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How Often Should Your Child Bathe?

How Often Should Your Child Bathe?

How often should children in grade school bathe? If you ask Circle of Moms members about family bath time rituals, opinions vary — from settling for thrice-a-week baths to insisting on showers once (or even twice) every day. To help you decide what to do, here are six factors to consider when setting bathing routines for your children.

1. Dirtiness and Germs

Perhaps the simplest benchmark moms use to decide whether their kids should bathe is whether they've been playing outside that day. As Candi P. shares, “My daughter gets a bath everyday for the most part. She is very fond of being outside, so there is no helping in the fact she is coming in dirty. However, if it has been a day where she can't be outside and hasn't gotten dirty or real sweaty, then I let her slide with every other day.” Crystal R. has a similar routine in place: “During school times my three kids get a bath every night. On the weekends like Friday and Saturday it depends on what we have done. If it was a day at the park they get a bath. If we lounged around the house then they can wait.”

Other moms, however, insist that children should bathe daily whether they've been playing outside or not, in order to eliminate germs. As mom-of-four Amanda L. shares, “Your skin is the protective layer of your body and comes into contact with everything, even though you may not see anything wrong with bathing every other day or every three days. You still have germs, dust mites and bacteria all over you either from your bed sheets, your clothes, furniture, people around you and the outside air.” Dawn B. agrees: "OK, call me old-fashioned, but I believe kids should be bathed at least once a day as a rule." 



2. Skin and Hair Type

Genetics and health concerns also play a role in how moms decide on their children's bathing frequency. Some kids have oily hair that needs frequent washing, while others have sensitive skin that reacts poorly to frequent exposure to hot water and soap. As Amy F. relays: “My younger son has very dry skin and it's unkind, especially in the winter, to make him shower, so he does a sponge wash several times a week and showers once per week.” Lissa H. agrees: “It's twice a week for the children in my house until they reach the stinky teenage years. Bathing too often causes skin problems and washing hair too often strips it of its natural minerals.” 

3. Puberty 

Puberty is another important factor to consider when setting your children's bath routines, since the sudden surge of hormones during puberty is generally accompanied by some smelly perspiration. Claudia E. shares: ”For my six-year-old, every other day is no big deal, but for my 10-year-old, because he is going through puberty and is starting to perspire, he gets a shower every day.” Moms like Jennifer C. are also quick to point out that suggesting (or making) a tween bathe more often may even save your child from teasing among her peers: “My 10-year-old says if she doesn't bath regularly people will make fun of her and no one will want to hang around with her.”


4. Seasons

It’s certainly more common for kids to get stinky during the hot summer months. As a result, moms like Carol E. recommend increasing how often kids bathe during warm weather: “If their hair doesn't need it then wash it every other day in the winter, but in the summer wash it every day. Remember, with the heat of summer smells are worse because we sweat."

Lauren G. agrees. “I bathe my kids every day, especially in the summer,” she says. “Once in a while they will skip a day in the winter if we didn't do much.”

5. Tomorrow's Schedule

Will your kids be hanging out at the pool or neighborhood park sandbox tomorrow? Or will they need to be scrubbed and shiny for school or church? In some houses, the “to bathe or not” question comes down to how clean the kids need to be the next day. Beth Y., for example, absolutely insists her preteen shower before things like family gatherings and church.

6. Today's Schedule

Moms like Shannin T., whose kids only bathe a couple times a week, say a daily shower simply isn't realistic given her family's hectic schedules. “Between homework and football practice and cooking dinner, and my daughters really long hair, it’s really hard to fit it in.” Similarly, a member who goes by the name Mama B. shares: "I have decided that it's enough for my seven-year-old twins to have a shower every other day and sometimes we even leave it to two days unless they have had sports or are particularly dirty."

How often do you bathe your kids? 

Image Source: DeeJay Tee23 via flickr/creative commons

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.

