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When Siblings Should Stop Bathing Together

How to Decide When Siblings Should Stop Bathing Together

When your tots are tiny, you don't question shared baths. But as little kids grow older, many moms express confusion about when to switch to a separate bath routine. And let's face it, one bath at the end of a long day is often better than two, but older kids need their independence (and privacy)! So along with the help of some Circle of Moms members, we've rounded up three important perspectives to help you decide when to transition your kids to solo baths.

1. Follow Your Children's Lead

When it comes to brothers and sisters bathing together, many moms share Shana S.'s opinion: "I say go with what the kiddies want!" They reason that as long as your kids like playing together in the tub, shared baths are fine. As Sarah M. notes of her children bathing together: "My son is 18 months and my daughter is 5 and they still have a bath together, they both enjoy playing together so for the time being they will still share a bath."

Then, when one of your children eventually wants privacy for bath time, let them have it. "I think they should stop bathing together when one of them raises concerns about bathing with their sibling," Cassie C. explains. "As long as you are in the room with them while they bathe, and they don't show any issue with bathing together, I don't think there is anything wrong with allowing them to continue bath time together."


2. Stop at Particular Milestones

Not all moms feel comfortable with waiting until children ask for privacy, however. Once boy-girl siblings start noticing and asking about the other's body parts, it may be time to end shared baths. As Candace S. relays: "My children are the same ages, opposite sexes. I plan to separate them when she begins to ask why [her] brother doesn't look like her."

Just keep in mind that these questions are totally normal and may simply indicate curiosity, and as long as you teach your kids that those body parts are private and not to be touched by others, a shared bath time is still fine. As Ashley S. reflects: "My daughter is four in April and my son is three in about four days; they usually bathe together. They are both fully aware that they are different and are aware that we have a 'hands off' policy. As for them seeing each other, rarely are they paying any attention to that in the bath; [they're having] too much fun with bubbles and toys."

Other moms say that school age (around age 5-6) is when shared baths between brothers and sisters should end. As Sarah D. explains: "I like the school-age rule. My brother and I are almost 4 years apart and I remember taking baths with him when we were little. I think I was about 6 when I told my mom I didn't want to anymore."

3. Follow Your Gut

The truth is that there is really no magical right or wrong age for your children to be bathing together; it depends on your own level of comfort and that of your children. To that end, many suggest you follow your own instincts on when to end shared bath time: "Stop when one of them is uncomfortable or when you get a gut feeling that it shouldn't happen anymore," suggests Angie B. Nicole K. agrees: "Go with your own gut."

Of course, in addition to the considerations above, there eventually may be a very practical reason to switch to solo baths. As Ashley S. explains, "I will probably start separating them when she turn five or six, mostly because she is now the height of an average five or six years old and only getting taller. Soon there won't be room!"

Source: Flickr user Gordon

Join The Conversation
QuentinJohnson QuentinJohnson 3 years

this whole thing is sick when a child asks why are they different you tell them the story there is no shame in nudity and about how they are not inherently dirty or sexual, about how they are healthy and good for people of all ages.

I encourage you to try non-sexual Nudism and Naturism. The International Naturist Federation defined naturism as “a lifestyle in harmony with nature, expressed through social nudity, and characterized by self-respect of people with different opinions and of the environment.”

JohnSpitters1383351651 JohnSpitters1383351651 3 years

Is There An Age When Siblings Should Stop Bathing Together? Yes, there is. It is when you, as parents or guardians, make that determination and judgment for yourselves. It's not a one-size-fits-all proposition. You know what works best for you and your family. Live by that and trust your judgment and intuition and you'll be be fine.

TealRose TealRose 3 years

I am a Brit too and am going to be 60 later this year. In our house we walked about naked when going from bathroom to bedroom, always left the door unlocked in the bathroom when showering or bathing. We had a boy and a girl and neither were embarrassed or worried about it. They never shared a bath often as there was four years between them but it wasn't 'taboo' nor was it a problem when they did. My daughter learned, being the older one - that her baby brother was different from the day he was born when she visited him in the hospital. We had bought her a baby boy doll too so that helped. She asked questions, we answered.

As they grew older they would 'knock' on the bathroom door if they needed the loo and would decide to come in or not if I or my husband was showering. We noticed when they started to cover up themselves ie not naked to the bathroom and followed their lead. We taught them about sex and 'female times of the month' from when they were toddlers and asked questions...

