PARENTING TIPS

How often do you bathe your kids?

four kids in bath

Last night at dinner my husband and I started talking about how relaxed we’ve become about bathing our kids. We’ve become so relaxed, we sometimes can’t keep track of how long it’s been since we bathed them last! And the thing is, we’ve decided it’s perhaps not such a bad thing…

As a new mother, I remember reading somewhere that babies like routine — they like the predictability of an evening routine consisting of dinner, bath, bedtime and that this routine helps to create good going-to-bed habits.  So of course, like so many new mothers I knew, I bathed Easton every single day. When Quin was born, I still put Easton in the bath every evening. I even remember nursing Quin with one arm and washing Easton’s hair in with the other and feeling like superwoman at the end of every evening because I survived yet another gruelling day of essentially being torn in two directions and doing the whole dinner/bath/bedtime routine with two needy kids. My kids were bathed but I was absolutely shattered. (I’m pretty sure those days were the toughest in my parenting life! It definitely took me a while to learn how to juggle more than one child.)

how often do you bathe your kids

I don’t know if it’s because I’ve relaxed over time or if I’ve just become too busy to give the kids a bath every evening, but these days our kids are lucky if they get two baths a week!! And yet… they are completely fine. They’re all still healthy, happy, and relatively sweet-smelling. They still go to sleep when it’s bedtime despite the lack of routine… and just think how much water we’re saving by not filling our bathtub every evening!

More than anything, it’s made my life that much easier not to stress about bath time every day. I really wish I could go back to those days when I had two small boys and tell myself that it’s okay to skip a bath, it’s okay if they eat scrambled eggs for dinner, and that the kids will be okay if they don’t have the same routine every night. The beauty of hindsight, I guess!

So tell me, how often do you bathe your kids? Do you think it’s gross that my kids only get bathed twice a week? (When I was little, I think my siblings and I were only bathed once a week!!) Have you also become more relaxed over time? Thoughts?

Courtney xx


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Comments (97)

Mallika
March 11, 2015

Hi Courtney,
Been following your Instagram and the blog for a while and one question has been constantly popping up at the back of my head regarding baths.
In from India and here we bathe our kids everyday. Is probably cuz is a more warm sweaty grimmey climate here and kids really do come home mud stained at the end of a school day. While other days food and juices do make kids a little bit sticky. How do you handle fewer baths? And how does many kids in one bath work? Iv always imagined the dirt from one kid would be in that water and essentially that would end up with a bunch of kids in unclean water. Could you detail for me what the bath routine with that many kids goes like?


Aman
March 11, 2015

I guess like I do with my own, each child gets a good rinse before getting out so they are perfectly clean 🙂


March 11, 2015

Not gross at all! It is even better for their skin…X


Federica
March 11, 2015

Hi Courtney!
I bath my kids once a week! Every evening I wash them in the sink, but I take bath (washing their hair also) just once a week. And they always smell good. So…I’m worse than you! 🙂
Federica


Diana
March 11, 2015

Hi Cortney,
in Germany we were told that it’s better for babys delicate skin to be bathed only one to two times a week. As a new mother I of course followed this rule religiously 😉 (which my parents -from Greece- with a daily bathing routine found rather strange).
Now with 3 kids I became way more relaxed: I allow myself to bbath the baby every other day ( in the morning) if we’ve got the time, as it’s a special Mama – Baby thing just for the two of us.
For the boys it depends on how dirty they are ( usually two times a week). But sometimes I’ll add an ‘entertainment-bath’ ( when the boys are getting cranky and just keep fighting I’ll pop them into the bathtub along with some toys, where they’ll play nicely together again).

So not gross at all!

xxx Diana


Hannah
March 11, 2015

I bathe my kids 1/2 times a week. I think it’s better for their skin and they still smell sweet! Obviously if they have a really mucky day then they have a soak in the tub then too! Every night always seemed excessive to me x


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JulieS
March 11, 2015

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with not bathing every day. Like you I seem to recall only having a bath once a week when I was little – Sunday night ready for school next day. I have to say though I love bath time with my daughter so we do it most evenings, except if we’ve been out late. Maybe things will change if we have any more.


Karina
March 11, 2015

I’m the same – I really don’t keep track of my 1-year-old daughter’s baths. She probably has around two baths a week, but often I guess it’s just one. I think it’s a little hysterical thinking that we must bathe or shower kids daily – as long as you have good general hygiene; washing their hands, face and private parts every day, it’s okay. Too much cleaning is not good for the skin or hair and I also think it somewhat breaks down the natural resistance to germs.
And you’re right: even when my daughter only has one bath one week, she still smells heavenly!


March 11, 2015

I think there are definite health benefits to not bathing as often!! It isn’t good for your skin to overbathe. I never have bathed my kids more than twice a week – our routine right now is a bubble bath on Wednesday nights and washing hair on Sunday mornings, but sometimes we are too busy to do the Wednesday night bath 🙂 ANd I have to admit I don’t shower any more often then they! I tend to shower and wash my hair twice a week.


Sofia
March 11, 2015

Here in Lisbon, where the sun shines year round, we don’t bath but shower 7 days a week. Shower it’s the first thing we do upon arriving home after school. It feels good and relaxing, putting away the day and setting the mood for the evening.


March 11, 2015

We bath Samuel two times a week which I still consider a lot considering his sensitive skin but he LOVES it! I also only recently (he’s 10 months old) started washing his hair (which he has a lot of) with baby shampoo because I don’t hink he really needs anything besides water to get clean.


