22 answers

Age When Its No Longer OK to Shower with Mom and Dad

My son will be 5 in February. I still find it easier to let him jump in the shower with me than to just give him a bath on his own (I'm also 7 1/2 months pregnant so leaning over the tub to bath him is a nightmare). Hubby takes him in the shower with him, but because he works midnights, he sometimes doesn't jump in the shower until 10:00 p.m. (waaay to late for son to shower). Hubby is happy to help out and give him a bath but sometimes its just faster for me to take him in the shower with me (in and out in 15 minutes vs 1/2 hour of son alone in bathtub playing).

So the question is, when does a little boy get too old to shower with mom. My son isn't asking any kind of body part questions or showing any signs that he's uncomfortable with it, so I see no reason to stop. Hubby, on the other hand, says I'm creating the next Norman Bates. LOL

Any ideas??

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thanx so much ladies. I was already kinda thinking that he should probably be on his own but you know how hard it is for the moms to let go (especially with the 1st born) LOL. I was talking more with hubby, who informed me that he's already showed our son how to wash himself, hair/toes/privates/etc. He was surprised that I didn't know (and that junior wasn't doing it already himself with me in there). Guess he just knew mom would be happy to take care of it for him. So I guess the moral of the story is he'll be flying solo SOON. I'm already stressing about him slipping and cracking his scull open, but I know that when I've showered with him, he sits on the floor for most of the shower while I wash up so he doesn't fall. I will just encourage him to do that ALOT.

As for the bath time, I'm all for letting him play most of the time, but when I look up and realize its almost 8:00 and he still hasn't washed up, its a little too late at night to be hanging out playing for 1/2 an hour. Otherwise, if I'm on top of things, I'm happy to let him play because its a good chance to relax while he's occupied.

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I think it's WAYYYYYY past time. When he was a baby,or toddler okay I can see sharing a shower. But at five...no. I can appreciate that at 7 mos. preggers it's difficult. So maybe he should learn how to shower in the a.m.? Or if bath tub/shower isn't conducive right now until the baby is born, how about baby wipes? Quick, easy, efficient.

As long as everyone is comfortable, there is nothing wrong with what you are doing. My daughter, who is now 22, would shower with me occasionally until she was 9. My 5 year old son is capable (for the most part) of bathing himself, and does so most nights, but showers with his dad whenever he can, and once in a blue moon with me. If you don't make a big deal out of it, neither will they. Because I never made my daughter feel ashamed of her body, she never really had any of the body image issues her other friends had. It made puberty so much easier! After all, how can you have respect for something you are ashamed of?

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Well I'm in a similar situation with a 5 YO boy, and I've started just letting him take a shower himself, in my shower too or in my big bathtub. My boys think it is a HUGE treat. My little one (2 1/2) still strips down at our glass shower door some mornings and wants to hop in with me, and I let him, but the bigger one usually doesn't anymore. And since we have a glass door, there is little privacy, so I ask the boys (both) to give mommy a little privacy. They're so impulsive and don't think anything about just barging in, so sometimes I just turn my back and ask politely for a little privacy until I have on a robe, or am out of the shower. Just don't make a big deal out of it and ease into the transition. I know that my oldest knows differences because we've always been honest, but we don't dwell on them and just say that is how we are made. Maybe let him shower first, and you can go in afterwards once he's dressed and maybe watching a tv show or doing some other activity that'll give you some privacy.

Hope that helps a little!

1 mom found this helpful

This is a cultural issue more than anything. The US culture is generally quite prudish about nudity. I lived in Japan for almost 10 years. My first 2 children were born there.

In Japan there are public baths and hotsprings, where people bathe (no swimsuits allowed). They are divided by men and women. But children can go in with either parent, generally until the age of 9 or 10, depending a bit on how old they look. Then some hotsprings have special family baths that you can reserve so that your whole family can bathe together.

My son who will be 5 in April, was already noticing body differences at the age of 2 1/2. I just answered him very matter of factly and didn't make a big deal about it. He is very curious about everything.

