How often should you bathe your children?

Babies should not be bathed too often because of their delicate skin. (Credits: Getty Images)

The great shower debate rages on.

Following celebrity couple Mila Kunis’ and Ashton Kutcher’s revelation that they themselves don’t shower daily and don’t wash their kids (Dimitri, 4, and Wyatt, 6) daily either, the question has been brewing as to how often we should be bathing our children.

Kutcher said: ‘Here’s the thing, if you can see the dirt on them, clean them. Otherwise, there’s no point.’

People are divided on whether Kutcher and Kunis are right in their parenting style as some believe parenting means doing whatever’s easiest to get your children (and yourselves) through the day, while others think children and newborns should be bathed much more often.

The NHS states that there is no need to bathe your baby every day, and parents may ‘prefer to wash their face, neck, hands and bottom carefully instead’, as daily baths can dry out the baby’s skin.

Parents should aim for one full bath a week for babies.

The American Academy of Dermatology recommends bathing children age 6-11 once or twice a week, so long as they are not covered in mud or excessively dirty. 

Dr. Sharon Gardner, an NHS paediatrician, tells that she would recommend bathing children at least two to three times a week – regardless of whether they are dirty or not.

Toddlers and older children should be bathed at least 2-3 times a week. Credits: Getty Images)

For toddlers and older children, she says: ‘You can bathe your child every night or every other night, so long as there are no medical reasons for you not to, but it’s not essential.

‘As a rule, I’d advise that older children be bathe two to three times a week at least.

‘Once going into puberty, they should wash daily as they produce more sweat which, while odourless itself, reacts with skin bacteria to produce a smell,’ Dr. Gardner says.

She agrees with the NHS recommendation for babies: ‘There’s no need to give your newborn a bath every day as a baby’s skin is incredibly delicate and bathing them too much can dry out their skin.’

Dr. Gardner states very clearly that waiting until your child is dirty ‘isn’t advised, as it could be a whole week or two before the dirt begins to show, or they may not appear to be dirty at all.’

She recommends getting children into a ‘bathing routine’ which will ensure that your child is ‘getting rid of any harmful bacteria build-up, and making sure their genitals are clean’ even though there may not be dirt on their skin.

This will also get them into ‘the habit of practicing good hygiene from early on’ and be a ‘relaxing experience’ overall.

Despite this recommendation however, Dr. Gardner does say that ‘there’s no need to be too rigorous when it comes to bacteria and dirt’ as ‘children should be exposed to dirt’ to strengthen their immune systems.

So, there you have it. Following a week of discourse and think pieces about how often we should be showering, now you have a comprehensive guide as to how often you should be bathing your children too. 

How often should you shower?

MORE : Bathing gate: It’s okay, The Rock showers three times a day – but Jake Gyllenhaal finds bathing ‘less necessary’

MORE : Kristen Bell agrees with Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher over not bathing their kids every day: ‘I like waiting for the stink’


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