Victoria
March 11, 2015

Two children, bathed twice a week, hair washed once a week… and interestingly (although probably unrelated!!!) neither has ever suffered from any dry skin complaints or eczema.


Eva
March 11, 2015

Hola!! I bath my girls almost everyday, being in Spain (Barcelona) I guess is normal ucase we spent a lot of time outside with the dust of the park…but I have a question, here is common to bath kids before dinner and then dinner and bedtime…what do you think about this? Thanks


March 11, 2015

I agree Eva. All my friends with kids here in Barcelona bathe their children every day before dinner. I myself do it afterwards because my son sometimes gets food in his hair or something gross like that. He gets a bath every day but I only wash his hair twice a week. I don’t find bath time stressful though. It’s actually one of the more relaxed parts of the day since my son sits in the tub and plays with his toys while I clean up the bathroom, wash my face or brush my teeth, or scroll through Instagram 🙂 I’ve only got one kid though so maybe that’s why it’s not chaotic? Thanks for being so candid Courtney, as always.


Toni
March 11, 2015

Once a week for my little ones (sometimes even less if I forget). I don’t think they need more, but sometimes we also have extra baths just for the fun of it 🙂 It’s actually amazing how long they can go without washing their hair without it getting greasy (which I’ve heard would happen to adults too if we washed it less).


Mary De Bastos
March 11, 2015

I bathe my 4 yr old every night. I always have. I’m trying to get more relaxed about it though. This year I’m just trying to chill here and there. Maybe once/twice a week he doesn’t get bathed. We only have one child though and he’s autistic. The bath helps him
Calm down for the night and set the tone that’s it’s bedtime. Plus I feel gross if I don’t shower so I think he might feel that way too and he’s really sensitive to textures, smells, everything. But I don’t think there is a right or wrong way to do this. I think it depends on your situation or family. As long as the kids are relatively clean there isn’t a problem!


Mum of 2
March 11, 2015

Sorry I think it’s gross. Not for babies but now my kids are older. The bums got to get clean. Before it was always a bath at night. Now at most, one night no bath. If you all don’t bath every night what about shower? If it’s water you want to save as well what about switching to showers? We just moved and we have no bath now. My kids (6 and 8) haven’t even missed a bath and get on with showers every night. We are in Asia though and it’s totally the norm for a lot of families.


Esther in Amsterdam
March 11, 2015

I’m relaxed about baths, but I do think my children should wash their bums if they don’t bathe. Just at the sink, with a wash cloth/wash glove. It doesn’t always happen –I should probably make more of a fuss about it! ; )
Sometimes we don’t bathe them for a week, sometimes we bathe every day. Most of the times, we bathe them every other day or every third day. It’s just how it goes! I must say, I love the bath ritual, washing my kids, drying them, clean pj’s, clip finger nails, etc. I also love taking baths with them! (I took a bath with Casper this morning!) And in summer, they definitely bathe more often — when they’re really sweaty and dirty… Great topic! x


Courtney in London
March 12, 2015

I agree! I love taking baths with the kids and often bring Marlow in the bath with me in the mornings (I think she gets bathed more than the others because of this).
I also agree that there is nothing more scrumptious than a newly bathed babe in clean, crisp pyjamas! The best! xxx


Mouli
March 11, 2015

Hi Courtney, really different and interesting post !

I have one child, so its probably a whole lot easier….he showers by himself now as he is 7. Very occasionally he misses shower time.

He does play a lot of sport and is super active so I do definitely push him to the shower everyday before bed…I also find a warm shower makes him nice and relaxed, ready for bed !


Lucy Bakker
March 11, 2015

Is this also for the older school going children? I think as soon as they are outside playing with sand and mud, they need to shower more often. My sons hair is full of sand, especially in summertime.

But perhaps it’s because I just put my children in the shower, it doesn’t feel like a lot of work to me. We often shower together as well, I’m washing my hair and they’re playing sitting on the floor with bath toys. But when in a rush, the whole shower process takes 10 minutes total with my 4yo.


March 11, 2015

I have to add that my pet peeve is dirty fingernails or toenails on children or anyone really so I always make sure that if my kid has not bathed that he gets a good hand scrubbing, especially before touching food. You can imagine that this does not make me very popular with my son. Also when your children are very small, they can’t clean their bottoms properly so a bath for very little ones is just good sense, I think.


Melissa
March 11, 2015

myn2.5 year old son used to get a bath every night but occasionally miss due to hectic schedules but lately he has been fighting the idea of bath. So I now only insist the two nights before school. I do still put my daughter (9 months) in every night more for the sleep routine.
I recently read that bath can be a nice calming start to the bedtime routine but it isn’t necessary – especially (like for my son) if it isn’t actually calming! Why set them up with a fight and screaming match to start the evening. My only problem is that after a few days my son’s hair looks like it needs to be washed!


Aman
March 11, 2015

I am so glad you wrote this article. It is very reassuring to hear even you give less baths. My 3 all have a bath and hair wash together in one bath (once a week) after swimming. It is very tiring to give them a bath even once a week. Kids in England in the winter don’t get that dirty and the cold temperatures outside mean it’s not practical to bathe everyday as they don’t sweat etc. Plus children have natural oils on their skin which would get stripped if they bathed everyday.