I spent my one and only night on the couch following my father's death - as I couldn't sleep and was crying on and off - but fell asleep eventually. My daughter - came on that morning for the first time ever, and as she couldn't find tampons etc in the bathroom went to our bedroom, found only her father - and asked HIM if he could help her as she'd come on ! I think we did something right !!!

Lena80221 Lena80221 3 years

I tend to agree that past 4 or 5 it's pushing it. But ironically I admit that I went with my dad or old brothers through the male locker room up till I was almost 10. this difference I think is the proximity. A tub is close quarters where as a a men's shower room has a lot of nudity, visually, but there is no proximity.

karma3p80 karma3p80 3 years

I agree with you 100%

Jane15324720 Jane15324720 3 years

I agree with most of the others who have left their comments, I too find it sad that someone even felt the need to write this article. There is nothing wrong with the human body and our children should be educated about it in a healthy way and not taught to hide themselves in shame. My son and daughter bathed together until they were about 5 and 9 and then my son (the 9 year old) decided on his own that he wanted to start taking showers. It was no big deal and they are both grown adults now with healthy minds and not warped in any way from their bathing experiences. In fact I found that if the two were allowed to bathe together that it was treated more like a play time and they both actually wanted to bathe and that made it easier for me to keep them cleaner. It was also a great way to supervise my 5 year old and under daughter when I had to be out of the room for a few minutes.

Caroline29919 Caroline29919 3 years

" Once boy-girl siblings start noticing and asking about the other's body parts, it may be time to end shared baths. "

Stupidest advice I've ever heard. That's when it should be used as an opportunity for education. Otherwise, what are you going to do? Shelter your children and make them believe that everyone is the same sex as them and we are all similar? Kids will notice a difference, but won't make a big deal about it unless you do. You should want your children to know (and see) the difference, but then move on, otherwise, that's how they will learn to have an unhealthy association and fascination with sex and the opposite sex.

ianthe1390927304 ianthe1390927304 3 years

FInd this article rather sad - if people just accept different body parts and have respect regarding not touching intimately, there is no reason why shared baths 'should' (directive language in article) end at school entry age. In France where my kids dad is from all the family were not ashamed or embarrassed about being naked in front of one another and shared baths or skinny dipped right through to adulthood together and they are all fine well balanced people without any relationship/sexual problems etc. This is the same with many other people we are friends with in other cultures. In the UK there is an over emphasis on keeping hidden anything normal and natural that might somehow encourage to inappropriate behaviour - but this is only because of our particular cultural take on these things - I find it links in with our education system's inability to approach the question of sex education in a fully beneficial and healthy manner. This is not to say in other cultures there is no sex crime or inappropriate behaviour but there is not more and this is probably not the cause anyway. Clearly having a bath when you are 16 with a parent would be impractical and undesirable for other reasons anyway.

VonCoates1371605929 VonCoates1371605929 3 years

Kids often prefer showers anyway as they get older - problem solved!

