Does your child, like many others, throw a fit when it’s time for the daily bath, setting up a classic struggle between well-meaning parent and confused child? Well, you may be able to get away with dropping the tedious bath time ritual once in a while with no repercussions. Though we’ve been made to believe that a daily bath is necessary for our little ones, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggests that skipping the shower now and then to keep the peace is no big deal. It recommends that babies under one year should have a bath up to three times a week. Any more and you’re at risk of drying out their delicate skin. In addition, the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) says that most children from 6 to 11 years should bathe only once or twice a week, if they aren’t dirty. However, after puberty a shower a day is a necessity.
Of course, when you are a hot or dusty environment like many places in India, these recommendations may need to be adjusted. The point to keep in mind is that a strict daily bath time schedule is not necessary.
When you do manage get child into the bath, at any age, remember to try to make it fun for the child. Let them bring some toys if they want to. Also, while water alone is unlikely to harm your child, here are a few precautions to keep in mind for a child of any age:
- Infants have delicate skin and must be bathed gently and less often than older babies of over one year.
- Excessive use of soap can damage your baby’s skin. Even though kids like lathering up, make sure that soap is used only when necessary and let your baby play in plain warm water instead of soapy water.
- Using lotion or moisturizer liberally on your child can reduce chances of skin irritation. Make sure you use a reputed brand. The best time to do this is right after a bath. Including your child in the process by letting them help apply the product can reduce their aversion toward it.
- Always keep a close eye on your child during their bath. You child should not be allowed to be alone and having a bath until he or she is past seven-years-old. This is because accidental drowning can occur in even a small amount of water. Also, it limits the risk of being burned by hot water if the wrong tap is accidentally opened by the child.