Mel
March 11, 2015

That is hilarious that you have lost track of when you last bathed your children :). I read on Mumsnet that the number one gripe from teachers about children was smelly children!
I like to bathe or shower my children at least every other day, but it varies depending on how active they have been that day. I did introduce using the shower as soon as possible though (in my case around 6). They can do this on their own and it is quick.

It’s interesting to read that so many parents think bathing every day is harmful to young skin. It is not the water that is harmful but the soap\ gels\ bubbles\creams that you are using, even the so called hypo allergenic or organic ones. My youngest had severe eczema, we were advised by GOSH (they should know!) to bathe twice a day if possible but using aqueous cream which is a paraffin based cream. Basically coat the skin then get in the bath, pat dry and reapply. It worked.


March 11, 2015

Hi Mel.
It’s interesting you were told to bath twice a day to help the excema recover and to use paraffin based creams. I was told the opposite (bath max twice a week and avoid paraffin based products, but use glycerine based creams) and my son’s skin recovered perfectly. I guess everybody has to experiment a bit to find a good cure. Just like with so many things there is no right or wrong here as well.


March 11, 2015

I used to follow a very strict routine with my son and that meant also daily baths. This stopped when my son was diagnosed with a mild form of dermatitis and my doctor urged me to limit baths to max. twice a week. His skin immediately improved and knock on wood his symptoms disappeared and never came back in that degree. I even stopped mosturising him, there was no need. And funnily enough in summer when circumstances require more frequent baths his skin turns funny and if I don’t use heavy duty creams to mosturise him his skin flares up again. Does that not demonstrate that too many baths strain our skin?


March 11, 2015

I bath/shower them everyday since the weather here in Brazil is very warm. Also they get to play a lot on the sand – normally barefoot. So a quick shower before dinner is very welcome…


Ana
March 11, 2015

Several doctors have told me that, for hygienic reasons, just like brushing your teeth, children and adults should shower everyday and occasionally have a bath (for the fun of it). Unless the water is in terrible condition it won’t hurt skin of any kind. Gentle cleansers are of course the best and the water should be tepid.And just like adults once more, kids, normally, enjoy the feeling of freshness and coolness after a school day. This is at least my experience.


Virginie
March 11, 2015

Hi,
I’m french and as a kid I think we were bathed once a week! But now I’m a mother, it’s a bit different: my daughter is 7 and comes back from school a little dirty so she showers by herself every evening. My son is 3 and we shower him every 2 days. And on sundy morning it’s bath together! they really enjoy playing and relaxing in the bath together…
It’s great to share our habits like that! 🙂


Charlotte
March 11, 2015

I like to bath my two children (3&1) together every day. It’s another activity that takes up 1/2 hour and my two get so mucky from dinner and other experiences through the day i honestly don’t think I could not. I also like to think that giving them a bath relaxes them before bed and I have two very good sleepers. On the rare occasion I haven’t though as you said they still slept well and didn’t smell! He he. I love hearing about how people all over the world for their own thing!


March 11, 2015

I bath my two kids whenever is handy. Strangely enough i love bath time because they usually play together, are confined to a managable space and have fun. In the mean time I manage to answer emails from my tablet, read a magazine or do my nails. Viva bathtime!


March 11, 2015

There was very few days in our house without washing, like when we come home really late and kids went to bed even in the clothes from the trip))But anyway shower is a must for me and I do same with kids every day,even quick shower with water or mild organic soap or my homemade coconut scrub,but can’t imagine not to wash private parts daily….
Bath is different thing,they love baths with bubbles etc and that depends on time I guess,twice a week maybe.


March 11, 2015

I bath my daughter every day. We live in London, but we kept our Brazilian roots related to bath every single day, which includes the hair minimum 3 days a week. its so relaxing and healthy. We had cases of hair lice from the school which makes a lot of difference a good bath….


March 11, 2015

I love this. And all these comments are great! As with most things, relaxed is the way to be! xx


Courtney in London
March 12, 2015

Agreed! xx


Katherine
March 11, 2015

This makes me feel so much better! I’ve been bathing my 5 month old only once or twice a week and feeling a little guilty that I should be doing it more often or creating that nightly ritual. I work full time and even with an extremely wonderful and helpful husband (who also works full time), we just can’t do it more often! I completely understand your feeling shattered and I have to remind myself to take the pressure off trying to be “perfect” – he’s a fantastic, healthy, and happy baby! I’m glad to know I won’t have to start the nightly bath anytime soon. I completely understand families loving the fun playtime and the calming ritual of the bath, but it doesn’t have to be the rule. I wash his little face, neck, and hands before bed and we have quiet snuggle and nursing time instead 🙂 Personally, I have sensitive skin, so while I shower most days, I only wash my hair about twice a week and wash my face only to take off makeup, otherwise just water.


March 11, 2015

Same as you!!! Twice a week. I read somewhere it’s not good to take a bath everyday, evenmore for babies.


Tina s
March 11, 2015

I’m so glad the attitudes have become more relaxed about bathing! There was a news report about a woman who only bathed her children weekly and the reporters were appalled and gave her a bottle of baby wash. Tongue in cheek, teasing her. I thought, should I be bathing mine more??? Ridiculous.

