Bathing with your child – Is it right?. In this article, I’m going to help you answer that question.
Spending meaningful time with your kids can be great. It allows you to catch up with them and share some smiles. Obviously, young children need a lot of attention, and evidently, many do not get what they need.
Many parents have improvised in using different situations to spend time with their kids. One such opportunity is having a shower or bath with your child. However, this practice is subject to serious debate from different parties. Two high profile situations have led to debates on social media of its appropriateness.
The situations of social media icon Perez Hilton with his son on a bathtub and Actress Alicia Silverstone taking bath with her tweenage son. This article aims to throw more light on the subject matter. During my discussions with friends and parents, it is obvious that opinions differ if it is suitable for a parent to bathe with their children.
One of the factors I noticed that influenced opinion is the culture or background of the parent. Some culture portrays parents bathing with their child as a bad idea while others are open to it.
Another important factor is if a parent has little or no free time, or is responsible for caregiving alone. So what circumstances can lead to this practice? Are there benefits to it? Is it legal for parents to share a bath with their children? How can you make it less awkward?
Factors To Consider Before You Bath With Your Child
Age as an important factor
There is the general rule of thumb, which serves as a guide in regards to the age of children. So you can enjoy having a shower with your toddler from time to time, nothing is wrong with that. However, parents should encourage their children to be independent in the shower at around age 5.
Also, you should look out for clues from your child, as they try to indicate that they are ready to be alone in the bathroom. Sometimes, your child may say it in words, while others might suddenly start showing reservations about nudity and avoiding it. In other words, you want to be alert to signals pointing to their independence in the bathroom.
However, in some cultures, it is unacceptable for an adult, including a parent, to bathe in the presence of a child above the age of 2.
Meanwhile, people outside your family may be hostile if they see your habit as odd or potentially abusive. For example, neighbors will call the police if they find a father and his 10-year-old daughter having a shower. It raises a red flag once they’re above a certain age.
Aside from the age of the child, another factor to consider is the gender of the child. It is not unusual in some cultures for a mother to share a bath with her daughter. At the same time, a mother and her grown son having a bath together are unacceptable unless he is a toddler. Likewise, a father and his daughter having a shower together.
In some societies, it might be read as a sign of potential abuse of the child. Meanwhile, the use of a bathing suit by the parent and the child might make the situation less awkward. So, a parent bathing with a child of the opposite sex is a tricky situation; therefore, it is best to avoid it.
Possible benefits of bathing with your child
Showering with your infant means you can always find the time to shower without worrying about them. Moreover, this allows you to multi-task, caring for yourself and your child at the same time. It can be difficult sometimes for single parents to get personal free time without sacrificing care for their baby. So sharing bath time can be perfect for self-care and also caring for your child.
No doubt, every parent wishes to have a great bonding experience with their kids. An ample opportunity present for this can be during shower time.
Co-bathing with your baby opens up all of the benefits of skin-to-skin bonding with your newborn as this can promote a much deeper connection between the two of you.
Besides, some mothers attest to successful breastfeeding during co-bathing with their newborns. Similarly, you can have a fun time with toddlers during a bath. Meanwhile, playing games with them in the bathtub is not out of place.
You can also use it as a time to catch up with your child’s activities for the day. This could be a safe space for your child to confide in you about their worries.
Time To Teach
Children learn a lot by watching and copying their parents; this is a known fact. Therefore, bathing together can provide an effective means for your child to learn how to wash independently. You can teach your kids about basic hygiene through demonstration and imitation.
Also, your kids can see how to use the toilet properly and discover how their bodies work in general. In the same vein, you can use this time to teach them about body anatomy. As a result, they will know early what body parts are private and how to care for them.
Understanding the Body
We all come in different body shapes and sizes; our beauty and deficiencies add to our uniqueness. What other places can be best for kids to learn this from their very own home? When your kids see you are comfortable in your body, even with its flaw, it will help them become comfortable with theirs. Besides, your kids will feel confident and have high self-esteem when they feel normal in their bodies.
In conclusion, co-bathing with your child can be a pleasant experience for you and your child, if boundaries are respected. Most importantly, you should consider the welfare of your child first and make it a priority. Different cultures and countries have varying age limits for this practice. Therefore, you must consider societal standards to avoid misinterpretation. Lastly, put into consideration the age and gender of your child.