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When to Stop Showering With Your Child

Showering With Your Child: When Should You Stop?

At what age does it become inappropriate to shower or bathe with your child? Two, five, seven . . . never?

While many parents say showering with their young child, even of the opposite gender, is perfectly fine up to a certain point in time, there's little consensus on when exactly that moment is. But here are the four common reasons parents give for stopping and their thoughts on how to recognize when that moment arrives.

Stop When You Become Uncomfortable

Numerous readers say that showering with your children is fine until either you or your child begins feeling uncomfortable. But when does that happen? In some cases, parents are never comfortable with the idea of bathing with a child of the opposite sex. Others say they start feeling less at ease when children become more aware, curious, and questioning about physical differences, often at around age 2 or 3.

As Megan T. recalls: "We always did family showers but our little girl is approaching 2 and my husband is no longer comfortable with it since she points and asks questions. So he stopped but she still showers with me." Similarly, Rebekkah G. shares, "I quit showering/bathing with my son (around age 2) when the shower became more about our different parts than getting clean."


Stop When Your Child Wants Privacy

Many readers that their child's interest in privacy was the cue to stop coshowering. In addition to bluntly asking to to bathe alone, children may begin signaling a desire for privacy by closing the door when using the bathroom or changing clothes. As Valerie K. shared of her 3-year-old son, "He has begun wanting privacy and shutting the door sometimes when he goes potty."

Stop by a Certain Age, No Matter What

"It doesn't matter if it's the opposite sex or not, one day showering with my daughter will feel inappropriate," shares Julianne M., one of many readers who argue that regardless of whether both parents and children feel comfortable, at a certain age children should begin showering independently. As Tanya H. expresses, "Honestly at 5 I think they are perfectly capable of showering themselves! If they can do it with a little assistance, why not give them some personal responsibility?" And Randie N. agrees: "I do think that older children that are able to clean themselves should not be showering/bathing with anyone but themselves . . . just because normally people shower alone."

Moms like Rebecca D. also note that school-age children could be mocked by peers for showering with parents: "The reason to shower with them might not outweigh the teasing they might get at school when they accidentally drop that they still shower with Mom."

When You Want Your Shower to Be "Me Time"

For many moms, showering alone has nothing to do with whether they're comfortable being naked around their children. Summer S. explains: "The real issue here: If all I get is 15 minutes alone anyway, why would I want a toddler squealing in there with me??? It's not an issue of wrong or right, it's an issue of having 10 minutes to myself!!!" Marina G. agrees: "It is the only ME time I get . . . completely alone . . . me me me ME!"