There is really nothing wrong or perverted about showering and bathing with your children. As long as you and your child are comfortable with it, I wouldn't worry about it.

1 mom found this helpful

We stopped putting the kids in the shower with us when they were about 3 or 4. I don't have time to give them a full bath with playtime either. What we've done is get one of those handheld shower heads and stand the child up in the bathtub with the curtain half closed. I get them wet, then they can hold the showerhead for me while I lather them up (before they learned to lather themselves), and then I hold it for the rinsing. I don't have to get on my knees and lean over the tub anymore, and very little water spashes out if you do it right, and we're all done in about five minutes. It's been great!

1 mom found this helpful

I have three children. I remember trying to figure this out as well. At the time I subscribed to Parenting magazine. There was an article that suggests that parents should not let their children, of the opposite sex shower, bathe, or see them naked after pre-school age (4-5). If your son is not asking questions or does not seem bothered by it, you are probably not scarring him for life. But perhaps after the baby comes and it is easier for you to maneuver the bathtime routine that may be a good time to phase out the joint showers. Hope this helps.

If he likes showering with you, he will love showering by himself. Turn the shower on for him, have him jump in and shower away. You can give him toys to play with in the shower or those soaps that look and act like paint but wash right off. He'll have a great time and will be so proud and feel so big showering by himself.

Let him shower by himself, with you outside of the shower for support. Boys (with their short hair) are easy...just make sure you remove razors, etc. from the shower first. Also remove any shampoos, conditioners, special soaps ($$$)that you DO NOT want him to turn into a science project while he is playing in there ;) Coach him through what he needs to wash and how to get the soap all the way out of his hair. He will LOVE the independence!

In my opinion, he's too old. You say it's faster for him to just shower with you, but what's wrong with him being in the tub for 1/2 hour? It would give him time to play and learn with different bath toys, and you've got 1/2 hour to relax or do something else without him hanging all over you! lol

My daughter will be 4 next month and she loves to play in the tub. I love it because I know she'll be right there in the tub for a while so I can get some things done.

I agree with Denise. If you make a big deal out of nudity, then it becomes an issue. I try to make my son feel comfortable in his skin and around my hubby and myself. Obviously, we tell him there is a time and place for being in your 'birthday suit', so he seems to understand. As soon as you know your son is old enough to handle himself in the shower safely, or with you sitting in the bathroom for assistance, then you are golden. :)
(But I feel that comes from seeing how we handle ourselves in the shower, meaning we don't 'play' in there.)

My little guy is also 5 years old. He prefers the bath, but will go into the shower if he can squirt us with the shower head. I do feel it's a good practice to help them feel comfortable and to teach them that it can be a bit slippery in there if they are not too careful.

So he showers more with Dad, and not as often with me (but I take super hot showers~ Dad doesn't.). But we do not have an odd schedule, either.

Good luck~

D.; when my boys were older, like yours, i would run the shower water and let him get in, and then i would stand outside the shower, fully clothed, and tell him ok now wash this and that, do this, now do that, does he wash himself? if not he really should be, he certainly is old enough to do it, it does seem like a long time to keep showering with your kids, i know it may be easier but its also easier to teach him how to do it, and then you simply say go take a shower, how easy is that? yeah its time, D. s

I think it's WAYYYYYY past time. When he was a baby,or toddler okay I can see sharing a shower. But at five...no. I can appreciate that at 7 mos. preggers it's difficult. So maybe he should learn how to shower in the a.m.? Or if bath tub/shower isn't conducive right now until the baby is born, how about baby wipes? Quick, easy, efficient.

Stop!! It is no longer appropriate for a 5 year old to shower with his mother. I used to bathe my son and daughter together to conserve time and water, and a pediatician specialist told me to stop (my daughter was 5 and son was 3 at the time). Children have natural curiousity, but anatomical information should be obtained from books and dolls. Even showering with your husband is not appropriate. Children should learn to develop modesty.

