Here's welcome news for parents tired of forcing their kids to take a daily bath: Children may not need to bathe every day after all. While it varies from child to child, most children only need a bath a few times a week. Of course, this depends on their activity level, as well as their environment.
Not only is daily bathing not a necessity, it may actually be beneficial for their overall health. Here are the benefits to skipping your child’s daily bathing ritual:
They’re exposed to bacteria. When kids are exposed to germs their bodies learn how to effectively fight off bad bacteria. Your child’s skin also has useful bacteria that protects their skin from toxins.
They’re skin and hair stays hydrated. While warm baths may be enjoyable for children of all ages, it’s actually stripping beneficial, natural oils from their skin and hair. This is especially important to remember if your child has sensitive skin or conditions like eczema.
They avoid irritants. While that soap and shampoo may smell good, it may not be so gentle for skin. Some ingredients can agitate fragile skin. Furthermore, wiping them down after their bath may only further aggravate their skin. It’s best to embrace the birthday-suit drying method.
So, if not every day, how often should kids be bathing?
For babies and toddlers, it is recommended that they get a bath at least 3 times a week. Of course this may vary based on their activity level for that particular day. For instance, a flu bug, messy playtime outdoors or a sweaty, hot afternoon are all cause for a bath.
For children aged 6 to 11, it is recommended that they get 2 to 3 baths a week. Keep in mind, though, that these baths don’t always need to include all the typical steps of hair washing and conditioning; focus on cleaning the essential areas.
Once kids hit puberty, they should start taking a shower every day. It's a good idea for them to shampoo their hair every day or every other day and to wash their faces twice a day to get rid of dirt and oil. At this age, your child doesn’t necessarily need to use conditioner, but when applied to the ends of hair—not the scalp—it can help prevent tangled hair.
While these guidelines work well for most children, every child is different. To ensure the overall health of your child, it’s important to work with your doctor to establish healthy routines and address any concerns. With experienced and knowledgeable providers, up-to-date treatment options and extensive resources, Mason Pediatrics offers comprehensive care that will grow with your child.