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Join The Conversation
AmberTynan AmberTynan 5 years
I'm a little sad reading the comments like "when they start to point or ask questions is when you should stop." I feel like that would only give kids the feeling that the ody is something is to be ashamed of. "You asked about my vagina? Thats it, you can't be in here with me anymore. Noticing and asking about differences is inappropriate and shameful." Is it not ok to be curious? How will they ever feel like they can come to you and ask questions about hard or awkward things when their first experiences of being curious about differences ended in no longer being allowed into the bathroom with you? The way kids feel about themselves and their bodies starts so so young and this is just one instance where the way you react has an impact on the rest of their lives.
KassandraGillmore KassandraGillmore 5 years
Sheena: I agree. My 3 year old son knows that boys have penises and girls have vaginas. I hate nicknames for this because I think he should know what it is. It's a part of our bodies and it actually helped him understand the difference between girls and boys better. We are born nude and Adam and Eve were nude before they ate the fruit. Its a part of life and something that I think children should be taught, not left to figure out on their own.
BrittanyCarroll47153 BrittanyCarroll47153 5 years
I am so glad i am not the only mother out there that showers with my son. I dont do it every day i like my privacy but every blue moon. I think age 4 is perfect. just right before they start remembering. I wouldnt want to go up remembering seeing my mom and dad naked in the shower that would just gross me out!!!
SheenaBaumann SheenaBaumann 5 years
Is it really such a bad thing if a child is asking questions about private parts it is how they learn. To them it is not sexual. I shower every evening with my two boys who are 2 1/2yrs and 10mths. We have a huge shower with 2 shower heads. My 2 1/2 year old knows the difference between men and women. I think that there is no problem with nudity.
KellyHaskins KellyHaskins 5 years
My baby and i bathe together... We showered together 2 times ever but he almost slipped ot of my arms because he and i were both soapy and i nearly had a heart attack so from then on we did baths. That said my son has acknowleged that i have breasts and i tell him "the baby dosent touch mommies boobies!" He laughs and continues playing. Alot of the time to be honest he and i cuddle in the bath because its so relaxing and for some reason its some of the only time i can get him to stay still to snuggle with me once we are out hes all over the place again running around. :) We dont really bathe together but im assuming it will stop when it stops i dont see the difference. Hes my baby. Its not dirty or embarrassing its a mother and child sharing time together. If God thought it was un-natural im certain we would have given birth from the palm of our hand or something.
JessicaPorter79463 JessicaPorter79463 5 years
As long as you feel that there is nothing wrong with it. Than why should there be?
KrisJohnson20425 KrisJohnson20425 5 years
I think that once a child becomes aware of the opposite sex's "parts" then it's time to stop. I dont shower with my son, but that's mainly because I shower in the morning and he gets his bath at night so he goes to sleep easier. I also do not feel comfortable with it since he started pointing out my "hippos" (nipples). I no longer dress in front of him either for this reason.
CoMMember13613658246819 CoMMember13613658246819 5 years
I shower with my 4 year old almost nightly. He went through a curious phase a year ago and I told him mom's private parts were not fo him to touch and we no longer have an issue. He has a therapist for behavior issues, ADHD, ODD, among other things and we just talked about this just this week. She said there's nothing wrong with it as long as there's boundries he respects. After the curiosity hase passed he doesn't even look at me anyway, he sits and plays with his toys.
AshleyNicolosi AshleyNicolosi 5 years
I'm a Stay at Home Mom with a Husband that works long hours... so as far as I'm concerned the only way I get a shower is if I bring my one and three year old in with me! So I will stop showering with them when one of two things happen. One they are mature enough to be alone and not hurt their self for 20min or they get to big and we cant all fit. I'm the mom of two kiddos and I think that nudity is natrual and not a big deal when my kids get unfomfortable they will leave me alone when I pee or I'm changing.
wolfcat87 wolfcat87 5 years
Whatever, i think you should stop when your child wants to shower by themselves. There's no set age for that any more than breastfeeding. Technically baby teeth are milk teeth and children can nurse until they lose those and in many places they nurse until 5! What makes anyone think that showering with a child until 5 is weird. My 5 year old thinks it's a treat on the rare occasion I share my bathing time with her or her little brother. I don't see her growing out of that anytime soon.
PatriceSutherland PatriceSutherland 5 years
I quite when mine turned 2 just cause I felt uncomfortable that they would point or try to touch my private area. My 18 mo son likes to hug me and sit in my lap in the bath but for the most part ignores me. Once he starts pointing tho I'll stop. It is easier only cause I don't want to rely on older children to watch him or him by himself getting into stuff. If I want a shower alone I'll do it at night. Take him with me tell he's clean then call for the hubs to come get him
KellyBritnell KellyBritnell 5 years
i dont bath with my son anymore but thats because we dont now have a big bath and have a shower room so he has a small bath and i have a 23 month old and 2 month old..but they have seen me get dressed...i prob wouldnt when he was older tho around 3/4 i guess..but sometimes i think they need to like at potty taining time..i was told by a hv that its best my son sees his daddy go for a wee at times so he gets what he has to do when it comes to the time to potty train as i cant shower him that part
MelanieFrank MelanieFrank 5 years
