When can children bathe and teach them properly

When is a child old enough to take baths alone? Experts say there are signs it’s time to give kids a little more freedom at bath time. (Photo: Getty Creative)

From baby’s first steps to his first word, there are plenty of milestones to record in the baby book. But when it comes to a child’s first solo bath, parents often don’t know when it’s safe for children to shower or bathe alone. At what age do children no longer need a parent to supervise bath time? And once a child is old enough to bathe or shower on their own, how can parents teach children how to clean themselves properly?

Start preparing children to swim alone from an early age

dr. Molly O’Shea is a pediatrician from Birmingham, Michigan, who says that while the age at which a child can bath alone can vary, there are ways parents can start preparing children for solo bathing early on.

“Motivated children — [with the help of] parents who are willing to allow them to learn – can wash their bodies and hair as young as 3 1/2 or 4 years old,” O’Shea said. Yahoo Life.

O’Shea points out that just because a child is curious about being independent in the tub doesn’t mean they’re ready to be left alone. “Drowning is the number one cause of accidental death in children under the age of 6,” she says, “so it’s unwise to leave children in the tub younger than that.”

When is a child old enough to swim alone?

Elizabeth Hicks is a mother of two boys, ages 8 and 12, from San Diego, California. Parenting blogger and website co-founder nerd parenting believes that complete independence at bath time comes a few years later. “Around the age of 8 or 9, children don’t need their parents to supervise bath time, as children become more aware of their personal space and develop a sense of intimacy,” she says. .

And, while bathing alone is a little more dangerous due to the risk of drowning, children can be ready for the shower a little earlier with proper safety precautions, such as non-slip mats, in place. “It’s a little easier to shower at a younger age if the skills are there,” O’Shea says.

Experts agree that this timeline cannot be defined by a set age, but rather by when a child demonstrates key abilities that ensure they are ready to tackle this potentially dangerous chore on their own, such as being able to wash your hair and body successfully without the help of an adult. and understand how to stay safe and avoid falls or injuries in the bathroom.

How do you know when a child is ready to bathe or shower alone?

dr. Pierrette Mimi Poinsett is a Sonoma County, California pediatrician and consultant for Mama likes it better who agrees that while children can start swimming on their own at around 8 or 9 years old, safety precautions and hygiene habits are most important.

Poinsett says a parent should hold a little “show and tell” at bath time to ensure children are prepared in terms of safety and hygiene.

“First, have your child practice bathing and washing their hair with you in the bathroom before letting them go alone,” she advises. Once kids can wash their bodies and hair properly, Poinsett says there are safety tips parents should keep in mind when sending their kids to the bathroom alone.

Secure shower or bath time for children

“Use a non-slip bath mat to minimize the risk of falls in the bathtub and check the water temperature before allowing the child to enter the bath or shower: the water must be lukewarm”, explains Poinsett, suggesting parents watch the water temperature. in their home or limit the heat setting on their home’s water heater to ensure that children do not burn themselves in the shower.

Poinsett also recommends parents avoid heavily scented bubble baths as it can irritate genitals, opting instead to give children a body wash designed for sensitive skin.

Also, teach kids the importance of bathroom safety, reminding them that it’s a place to clean up, not play like a swimming pool. “Make sure your child doesn’t jump into the tub or shower and always use a non-slip woven bath mat outside the tub to prevent falls,” says Poinsett.

Once bath time is over, parents should take the following steps to ensure that the next trip to the tub is as safe as the last.

“Washcloths, sponges and bath toys should be rinsed and wrung out to prevent the growth of mold and bacteria,” says Poinsett. “And pat your child dry with a towel, as rubbing your child with a towel can irritate their skin.”

Erica Cramer's son plays in the bath.  (Photo: Erica Cramer)

Erica Cramer’s son playing in the bath. Cramer suggests parents “think about toys and songs or even consider showing a child how their favorite character cleans up properly” as a way to prepare kids for the days when they’ll be old enough to swim solo . (Photo: Erica Cramer)

How parents can give up control over bath time

Erica Cramer, mother of two and licensed psychotherapist at Cobb Psychotherapy in Penn Valley, Pennsylvania, reminds that time spent in the shower or bath should be enjoyable and relaxing and offers suggestions for creating a stress-free transition from parent-assisted bathing to a more independent approach.

“Consider phasing out of the process,” she says. “First, position yourself not too far from where they bathe so you can be there quickly in case of an emergency. open bath. Then try to feel comfortable. move further away.”

Cramer shares that slowly removing yourself from the process will help children gain the confidence to swim independently while reassuring parents that their child will be safe on their own.

“Bath time should be an enjoyable experience for everyone,” says Cramer. “Think of toys and songs or even consider showing a child how their favorite character cleans up properly. I know my daughter learned a lot about bathing from JJ. CoComelon.”

In addition to character work and bathtime games, Cramer says the easiest way to prepare kids for bathroom safety is for parents to practice what they preach.

“A great start is to teach your child proper and safe hygiene practices from an early age,” says Cramer, “so that children are gradually preparing to wash themselves.”

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