Kathy2000 Kathy2000 3 years
Well,I am surprised why people shy? I DO NOT see any harm in letting my kids bathe together, I also used to bathe naked with my bro till the age of 15 and he was 12. Now I take bath with me husband and two kids (daughter 5) and (son 4) totally naked . We splash water on each other rub soap on bodies in the tub and in play in the pool too, without any shame, fear and hesitation. After bath we usually play with ball in the lawn without any clothes for hours. On weekends our entire family sleeps naked (during the summer); this is the physical as well as mental education that we are giving to our kids so that they may become strong and bold and able to face the world without any hesitation. We also plan to teach sex to our kids when they reach 10 and 9 years respectively. I feel that no one can educate your kids on the sex better than a mom and or the dad. So, we have special plans for them and hope they will become really special in their lives. My kids use clothing only when they go outside or if someones comes in otherwise they prefer to stay naked whole day. I strongly recommend to all and especially the people commented below to enjoy with your families as much as you can, let your kids bathe together naked till they want to do so and often join them; there is absolutely no harm in seeing privates of each others. If get chance go out to some naturist sites and stay naked with family and friends for several days, you will feel a new life in yourself with added strength, boldness and courage. Try it ladies. Cheers
RhondaRhonda RhondaRhonda 5 years
no way
ElizabethRabago33987 ElizabethRabago33987 5 years
I have two boys 3 and 5 who still bathe together most of the time and I don't really see anything wrong with that, but I also have a step daughter that is almost 10 and her mom still wants to shower with her. I find this bizarre. I dont even think my step daughter is comfortable with it but wasnts to make her mom happy.
KaremaRogers KaremaRogers 5 years
My children Girl(7), Boy (5), boy (2) still bathe together. They love it because they play together. I'm the only one that doesn't like it bc they make such a mess on the floor lol. The oldest two know the difference in their body parts and I teach them that they aren't to be ashamed or feel like they have to hide. We walk around naked in our house often and its ok! They can ask questions and we tell them freely abc we don't want them to feel like it's something they have to hide from us.
TanjaFrhauf TanjaFrhauf 5 years
I am shocked at some of these comments!!! Your children are a part of your own flesh and blood and some of you think it's wrong to bath with your own kids?!? My kids are 4 1/2 (boy) and 2 1/2 (girl) and they love it when we bath together. We put loads if bubble bath in, make beards with the bubbles, funny hairstyles - its a bonding time - we laugh loads and have so much fun. I don't always have the time to bath with them but they always bath together (naked!). Clearly at some stage that will stop but until then they'll continue having fun and playing in the bath. Getting them to bath in swimming costumes only encourages them to think there is something wrong with their bodies and they need to hide themselves!
LisaJimpson LisaJimpson 5 years
I have four children,two boys aged 4 & 5 & two girls aged 3 & 6. I used to bath all four together when they were little but now I bath them in same sex pairs, usually the boys first & then the girls. I have to say that I've never shared a bath with any of my children! Not something I would think to do nor consider!!
AmyRooks70169 AmyRooks70169 5 years
I was very curious about this question, since I have a daughter (soon 2) and a son (3 1/2) who still bathe together. My two boys bathed together until my oldest was about 6 (when he chose to start showering alone. Over the summer, on hot days, I did put suits on all three to put them in the tub, of course we just called it swimming inside. I was more comfortable with that, since my oldest is almost 8. My two youngest just seem to accept (or don't notice) they're "different." I can't honestly say how long I will continue to let them bathe together. I'm fine with it for now. I've seen pictures of my siblings and myself (2 girls, I boy) bathing together when we were probably 2, 7, and 10. People would probably have a fit about that now a days. Probably about the pics too, even though they are harmless. Occasionally they join me in the tub too (yougest two). Although I have to say my husband usually gets an earful when that happens, since I'm trying to get a few minutes alone in the bath!
HollyJohnson15986 HollyJohnson15986 5 years
Don't worry about what these people said Catherine. They don't know you or your kids.
MatulaJohnson MatulaJohnson 5 years
@ Sandy Powell, what is wrong with you? "checking her out with is eyes". Seriously people, what is the world coming to these days when a parent thinks her son is 'checking out' his sister? No wonder our kids are being sexualised at such a young age. No one can blame media for doing it when its parents who are doing it to their own kids.
PattyBolten PattyBolten 5 years
My son is five and my daughter is six. Sometimes she wants privacy and prefers a shower and we oblige. However, most of the time they enjoy bathing together and have fun playing - evidenced by all the water all over the floor. Plus, it has proven to be a good replacement for nap time in that it gives me about 30 minutes to get stuff done such as dishes or even allows for an uninterrupted conversation with Daddy.
JanetteThornton JanetteThornton 5 years
I remember when I wanted privacy, I was 10, up until that though I enjoyed bathing with my younger brother and sister.
BrandieSundeenGarlington BrandieSundeenGarlington 5 years
this is the method I used with my two youngest children. They are 18 months apart (my girl is the older one) and she wanted to stop taking joint baths and wanted to start showering when she was about 7 and he was 5 1/2.
SerinaMoore SerinaMoore 5 years
My boys all still bathe together, my daughter gets her own bath. My boys are 6, 3, and 2. My daughter is 5 months old. I do not think that kids of the oppisite sex should be bathed togher.
meganbenz meganbenz 5 years
I have 4 children. girl 9, girl 7, boy 5 and boy 3. We bathe our children 2 at a time, girls then boys. And sometimes seperately as they wish. but as water is an issue they generally bathe in pairs, and they don't mind. They would still bathe in any combination but over a year ago we decided that each sex should only bathe together in preperation for the changes they will be starting to go through with puberty very soon. And I still bathe with my 3 yr old on occasion, but that will cease very shortly as it has with his older siblings.
SandraWoods SandraWoods 5 years
Catherine, I too think that seems very odd that your almost 7 yr old boy bathes with mommy as a treat. On the other points, I stopped my son bathing with my girlfreinds daughter at around 5. Once they started to get curious and make comments, I think that is the time to stop.
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