I have two boys (ages 2 & 4) and we all shower together every night. We have a large shower so there's plenty of room for everyone to play. The 4-year-old has asked questions about my anatomy once or twice, but I like to think he's not that interested/curious simply because he sees me nude all the time. It's very efficient. I get my shower done while I'm getting their's done. Then they stay in there and play while I blow-dry my hair. I love it because after they go to bed I don't have to waste my Me-Time bathing (which I consider to be a tedious chore) and can do something fun that I can't do when they're awake (crafts, watch inappropriate TV shows, go out). Why waste your time after the kids go to bed doing something you could do while they're awake?
TahishaAyala TahishaAyala 5 years
I was raised by my single mother. I can honestly remember bathing with her way past being a toddler. I used to just jump on the shower with her well into Junior high school! It was never weird in any way to me or her! We were always open about things like this! I think it may be a little more weird for dads with with their daughters or moms with their sons, but for us it was normal! Not sure if this is weird to come sharing!
I stopped at about 15 months because He pointed to "mommys parts" and said huh. So thats when i realized he was starting to tell the difference between a boy and a girl! :)
ZetaWilliamsthorne ZetaWilliamsthorne 6 years
I bathed all the time with my daughter when she was a baby because it was easy 2 get in with her. She's 3yrs 6months now and i had a bath with her the other day because shes been really sick nd ad a cannula in her hand and she wudnt get in the bath if i didnt, But im not ashamed to get in with her i dont wont her thinkin her body is somethin to hide, We dont have baths 2getha now because i like my bath time to myself.. she likes toys bubbled nd alot of noise.. nd i like my bath quite nd not flyin all over lol. I dont hide in the bath she likes to talk 2 me while im in there nd i do the same to her.. I think it is different with different genders her dad wont even use the toilet if shes in the bath because she stairs at his bits askin what it is lol i think if i had a son i would bath with him bit would stop when he would wanna know why my bits arnt the same as his lol i always remember my mum nd how i use 2 all ways talk 2 her wile she was in the bath even in my teen then i remember that my little bro even in his teens would use the toilet while she was in the bath ewwww I couldnt do that. :) lol
ClaireOzaki ClaireOzaki 6 years
I live in Japan, where parents bathe with their children until a fairly late age (at least until 7, when they start elementary school) and it's perfectly normal. I love bathing with my nearly 6-year-old son :)
HeidiRayEmery HeidiRayEmery 6 years
I have three children, ages 10,8, and 18month. I showered with both my eldest children don't really remember when I stopped. My 18 month old love the shower, water in general. Lately I can't even say the word shower or turn on the shower with out him wanting. If I don't take him he knocks on the door until I get out or dad plays with him. Yes he looks and points sometimes but I don't make a big deal out of it. I have always been quit open and talk to my kids about our bodies. I think that at the age of 5 is a good age to stop because they are going to school. I also think it is up to each parent to decide what they think is right or wrong for their family. I don't think the making our bodies a big deal will help our children, it will just make them more curius as they get older and they will want to find out what the big deal is, which can get them in trouble like pre-teen and teen pregnancy.
MichelleSchutzman MichelleSchutzman 6 years
I have a 20 month old daughter. When she was little, my husband used to take a bath with her since it was easier than leaning over the bath tub. She still hops in the bath with me and there are times when either one of us needs a shower and we'll just toss her in there. I think it's about comfort level. Our bodies are personal, but choosing to bathe with your child is a personal decision. I don't think anyone else should be making the decision for you. Only you know when it is and when it isn't right.
SherryWilbur SherryWilbur 6 years
to each his own, i say.
KeturahThompson KeturahThompson 6 years
I have two boys by five /six I stopped showering with each of them.
LizzFavors LizzFavors 6 years
Until we both are no longer Comfortable co showering. my daughter is 18 months and we still co shower.
krissyloveday krissyloveday 6 years
my son still askes but i say no he's in big school when he turned 5 i felt this was the time i have on the odd occation still got in wit hhim and we sit there shooting each other with the sqezzie toys water . but he can shower him self and most ofthe time starts one himself. my daughter is almost 2 and my husband only showers with her whne we are going out so it saves time she made him feel extreamly uncomfortable when she inocently touched him there and i was about to get her out the poor man . but when my boy asked we had to tell him over and over til he got the drift as he has ASD ,ODD and learning delays. my daughter will know when she is ready and she wont take long to understand. but i did love the inocence when he said to me ' mummy has doddle and bobbies daddy has doddle and bobbies (his name) has doddle '
JunaidaDawood JunaidaDawood 6 years
I remembered showering w my mum when i was young though i cn't exactly remember wen we stop. my mum believe that if we co-shower, it helps us bond n get closer to our child. i totally agreed and now i'm still showering w my 3yo gal. she has start poking n touching on my body. i guess i'll only stop when my gal start talking properly. i wouldn't want her telling stories of how my body look to other people. i still imagine hw weird n hilarious it must have been when i told my paternal grandpa hw my maternal grandma's naked butt looked, right in front of my paternal grandma!!! lol!!!
NichelleWarren NichelleWarren 6 years
Finding it a bit weird that any parent would consider co-showering with their child "weird". My kids took baths until they were old enough to shower by themselves, but I have bathed with them before. And when the older ones began to shower, I showered with them until they had the hang of exactly what they were supposed to do while in the shower. They asked questions about the differences in our bodies and I answered them. Although we also use the open door policy in the bathroom and do not hide our bodies from our kids, so there weren't really many body questions when we did bathe and shower together. It's up to the individual family when to stop, in my opinion.
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