wolfcat87 wolfcat87 4 years
It depends on a lot of things, what activities are they doing, do they have dry or oily skin, do they sweat, etc? My kids get 1-2 a week. I was raised on 1 a week at the most. My nana is very stingy about water. We took baths in buckets in the kitchen a lot. I get exzema, I don't sweat unless it's 85+ degrees outside, and I'm working out or out all day. Even then, you won't see any sweat on me, I just get salty tasting. I have very dry skin. I only need a bath about once a week. I don't stink. My husband sweats like a pig after a minute in the heat and needs two showers a day. Smells like a skunk. My kids are in between and need about 2 baths a week. My son is definitely sweatier and oilier than my daughter. Also depends on how you wash. I wash myself like I'm washing a cast iron pot. Seriosu scrubbign and a bit obsessive. I'm squeaky when I'm done. I've seen a lot of people shower and most wash like they are washing their hands or something. Not exactly a way to get clean. I've tried washing that way and just feel wet and still dirty when done. Yick. I could do that every day and be less clean than with my once a week heavy duty scrub. I scrubbed my kids more when they were smaller and dirtier, their doc made a comment implying that it was causing their dry skin so I knocked it off. She was right a bit, it did reduce the patches, but some still pop up from time to time.
CarolGibbs CarolGibbs 5 years
I think as a society we need to quit worrying about having squeeky clean kids and ridding ourselves and our kids of germs. My mother in law took great pride in the cleanliness of her kids and their clothes, and my dad, a dentist was always very careful and always washing his hands, so I know the other side of it too. I've heard that exposure (not direct exposure to ill kids, but that exposure to germs, in general, is a good thing and supposed to help boost their immune systems and that they should enjoy time in the dirt and mud, and not always have to be perfectly clean. But I believe that daily bathing/showering is good and I think everyone feels better when they're clean, especially if they bathe at bedtime. I take a good shower at night and a "rinse off" shower in the morning. It feels good to go to bed clean and to wake up with a shower. My daughter showers at night and prefers that schedule to mornings, but then she savors every minute of extra sleep she gets in the morning and would rather take advantage of the time in bed than in the shower.
SherriChampagne SherriChampagne 5 years
With 4 kids. A few of them with severe eczema the doctor recommended only a few times a week especially during the winter months. Now in the summer when they are dirty almost daily usually every day or every other is necessary.
Kathryn2680196 Kathryn2680196 5 years
with 6 children in this house, 4 of them are in the pre-teen, teenage years, we encourage daily showers but are insistant on at least every other day. to get each of them through showers it takes at least 2 hours,due this this time we have a schedule in this house, 3 of them bathe/shower Mon, wed, Fri, Sat. and the other 3 on Tue. Thurs, sat, Sun. My 12 year old daughter insists on showering every day and takes hers before school in the mornings eliminating the line up for the bathroom at night. and they must all shower on saturday due to church the following day.
Shanna14951 Shanna14951 5 years
As far as the 'being oldfashioned' comment goes- I was raised by my grandmother and her 3 sisters. These ladies all grew up during the depression and watched plumbing AND electricity run thru their neighborhoods. We were outside nearly every day in the summer working in somebody's garden, and bathing was only required once a week if that often!!! At one of my great aunt's houses, I can only recall her bath tub being used a couple times in my LIFE and never by her! They relied on what they called spit bath or a cat bath- they used a dishpan of warm water heated on the kitchen stove and a soapy rag to "hit the high spots." They didnt stink, and I can't say it made them unhealthy at all since all of them made it at least well into their 80s. The oldest of the sisters was 99 before she died, and she was never even in a doctors office until she broke her hip! Now that being said... One I was a teenager, I would argue with my grandmother about the neccissity of bathing more often. I just couldn't stand that oily feeling that would set in about 2 days after my last bath. I will occasionaly skip a day of showering still, but then NO MATTER WHAT I must have one the next day!!! I usually can't stand to go a full 48 hours lol However, I do realize that a skipped bath won't kill a child! I make sure my kids are clean, but daily baths arent neccessary. Until they hit puberty and have to worry about oily hair and sweaty skin, a quick wipe down of the "high spots" will suffice on the days that tossing 4 kids kicking and screaming into the tub requires more energy than I can muster!
CoMMember1361487669289 CoMMember1361487669289 5 years
my daughter and I both have really dry skin so we shower about every 2 days or so. unless she is dirty. Also no we don't shower in hot water, ANY water is drying to us, exczema is also hereditary in are family and is more of a problem year round in the moist hot air of florida than you would think. No lotion doesn't do a dang thing, but I do use coconut oil (olive doesn't absorb just coats our skin) which seems to be helping.
CoMMember1363116791331 CoMMember1363116791331 5 years
I feel so happy after reading this! My husband is always saying I'm horrible because our 3 kids bath 3-4 times a week usually in the winter/spring/fall. In they summer its pretty much every night since we are outside all the time. My almost 10 year old is taking showers almost every night because she seems to have extra oily hair all the time. I've heard many times its actually good to let hair go a day or two without being washed in order to protect it and make it a little healthier but I have a hard time if I see greasy hair! I go by the general rule if they are dirty, they shower no matter if they have already taken a shower that day even. My kids know to wash hands, faces and brush teeth before bed so I believe they are getting rid of most of the bad germs.
AthenaHaegele AthenaHaegele 5 years
my two boys, 8 and 3, bathe every night. My 3 year old has dry hair so his hair only gets washed a few times a week though. I have to take a shower every day because of how much I sweat and my oily hair.
HaidiEdwards HaidiEdwards 5 years
We've ALWAYS made bath time apart of our children's bedtime routine, so they bathe every night. It helps them relax and I think it teaches them good hygiene. How ever, if we get home late (which rarely happens) or if they are sick and don't feel like getting in the bath, then we will skip it.
SamanthaWalters SamanthaWalters 5 years
My son also has eczema, so in the winter months he only showers about 2 a week. During summer it is probably every other day, unless there are extenuating circumstances. He is 10 though, so I try to stress the importance of showering regularly so that once he hits puberty he will understand why a shower everyday can be necessary.
FionaCowie FionaCowie 5 years
my teen son has a shower every morning but my younger 2 kids (9 and 8) are dependent on what they do. my 9 yr old has eczema so we are careful with his baths/showers. they are active kids who play soccer and dance so usually end up with about 3 per week. they don't need any more as the baths/showers strip the skin of essential oils needed for keeping the skin healthy.
CrystalEdmonds79874 CrystalEdmonds79874 5 years
I have to sons 9 and 3. They shower everyday. My 3 year old loves showers and my 9 year old doesn't want to but has gotten better about. There are times he doesn't need one and he wants one why fight a kid that wants to take one.
RachelBuchanan RachelBuchanan 5 years
I have 2 boys(9 and 3) and they both bathe every other day unless they are extra dirty(sweat/chlorine/bug spray/dirt/mud). Once my older son hits puberty then it will prbly be every day. My husband and I also only shower every other long as you change undergarments and freshen up I feel there is nothing wrong with it. I have senstive dry skin that cant be washed every day and not good to wash your hair everyday unless it gets oily. I have never had any complaints or problems with smelling and I am a hairstyist so I am close to people while working.
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