I do still bathe my 2 year old nightly, but it is still just part of our bedtime routine so he falls asleep well. I know he doesn’t need it anymore, but I think it’s good to set that up around 4-6mos. My 3 yr old jumps in the bath with his little brother a few times a week and they have fun. So it’s really a playtime for them too. And science lesson– filling cups with water, pouring, blowing bubbles, measuring.
BUT since mine are both boys, there is usually honey is their hair and sand, glitter and dirt stuck to them. So I have relaxed a lot on hair washing, but I like them to rinse off the day.

To each their own!


March 11, 2015

ha, same with me, I have never any idea on when they were last washed, but they are still standing xx


Tasha
March 11, 2015

Hi Courtney! Every other day for us, but we are not too strict about it. It just depends on the day’s activities — if we’ve been in the garden collecting worms, it’s usually a bath day! 🙂 xx


Miriam
March 11, 2015

We bath kids once a week, we also wash hair then. Every day we give them short shower in the evening. Newborns and babies here in Slovakia are bathing ussually every second day 🙂


March 11, 2015

YES! We do exactly what you describe and I have been thinking about it recently and wondering why I feel like I need to apologize or explain myself to other “more responsible” parents who have a super regular bedtime routine. I know my kids are healthy and happy. I think we make parenting expectations way too rigid. And there is too much comparison around it all anyway.


March 11, 2015

I’m with you Courtney…it used to be such a ritual thing when I had only two and they were young. But now with four….we probably do it once a week and I can never remember when exactly we last did it! The baby gets bathed more often….but gulp, even he will often go 4-5 days before I realize he needs another bath. As long as the children’s hair doesn’t smell and faces are washed clean before school and bedtime – I’m not too worried. C’ est la vie!


Karolin
March 11, 2015

I never bathed my kids every day as I always felt that it wouldn’t be good for their skin. I am totally with you now, sometimes I really have no idea how long it’s been since I bathed the kids. And as you say, they are absolutely fine!


Courtney in London
March 12, 2015

Phew! I’m glad I’m not the only one. ; ) xx


March 11, 2015

haha brilliant thread! It is a hot topic in our house, i am like you – very relaxed and can never quite remember quite how many days since their last bath… but my husband disagrees, he’s a New Zealander and maybe it’s the warmer climate and non-stop sport but he grew up on daily showers and has been desperately trying to enforce the daily shower habit – but the kids are really not keen, especially in the winter a shower in a drafty bathroom just isn’t so appealing – 2 or 3 baths a week suits them just fine! 🙂


March 11, 2015

It is so funny how many times i’ve had this conversation over the years. My kids bathe 2x/week (ages 11,8,5 now) and they’ve survived! I think it’s a sanity saver for parents, a water saver, and a skin saver. Thank you for bringing up the funny questions that prevail with parenting. It’s always interesting to me how other moms and dads do things, often times, it’s never occurred to me there could be another way!


Maria
March 11, 2015

Ha, ha, I thought I was the only one not bathing my children every day. About twice a week…and I don’t wash their hair with shampoo. I just wet it. I found out about this “no poo” thing and tested it on my kids. Their hair is shinny and clean and haven’t used shampoo since September…


March 11, 2015

This is a fascinating topic! I would love to know the countries each commenter is from (some do say, but others don’t mention it) as I wonder if this is a cultural thing? I am in Australia and I had not given a moments thought to this topic before but assumed that most people here (including me) bath or shower their kids every day. The heat, outside activity etc generally makes for sweaty and dirty kids. But now I think of it I’m sure there are some days my daughter could go without a bath and be just fine! I like the idea because I do wonder if all these baths are bad for the skin. I love reading how different people parent their kids, it opens my eyes to so many new ideas and possibilities. Thank you Courtney! xx


Courtney in London
March 12, 2015

Hi Caroline,
I think you might be right that it’s a cultural thing. Or perhaps it just depends on the weather. I definitely bathe my kids more often in the summertime when they’re running around barefooted and I’m putting sun cream on them all day, etc.
Here in London, especially during the winter, the kids aren’t getting really dirty or sweaty, so we can get away with going a bit longer between baths.
I was also wondering though, if perhaps there are countries that worry more about germs and hygiene than others? I think here in Europe we are generally more relaxed about it, but that’s just my impression.
Thanks for your comment! x


kylie
March 11, 2015

We are in Australia. In summer I’d say everyday, as it’s hot, the kids have probably been swimming in chlorinated water or at the beach, and its nice to have a cool bath after a hot day. In winter not so much, probably every second day. I don’t wash my kids hair with shampoo, just use water. We don’t use soap, just put a little ph neutral wash in the water.


Melanie
March 11, 2015

Great topic! Living In the South of France, I wash my 2 girls every other or third day during winter, and every day during summer. Sweat in their hair is really NOT nice… It takes 5 min and do it for myself in the same time when the weather is hot.
I realized I could skip the bath-every-day routine when we spent a week-end at some friends place, and they said to their children: “come on girls, it is bath day today”. I was like: “what? not everyday?” Now I am grateful for that…


Emma Pinchin
March 11, 2015

Baths happen when they happen – sometimes most nights sometimes maybe once or twice a week. Our children do eat a lot of scrambled eggs for tea too – but as the eggs come from our hens at the bottom of the garden so I figure it’s ok! I think people are relaxing more about the whole bath time routine.