We stopped at 4 years old when my son started pointing out all my body changes (I was pregnant with #2). It made me uncomfortable, which I knew would make him uncomfortable too, so I made dad take over shower duty. Our tub is broken and we can't afford to get it fixed, so my son started taking showers by himself at 5. Now at almost 7 years old, he still occasionally showers with dad, but most often he showers with his 2 year old brother. They are all boys, so as long as they are comfortable, it is no big deal. At some point in their adult lives, my boys will probably have to shower in a communal bathroom, whether it is at our campground or in the high school locker room. It will be so much easier on them if they are comfortable with their bodies.

I'd say just get through the pregnancy first. After, make your son take showers on his own. We bought mine a kids "shaving kit" complete with mirror that sticks to the wall so he has an incentive to be a big boy. You just have to reach around the curtain to make sure he is washing thoroughly. I should mention that at 6 years old, my son no longer wanted me to see him naked, but for some reason it was still ok if he was in the shower. He seems to have gotten over even that, since last week he started streaking through the house. He thinks he's hysterical! lol Good luck!

I think after the age of 3, that kids should not shower with their parents of the opposite sex. It is not just about questions about body parts. I have always felt it is the right time to start teaching them about privacy and this is a good place to start. Also, at age 5, a child should be able to shower by themselves. You can certainly "help" by squirting the shampoo into his hand and showing him how to scrub but these are skills he should be learning now.

Just my humble opinion...

Well, I think about 2 years old would be old enough to stop. I don't let J (age 37 months) take a bath by himself but I start the water, add bubble bath, and let him climb in. He plays while I sit in the bathroom on the toilet lid or a small chair. Sometimes we visit or play but usually I work in my puzzle book or read, something to make it less boring for me. When I am ready for him to get out (usually about 15-20 minutes) I have him pull the plug and stand up. I keep the kids shampoo out of reach so he won't finger paint in it on the walls or something messy so I get shampoo in my hands and wash his hair. I help him scrub any parts not clean enough and then we use the hand held shower head and to rinse him off and get the suds out of the tub at the same time. He climbs out onto a towel or mat and gets dried off. He can stand on the toilet seat lid for you if you can't bend as much right now.

K is 6 and I let her have time in the bathroom alone during bath time. I leave the door open and never go out of hearing. I usually find a task in the hallway or sorting laundry in the next room. Nearly all of her friends take their baths and showers by themselves at this age. They have been for years and think it's odd that she doesn't. I had an extremly hard time giving her this space. I had a friend die in the shower while in high school by falling and hitting his head so it was very hard for me to let her have this space.

I have to say I think it's past time and getting to have more independance is a growing experience for him and you. As long as you keep it safe for him then start letting him have his own (supervised)bath/shower time.

Children learn while they play and water play is very important. They learn the feel of water, how it slips through their fingers, how it feels on their naked skin, that they can make bubbles by blowing on it, they can pour it into cups or through water toys, some things float, some sink, and lots of hand eye coordination. It's my favorite time of day because I have to wind down and spend time just doing nothing to the house, or planning anything, etc...it's my special time, alone time, with each child.

I can TOTALLY understand the pregnant thing (have a 3 year old and an infant) but I think he does need to learn to be independent and do it on his own. If for no other reason, then because now he's in school (I'd be a little concerned that if he mentioned it, other people would make him feel that it was weird or wrong, or he was a "baby"...but I wouldn't want to do anything that I'd feel the need to say "don't talk about this" because that too could cause a concern for him), soon he's gonna be having sleepovers where he needs to know how to handle himself, and in a couple years it's church camps and whatever. Basically, he's growing up and your job as a mom is to prepare him for life. My advice, since you're still showering with him now, is to start having him bathe himself with your supervision, and washing his hair, and aim to have the training finished in a week or two. It's a great opportunity to brag on him to his dad, and it'll be a huge help to you once the baby is born, anyway! My son is 3 and we've started letting him bathe himself (we are there to see that he actually does this), but he has his own loofah and loves to "make bubbles" everywhere so it's actually easy. Yesterday he washed his feet in the shower (he would usually hold onto one of my arms and lift one foot at a time, so I was curious to see his problem solving skills when I told him to be careful not to fall b/c it'd be slippery---he sat down and did it, lol. I was impressed.) Nothing develops childrens' self esteem more than doing something on their own, ya know? I don't think it's "wrong" to shower, but I think it's a skill that will help him out, help his self esteem, prepare him for the future (which is our job as mothers), AND it is a skill that will help you out so much once the baby is born and your hands will be tied a lot more.

