If you google “how to bathe my kids,” you’ll see a never-ending number of pages explaining everything about bathing babies. Of course, giving a baby a bath is a lot more complex than bathing a toddler or an older child, but we still want to make sure we’re doing everything right when we bathe our little ones – even when they’re past the baby stage. So, I went out and researched all about bathing children three and up to put together this tubbubble blog post. Hope you enjoy it and learn something new!
1. CHILDREN DO NOT HAVE TO BATHE EACH DAY!
We’ve heard so much about bathing kids every day and making it a part of their sleep routine that it’s strange to learn that specialists recommend not bathing small children more often than three times a week. The American Academy of Pediatrics says children between ages 6 and 11 should take 1 or 2 baths a week only.
But, please do give them an extra bath if:
- They’re dirty - e.g. after playing in the mud
- They went to a pool, sea, river or lake
- They’ve gotten sweaty or smell bad
- A dermatologist has recommended specific bath times due to a skin treatment
2. KEEP THE “ACID MANTLE”
The sebaceous glands in our skin produce a light yellow, oily substance called sebum. That – combined with sweat – creates a thin film on top of the skin called the acid mantle. The acid mantle protects the skin against contamination by bacteria or pollutants and against drying out. It’s important to maintain it, especially for our children whose skin is much thinner and delicate. This is one of the reasons we need to pay attention to the products we use when we wash our kids. We tend to think that lots of lather means we’re getting them clean. But, the lather in most products is produced by strong surfactants like Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLS) that penetrate the skin and hair, destroying the acid mantle and creating dryness. The length of the bath can also affect children’s skin. It’s recommended to bathe them between 10 to 20 minutes so kids can enjoy it, get clean, but their skin doesn’t dry out.
3. KEEP AN EYE ON THE WATER
There are many factors we need to pay attention to regarding bath water:
- Quantity: It seems like very little, but we should only fill the bath tub up to the children’s belly button. This is mostly for safety reasons, but also because that quantity of water is more than enough. We don’t need to waste.
- Temperature: bath water shouldn’t be too cold or too hot. The recommendation is 98 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The older the child, the hotter the water can be. But grown-ups should normally not go higher than 104 degrees to avoid circulatory problems. With that in mind, consider that we need to keep it much lower than that for kids. Actually, the biggest risk here is burning their skin. You can try using a thermometer, but don’t trust water thermometers 100 percent because they’re not very precise. Try the water out before letting them in. Elbows are recommended for that. We’d love to see a picture of that, so please take a picture of you trying to measure the water of a half-filled tub with your elbow and share it with us (firstname.lastname@example.org) – pure contortionism!
- Safety: Experts recommend you stay near your kids while in the bathtub until they are eight years old. So, get all that is needed like towels and your tubbubble before bath time begins. Don’t forget you can enjoy that little time while they are bathing for yourself – read a book, surf the internet, write that last work email – but stay near the tub. Also, the water should be let out as soon as bath time is over.
4. AVOIDING THE HAIR WASHING PROBLEM
One of the most stressful parts of bathing kids is washing their hair. First, hair does not need to be washed every time they take a bath (thank goodness!). Twice a week or when the hair is dirty/greasy is more than enough.
Second, here are some tips to avoid crying, screaming and “suffering” during your kid’s hair wash:
- If the problem is shampoo getting in their eyes - Always use tear free shampoos (don’t forget to choose SLS-free products).
- Make funny hair styles and have a small mirror next to the tub to show them.
- For older children, ask them to look at the ceiling and use a cup to rinse their hair. You can even put a sticker on the ceiling over the tub for them to look at.
- Try making them wear swim goggles. It sounds extreme, but it’s super fun. If washing the back of the head is too difficult, ask them to wear the goggles without the strap and make them “stick” with suction.
- If the problem is water getting in their ears (yes, this can be a “thing”), ask them to cover their ears with their fingers while rinsing. Use ear plugs. They may even float on their back making it super easy to rinse the shampoo off. Don’t forget that, depending on what you put in the bath water, you need to rinse the hair and body with fresh water.
5. MAKE IT IMPOSSIBLE FOR THEM TO SAY “NO”
Some children go through phases where they don’t want to take baths (or showers). Either they are so happy playing or they really don’t see the point of “losing time” to get clean. To avoid having this problem, make bath time so appealing that they’ll want to jump right into the water.
You can use one – or better – a combination of the following:
- Bath toys that can be rotated to avoid them getting bored. Include things that are not bath toys like plastic pots, spoons, old shampoo bottles…
- Invite a friend or sibling to up the fun. In the tub, especially for small children, the premise applies that the more, the merrier.
- Add tubbubble to make bathing an experience while cleaning and moisturizing.
Hope you enjoyed reading! Next time, I’ll write about natural bath and beauty products – what they are and why it’s important for us to use them, especially for our children. Let us know if you have questions or topics you would like to read about! All products are SLS-free and especially created to be gentle to children’s skin and care for it naturally. tubbubble does not contain dyes. All colors come from gardenia fruit extracts. It does not stain skin, tub or towels. If your children are bathing with tubbubble, you don’t need to use extra soap, rinse them or apply lotion after bathing. That’s not only good for them, but so much less work for you!