Emma
March 11, 2015

Bizarre, I was thinking about this very subject tonight after my two (3 & 5) had gone to bed without a bath. They are usually bathed together every evening, with the odd night occasionally missed for various reasons. I do like them bathed before bed, knowing they’re clean, I at least wet their heads if not shampoo most nights. It’s just what I’ve always done with them, as babies to settle/routine, as toddlers to clean food mess. Not sure about nasty smells I don’t like it when they smell of MIL perfume!!! As I child I think I had a bath once a week – on a Friday night! You’ve made me realise I’m overdoing it but I doubt I’ll change. It’s my fave time of the day when they are clean and in their jammies. I know I’ll be changing their beds tomorrow although they’re ready anyway 😉 OCD me! (UK) x


Esther
March 12, 2015

Maybe my 6.5-year old twin boys are different and get more dirty? Because I sure can’t imaging skipping too many baths.

We bathe every single night, no exceptions. They like it, too. We live in the U.S in humid climate in the summer time- definitely bath before fresh PJs and going to sleep (I also do fresh PJs for them every night- they own about 5-6 each per season). In the wintertime, same thing.

I feel that they get dirty from not being to clean their little behinds properly at school, from walking around barefoot in the house and in general, from playing around.

After each bath, I soak them in yummy coconut oil and off we go!


March 12, 2015

Thanks for this article!
I’m living in Canada and a really cold winter is just coming to an end…We definitely do not have a strict bath time schedule for our 2 yr old. It usually starts up as “when was the last time Marcel had a bath?” and if we can’t remember we start running the water!
However, like many, we were told to bathe him every other day as an infant and that was a bit of a stressful period (when really bathing should be relaxing). If and when we have a second, we’ll be more laid back about the bathing schedule!


Rebecca
March 12, 2015

Hi! I’m in Australia and my kids shower everyday because of the heat and sweaty hair smells horrible!. However in the winter maybe every second day epecially when it is cold. An interesting side note; I as an adult have severe eczema and the doctor told me to only shower every second day when I can as too much washing washes away the protective layer of oil on your skin which will make my condition worse!


Kirsten
March 12, 2015

A couple of times a week, under duress, if I’m lucky!!


Beatriz
March 12, 2015

I bathe my two kids (3 year-old and 16 months) every night, with the exception of those days (like Saturdays or Sundays evenings) when occasionally we arrive home quite late after spending the day outside. I also have a two month-old baby, but I don’t bathe him daily (I have to admit that I have become more relaxed about bathing babies since my third was born, simply because I don´t have the time anymore!).
I also think, like Caroline, that this topic is a cultural thing (I’m from Spain and my husband is from Germany and we have been discussing this topic since our first child was born!!! and in fact, we can´t agree yet on the best approach).
I completely understand Courtney, (sometimes, I also have to nurse my baby with one arm and wash the other two kids with the other! and it can be pretty stressful…). However, I recently realized that bath time (in the evenings) is the first moment since I wake up in the morning that I have ten minutes to sit down, take a deep breath and relax (sometimes also check emails or send messages to my best friend or my mum!), while my kids play together with the water.
I have to say that for me, the most stressing part of the day is not bath time but dinnertime, which always (no exception here) turns chaotic!!. But I guess I can´t skip dinner…), a good topic for another post!


Courtney in London
March 12, 2015

Hi Beatriz,
I also agree that dinnertime is possibly more stressful than bath time! I think that bit of my day is my least favourite (I just hate repeating myself a thousand times to ask them to sit down properly, eat their meal, use their napkin not their sleeve…. over and over again!)
And I also agree that it is quite nice to sit for ten minutes while the kids are playing in the bath. I always joke that it’s the one type of play that doesn’t make a mess all over my house! Haha! It’s kind of nice to keep them contained for a bit. 🙂 xx


Carley
March 12, 2015

My kids get bathed every night. Sometimes twice a day!!! When babies are still in diapers, my opinion is they NEED a bath every day. If you peed your pants wouldn’t you want to bathe?! I wouldn’t be happy with just a little wipe down! That just how I feel though. My kids have the softest skin and are completely healthy with no skin issues! Bath and lotion every night before bed, makes me happy, calms them down and relaxes them before bed. We all love bath time, it’s never felt like a chore for me!


Betty
March 13, 2015

I agree with Carley. When babies are still in diapers, they need a bath or at least wash their bottoms every day.

This kind of remind me of my dad, who washes his feet before bed if he not taking a shower. I’ve gotten into the habit of doing the same thing and am always amazed how clean one can feel with clean feet.


ilana
March 12, 2015

i’m from brazil and here my kids and evry other kid i know will have at least one shower a day, sice they were new borns. most adults have two, one in the morning and one before going to bed, the very few times they skiped a shower, because of tiredness or because it was too cold, i felt like a bad mom. they wash their hair almost everyday after school or they get smelly. and for me nothing beats the felling of putting clean pjs after a bath/shower. the kids seem to be much calmer after that too, not because of the ritual, but we feel lighter, as if the day had been washed away. we all love showers here. I’m sure we have very different hygiene habits from european folks. lot’s of jokes about european being dirty and smelly… not judging though all my family is from imigrants from various parts of the world, and one of the brazilians traditions they all adhered to was the daily shower/bath. my sister just got married to an irish and he too is enjoying the idea of daily showering.


ilana
March 12, 2015

oh, and very few homes will have a bath, it’s considered a luxury and very hygienic


