading and such, there’s no need to shower. In fact, it isn’t healthy to shower too much. Look it up.
:-)

Jack79's avatar

Let me guess, your daughter does not want to bathe? lol I have the opposite problem, mine wants one every day, even in the winter, and of course it takes a lot of time (and money) to prepare a hot bath for a 4-year-old and then dry her well enough and keep her warm and tuck her in and so on.

Children should bathe just as often as adults, which for me is “as often as necessary”. I have a shower whenever I am dirty, which in the winter could be as rarely as once a week (though usually it’s every other day), but in the summer it’s several times a day because I sweat a lot (anywhere between 4 and 7 showers a day is average for me). It’s April now and it’s pretty warm here, and I have a shower every day when I wake up, though sometimes I may have another one at night before I go to bed.

and…sorry to say this, but having worked in a school, kids do stink! (all the teachers say so in private).

wundayatta's avatar

@cak: I don’t know. Seems to me that, in general, women have a sharper eye for dirt than I do. But I was known to love a mud slide or two when I was that age, myself.

Darwin's avatar

@Jack79Actually, much of humanity stinks, but that doesn’t mean you have to tell people that to their faces. And some of school stink at least is due to bananas and peanut butter in lunches and to shoes worn all day long.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

@cak, that is normal for little boys. They used to say the same thing about me, and look how I turned out. okay, bad example, I’m sure your son will be fine, really.

cak's avatar

@evelyns_pet_zebraoh come on, you are a fun example! I’m okay with the mud puddles, I’m not okay with the trail of mud that he leaves behind. I would worry if he wasn’t like this. I just wish it didn’t result in so many showers. I hear these parent that get away with less showers or baths and I’m jealous! ;)

Kraken's avatar

As often as they need to.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

My kids get their butts washed (3 yrs old and 3 mo old) every day about 2x a day
and get complete showers (with hair washing) 3x during the week (in the winter time) and more often in the summer

cak's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir – I just left your question and came here. This week has been a nightly shower week for my son. I had no idea that child could coat himself in that much dirt! We both were covered, today. I tore out some old flower beds and got them ready and somehow, we would up flinging things at each other. We were laughing so hard and just enjoying the day. My husband said he looked out and just saw things flying.

Inside, we both went – to our own bathrooms, to wash half of the backyard down the drain. It was so worth it!

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@cak
i love stories about kids

cak's avatar

kids rock. They really do.

BBSDTfamily's avatar

I am shocked! I thought kids of all ages needed a bath every day!!! I did! LOL, maybe I was a dirty little kid that needed a daily bath :)

Darwin's avatar

I got a bath every day when I was truly little. Sometimes I got two or three a day. However, I was the first-born. By the time number two came along my mother discovered a little dirt doesn’t hurt kids, and by the time number three came along my mother realized no one who matters judges your parenting ability by the cleanliness of your off-spring.

She also learned how to lie in wait for the washing machine repair man, the milk man, the dry cleaning man, and several other tradesmen so she could have an adult conversation every now and then.

Dutchess12's avatar

I always had the kids take a bath or a shower every night. When they were little it helped calm them down before bed time. When they got older, it was because they were so very active and stinky every night!

bea2345's avatar

In the tropics, once a day is essential, twice a day, ideal.

gymnastchick729's avatar

Depends on what activities they are participating in each day. If they are sitting around at home, which I doubt, then maybe like twice a week. If, they’re running around outside, all day and everyday, maybe even consider having them shower/bathe every night.

CMaz's avatar

As soon as they get out of their poopy dipers.

Merriment's avatar

Every night.

It keeps their bed clean, removes germs and allergens from their hair and body, and makes them nice to snuggle :)

Airode's avatar

Oh my! .. Haha.. this comments can be funny..
I think it depends where you are from…what’s the weather like,etc.

I’m from Puerto Rico… and I used to take a shower 2 to 3 times a day.
For sure in the morning…. and night. You sweat at night you know…

My best friend didn’t like taking showers. I remember that. Now I live in the USA and I tend to do the same thing… But it all depends on the weather and how much I’ve sweat, exercise…etc.

I think a kid should bath every day. If you have a bowel movement every day.. don’t you think you should shower everyday? Think about it. When kids go to sleep clean, they seem to sleep better. Mine do… and so do I. Sleep better that is.

blueeyedboy's avatar

3–4 times per week is plenty.

Ltryptophan's avatar

EVERY DAY! OMG! YOU DIRTY BUGGERS!

mommyof1's avatar

WOW!! I cannot believe you poeple don’t bathe your kid/kids every night!! It is very important in my house!!

MissAusten's avatar

@mommyof1 Really? Would it still be very important in your house if bathing your child nightly gave him such horrible eczema that he’d scratch himself bloody and need an expensive prescription cream? Because that’s what would happen if I bathed my five year old every night this time of year.

Anemone's avatar

Once or twice a week should be fine. If a 4th grader is starting to enter puberty (which is common), he or she may need to shower more often or start using deodorant. In this case, it doesn’t sound like your daughter is one of the stinky masses anyway.

Making it a scheduled thing could be good for creating healthy habits, but even then it doesn’t have to be very often. Increase in frequency as necessary!

lisaru's avatar

I am in agreement with those that suggest bathing every night. I’m really shocked that many of you suggest once or twice a week. Surely most of you as adults bathe every day. When your kids are in the last years of elementary and in middle school, they are getting stinky, just from regular every day activities. Think about how many times a day they use the bathroom, touch things in their schools, etc.

lisaru's avatar

I’m getting more and more worked up as I think about this. Why do people not bathe their children. It takes minutes and keeps them clean, their bed linens clean and ultimately saves time with regard to house work etc. Do they not use the bathroom, sweat, touch germs, every day? The only reason I can see not having your 6–13 year old bathe every night is if they were cooped up inside their house for a day do to snow or some other thing. Honestly I just don’t get the once or twice a week idea. That does not seem “normal” to me.

MissAusten's avatar

@lisaru With all due respect, I think you may have missed the references some of us made to skin problems that can be worsened by daily bathing. I said it only a few posts up, but obviously I need to say it again: Would it still be very important in your house if bathing your child nightly gave him such horrible eczema that he’d scratch himself bloody and need an expensive prescription cream?

During the winter, I literally can’t bathe my kids on a daily basis. Even using special bath products and high quality lotions, their skin just gets too dry. They wash their hands and faces often, of course. We live in the Northeast, so when it’s cold outside they aren’t running around getting sweaty and dirty. It’s really not a big deal. Summer is a different story, of course.

Maybe instead of getting worked up about it, you can just remind yourself that not everyone is the same, has the same priorities, or lives in the same kind of environment.

msclar33's avatar

every other day is enough to keep them clean.

Response moderated (Writing Standards)

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