Maryline
March 12, 2015

Hi Courtney,
My 4 year old daughter and I are big fans of your everyday life adventures, she often ask me to show her on my phone the videos of the speaking english little girls 🙂
As for bathing, I have to admit I used to be very strict on the one bath per day rule, but I became more and more relaxed on the subject and I aslo realized that my daughter’s skin was feeling better and less dry, without the everyday bath routine. So now, I think she takes a quick shower like 2 or 3 times a week and a big bath on sundays with hair washing and all. The rest of the time, we do what we call a “toilette de chat” every morning and evening to wash only what needs to be 🙂


March 12, 2015

Its really interesting reading this and all the comments. Thanks for raising the topic. And please do a Tuesday tips on the transition from one to two kids!! That’s my world right now! I keep saying to myself it’s a learning curve!! Funnily Im giving the baby more baths than my daughter because he really loves the bath, it calms him so much during his most fractious time of day. My daughter is probably every day or other day again depending on how things are, it can be great for her to unwind before dinner or if she is mucky, but if she’s grumpy and I’m knackered then happy to skip! I really like the emphasis on staying relaxed!! This is my top number 1 parenting goal right now and to get things so I’m enjoying it all more (happy mum equals happy kids) – def getting there!! tips would be great!!!


Megan
March 12, 2015

Great post! My 3 kids get a shower once a week after swimming lessons and very occasionally a “fun” bath if we’ve run out of things to do at the end of the day or the fighting has started! The baby also takes quite a few baths in the kitchen sink (because he is a messy eater and likes the water). Lots of people would be horrified by this lack of bathing, but I am horrified by the huge amount of water used to bathe fairly clean children every night! Also, we only use olive oil bar soap (no plastic bottles or nasty chemicals)…..


Kim
March 12, 2015

Hi Courtney,

I like you (hahaha we spent those days together with Esther and Anke – nice times they were) spent the first few years of both my boys bathing them almost every day.

Then on advice of the doctor who told me it is much better for their skins to not bath everyday I started bathing like you do now 2- max 3 times a week.

Since a year we have changed again, as my boys go to a boys only and very sporty school (you should see the games kits I get back on a daily base – muddy all over!!!) I was advised by my sister who has a so too (already in his twenties now) it is important boys learn to wash/shower/bath themselves on sporty days as they come closer to teenage years as they’ll start to sweat! Now Davis is approaching 10 years old and sports min 1 hour everyday (if not 2) outside in muddy fields, we again went back to showering (less waste of water than a full bath!!) every day to get him into a cleanliness habit. I have to say, they are quick showers and maybe once a week a longer bath!
Xxxkim


March 12, 2015

As a child my mother bathed us at least once a day. She herself takes at least one bath a day, and even more if she is stressed or in pain. Which yes is a terrific waste of water. My sister bathes her children at least once a day as well, and I’ve seen her bathe them two or three times a day.
I, myself, have very dry sensitive eczema prone skin as does one of my three children. When I had one and then two children I bathed them more. One bath almost every day, usually at bed time, but it could vary depending how dirty they were or if we were going somewhere.
Now that I have three children, I definitely don’t bathe them every day, but normally every other day, sometimes every third day. Admittedly, I feel guilty when the time span stretches too long, probably because of how I was raised. My mother would be horrified. False guilt.
I think the time span doesn’t matter too much (it’s definitely better for their skin to bathe less), but if they start to smell, have had a blowout (for babies in nappies) or been around too much dirt or germs, it’s really time for a bath in my book.

xo
P.S. Can’t wait to see pictures of your new house!


Simone
March 12, 2015

I have read some health articles on this very topic the last couple of weeks, so very timely ! Our girls have 2 baths a week as well, and they don’t even use soap…I put Epsom salts and lavender in the bath, which is a fantastic detox bath, and high in magnesium which is great for promoting a good nights sleep. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/03/07/daily-showering.aspx


Laura
March 12, 2015

In the winter, they’re lucky if they get bathed once a week. In summer, when they’re sweatier and outside getting grimier, baths are a much more frequent occasion. Also when it doens’t get dark until 9 pm, we need something to do in the evening!


Melissa
March 13, 2015

Your comment about feeling shattered going from one to two kids really resonates with me. I keep hoping to find a rhythm or system that will make evenings go smoothly. I work 50-60 hours a week and my husband is often out of town on business, so I am exhausted at the end of the day! I bathe my kids religiously each night. Typically we do dinner, bath, brushing teeth, reading lesson (for my 5 year old), and then I’ll read to them for about 30 minutes to an hour from a Little House on the Prairie or Roald Dahl book before bed. Reading this post and the comments has been liberating – I may need to lighten up on bathtime a bit! I agree with a previous commenter – a post on transitioning from one to two kids and evening routines would be great! Thanks for the great post!


Nicole
March 13, 2015

Hi Courtney, I’m from Australia. I have 3 daughters, Tess, Ella & Maya who bathe or shower at least every night or 6 out of the 7 nights mainly after dinner. All 3 will get in the bath together. The girls hair is only washed twice a week. My children do swimming lessons, basketball, dancing and the eldest also does AusKick (Australian rules football), so they can get sweaty and dirty. My children are 19 months apart in age. The younger 2 being twins. As babies they were bathed everyday. I’ve loved reading the different comments from other parents from around the world, it’s very interesting.


March 13, 2015

Hi Courtney! Amen to this post. I sometimes get funny looks from other Mums when I said I don’t bathe my boy every day. Although I was desperate to get him into a good bed-time routine at the beginning and tried everything, including a bath every night – I couldn’t maintain this for more than about two weeks! So, I stopped fretting about it and just gave in to my pure laziness / natural instinct that he didn’t need a bath every day! He’s 15 months now and gets a bath about 2x week and he’s absolutely fine and sleeps all night (bath or not!). I really enjoyed reading your article on this – thank you!


Rae
March 13, 2015

A really interesting topic! I’m from Australia but unlike many above from Aussie who bathe their children daily, my kids (4,2 & 1) only get bathed twice a week – purely because we do not have the water! We are not connected to mains water (like many in regional Australia) and rely on tank, dam or bore water. If it doesn’t rain = no water! I grew up this way and know no different, but a daily bath – luxury!


Courtney in London
March 13, 2015

Rae,
How interesting! What a great reminder that we are, indeed, lucky to have nice, clean water flow from our taps the second we turn it on! Definitely a luxury. x


March 13, 2015

Courtney, This post sounds like I wrote it, agree with all you said about 1st child, going from 1-2 being most difficult… And now, with 3, (5, 3.5 & almost 1.5) anything goes as long as they’re happy! Found you on Insta last night, love love love!


March 13, 2015

This is such an interesting post. My little ones probably do get bathed too often really, it’s become a habit and part of their routine to jump in the tub every night, but I am planning on taking a bit more of a relaxed approach! Personally every other day is what we are aiming for, with a hair wash twice a week. It’s a bit like the laundry I am forever moaning that clothes have been put in the laundry bin that actually aren’t even dirty!


Leah prins
March 14, 2015

This is a great topic! I’ve always bathed my children every other day while they were toddlers. Now my 6 & 3 year old daughters have a bath twice a week during the winter & more frequently during the summer for obvious reasons. I now have a 9 month old baby who only gets a bath once a week and she’s surviving just fine!!! Sometimes less is more and I think that counts in this case 🙂


Jen
March 15, 2015

Great post, enjoyed reading it! I especially liked your bits about looking back in hindsight and being more relaxed now. My daughter bathes about twice a week, maybe more in the summer when we are outside all day getting dirty at the park. The days I don’t bathe her I always wash her face, hands and feet at the sink before bed. My mom told me when I first became a mom, not to bathe the babies too much, they don’t need it. 🙂


Erica
March 15, 2015

Really cool post! im from brazil, and here we shower everyday, we just bath are kids when they are really small (imagine filling the bathtub EVERYDAY) so when they learn how wash themselves they use the shower. it was really fun to read the comments cause that kind of topic wouldn’t even exist in some brazilian baby blog.


Verónica Díaz
March 15, 2015

May I just say, how cool is it that we get to talk about this? We live in Mexico. Daily bath is pretty much the usual. It can get very hot in the summer and, even though, it can also get very cold in the winter, people tend to shower every day. Having had the chance to live in Germany for a couple of days and discovering that people don’t die from not taking a daily bath, I have become very relaxed about it. I just decide on short notice whether my kids need to shower or not. I have never been a fan of following a routine anyway since life in Mexico can get very busy with social activities. Being strict about showers and bedtimes, only adds stress into your life. There is almost always a birthday party on friday so we usually come home late and too tired to even think about dirt until sunday evening! Haha.. So, apart from reading a book to my 6y.o. we are not strict about sticking to a certain routine at all. And guess what, she sleeps great. We have a 6 month-old aswell and I’ve also found that it doesn’t really make much difference if she gets a bath before bedtime. She still wakes up every 3-4 hours to breastfeed feed so, why bother? Believe me, if someone guaranteed that the baby would sleep through the night if I bathed her every evening, I would certainly do it. But since it has failed to provide any improvements I guess that, at the moment, following a routine that includes a bath every evening would just add a lot of stress into my life. I’m still trying to get the hang of having 2 kids and it hasn’t been easy for me so I’m trying to take it as easy as I can. I bathe the baby when I have the chance and my older daughter when she needs it 😉 . And they are just fine.
By the way I just love to read about how kids around the world get daily baths or just once a week and they get to survive and life happy lives!


Verónica Díaz
March 15, 2015

I’m sorry, I made a huge mistake. I actually lived in Germany for a couple of YEARS not days. Oops!


Anna
March 15, 2015

Thanks for the idea Courtney, you’re right, they dont NEED a bath everyday. Im going to switch to every other day for my just 2 year old and see how we go, especially as she has dry skin. Hey it will save us money! Thank you


Elise
March 16, 2015

This is a great post- probably because it’s a very timely one for me! We have just had our 4th baby & I’m trying to juggle everything, especially the evening craziness that having a young family brings (ages 5,3,1 & 3 weeks). Thanks for the heads up Courtney, I will be taking a leaf out of your book!
P.s I have loved following you on IG & reading your blogs all the way from country Australia!!! X


Stacey
March 16, 2015

A similar journey to you with our first born, who is two. We’ve recently returned from hospital with our almost three week old, and I was wondering today, when does he ‘need’ a bath? The big one has had one bath since we got home..no idea when his last was during the 10 day hospital stay, but he still smelt and felt the sweetest!!


Shannon
March 16, 2015

I know children don’t need to bathe every day but I can’t imagine going more than two days without sending my daughter into the bath. I like my daughter to look and smell clean and I just don’t believe a washcloth at the sink brings the same result as a soak in the bathtub or a quick shower.


Cynthia
March 17, 2015

I wonder if not bathing kids regularly is another hipster trend – following along with mom’s not washing their own hair. When my kids were little (grown now) they usually took a bath or shower every night. It was a routine and I always felt like it calmed them down and helped them sleep better. If they missed a night it was no big deal though.

Kids get dirty. In the summer, my kids played outside – back in the days when the neighborhood kids all got together, building forts, riding bikes, skateboarding, sandboxes & swing sets, always melting ice cream cones – by the end of the day I had some dirty kids! Do kids not get dirty anymore, not play really hard anymore?


Lilly
March 19, 2015

We bath our girls every other day. I think babies and children who are still in nappies need bathing more often than older chidlren. But is every parent’s choice suppose


March 24, 2015

We have lived in different parts of the USA, but always in the north where we have four seasons and long winters. In the summer between chlorine pools, beaches and sweaty outdoor activities my children (ages 7,4,1) bathe every day or every other day at most. But over our long winters…even when they play sports they just don’t get that dirty, and I forget too, sometimes, how long it’s been! From Oct- May I’d say maybe they bathe once or twice a week, the baby sometimes a little more often if she has a blowout diaper! No one is the wiser – they brush their teeth twice a day and wear clean clothes, they smell good! Maybe by the time they are teenagers they’ll need it more, but really too much bathing seems bad for the skin and hair, IMO!


Claire Gulliver
March 25, 2015

Hi Courtney, just rereading this post and I’m really interested in your comment about finding it tricky getting used to juggling more than one child. I have two boys, one turning four and the other turning one next month. Now my baby has started walking I am struggling and feel like I’m going through my toughest parenting season yet!! We had thought that we’d like to have more children and interested that you went on to have four despite finding those early days with two tricky. Would love to read a blog about this subject in the future! xx


Dina
March 26, 2015

My daughters (both aged 8) have one shared bath plus hair wash a week. They also go swimming once a week. One of my daughters washes herself every day, the other doesn’t. I have to say, I am not that bothered. I am more concerned about washing them too much – due to me having dry skin and allergies.

We sometimes make the bathroom very dark and give them some glow sticks to play with in the bath, which is fun!


March 31, 2015

I only bath my two (4 year old and 2 year old) 2 or 3 times a week. My eldest has eczema and her skin has improved dramatically from not being bathed every night, which happened by accident because I suddenly got really busy going back to work, and starting a college course at the same time. They are both still clean, we wash hands regularly and they both go to bed no problem. I, like you, have become more relaxed as time has gone by, and trust my instincts more now. If my children are happy and healthy then I am not going to worry about it. Lucy x


Michelle
December 3, 2016

I bath my 2 kids everything night because they are alway absalootly thought. My 3 year old goes to preschool and comes home with paint on him most days and mud from playing out, always mud in finger nails and he also dribbles after weeing so he gets urine down his legs. My 2 year old is the most discusting eater and gets food in hair, ears etc.. she is also still breast fed so get poos can be soft and I think it’s essential her bottom has a bit of a soak each evening. As the kids get older 7 .. 8 years and they are less messy with eating and playing (unless doing sports) I can skip bathing to every other night and hair washed 3 times a week. Just like OP I also juggled feeding a baby while washing my toddlers hair, yes it was hard work, I think it’s supposed to be robe honest .. And as it stands I have no regrets bathing them every night when little, I absalootly thinks it’s the right thing to do.


May 29, 2017

[…] and discover the cultural differences in parenting styles. For example, when I wrote a post asking how often you bathe your children, I found the responses to be so interesting on a cultural level. Same with the post about which […]


Robert
October 11, 2019

Growing up in New York City, with the best water in the world, my sister Donna and I got a bath 2 or 3 times a week, and my hair washed about weekly, while hers (really long) a little more often. We were done more often before we graduated from the kitchen sink (and Bathinette), and again once we graduated to the shower (age 10 for me, a little younger for her). I don’t recall the time of year making much difference; in the summer we might use it to cool off, but in the winter I definitely liked it to warm up after playing in the snow. Baby shampoo was just invented the year I was born, so I didn’t get it for a while, just Ivory soap, but we got baby shampoo once it became a common thing. Bubble bath wasn’t a common thing before about 1960, so that was a rarity for us. When Donna got dry skin, Daddy used the samples he got of Alpha Keri in the water, which I didn’t like because it inhibited soap bubbles. Without that oil, I was able to blow really big ones between my arms and the water line, especially once Donna was out of the way, although I very much missed bathing with her.

Daddy taught us dermatographia, drawing with our fingers on each other’s backs in the tub. However, he and Mother wouldn’t let us take a bath with Quackel, the live duck we had briefly. If you’ve seen what waterfowl do to a pool of water, you’ll understand why we had to settle for a rubber one.

Another thing is that I had an inchoate fear of being in the water without a parent watching me/us. I used to contrive reasons to call one of them into the bathroom when we were definitely old enough to bathe without their constantly looking in. And then when I was made to switch to showering, I had the very common fear children have of being under water falling from overhead (same experience once in a pond in Canada with waterfall), and had the water on a very low flow the first few times; something about the sound in the shower stall made me uncomfortable too. Donna had no such problems, but I’ve learned since then that these water-related anxieties are very common. The one about showers is so common that somebody came out with a wall-mountable adjustable-height shower head specifically to get children over that; having the water spray from head height or lower is not anxious-making, so the idea is to get them used to showering and then inch the nozzle up.


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