Not sure what age is a good age. My guess is that if you are queationing it, it's probably time to stop. When I was preggers with number 2 I found it easier to just give my first a shower. Having a detatchable shower head makes things much easier as well. I didn't have to bend over the edge of the tub and she liked feeling like a big girl taking a shower "by herself". I still had to bend down to help with body washing but she did most of it herself and I didn't have to lean over the edge of the tub...just sat on the adge and washed her.

One more thing...last year my daughter took it upon herself to draw a picture while at school...that picture was of me NAKED from the waste up, getting out of the shower. While her drawing was actually quite good and VERY detailed, I was totally emberassed. She was five at the time. Needless to say I keep the door locked and have enforced a knock before you enter rule.

Hey Dee... ya I'd say he's definitely too old now... Ok to shower with Dad, but opposite sex I'd say no more by age 3. Thats when I started being real careful that Emily didn't see Pat and stuff
I still help Emily take a bath and she'll be 6 in April(lol)...But I just don't feel real confident that she gets herself clean. One thing that helps is to get one of those shower heads that you can take off the wall. I help Emily wash some, then when its time for her hair I make her stand up and I use that shower head that I can hold and no bending! My back hurts after having Sammy, so I had to buy one of those so I could decrease the amount of bending :)

I think its ok to do until one of you becomes uncomfortable. There is nothing wrong with a naked body and there is certainly nothing perverted about taking a shower!!
Because you are asking though, I assume someone has started to become uncomfortable. So take these next couple of showers and show him how to properly wash his hair and body, while you are still in there to observe, then set him loose on his own in a big boy shower and see how he does! kids will usually take a shorter shower on their own, than a bath, so progressing him up to a shower will still save you time over a bath.
I ended up purchasing a shower head that has 2...the regular shower head and a hand held one. When my kids were little they'd get the hand held one and I'd use the stand up part. you can even get another "holder" and mount it to the wall for the hand held one, so that your son can get a kid size shower that is closer to his own height...my kids felt so big and grown up taking a shower like that! :) and they could do it all by themselves when it was closer to them.

Five is definitely too old! He might not be asking questions, but trust me, kids are aware of this stuff already. He's kindergarten age, so think of the topics kids this age talk about, a lot of it is centered around bathroom/body part humor. Once my daughter was about 18 months old we stopped allowing her to see her dad in the bathroom.

If 30 minuets is too long for him to play in the tub, then give him 5. Sit on the side of the tub and instruct him how to wash his body with soap, he's certainly able to do this. My daughter is nearly 3 and starting to WANT to wash herself. I of course have to supervise, but she's doing pretty good just intuitively.

I know its tough to do this pregnant, but don't let that be an excuse to let things slide in raising your child! Good luck! :)

My son is 5 almost 6 and no way does he takeashower with me. He stopped around 3. I def do not feel comfy taking a shower withhim. He is now at the age he needs privacy. He takes a shower by himself and I help wash his hair but he does the rest. He needs to learn to be independent.

I think this one is really whatever YOU are comfortable with. I say if it doesn't bother you, and your son isn't showing sign of being uncomfortable, then go ahead with your dual showers. I think suddenly ending the showers might do more harm than showering together, he might wonder if showering with Mama was wrong and he did something bad. JMO of course, but I say it's fine!

As long as everyone is comfortable, there is nothing wrong with what you are doing. My daughter, who is now 22, would shower with me occasionally until she was 9. My 5 year old son is capable (for the most part) of bathing himself, and does so most nights, but showers with his dad whenever he can, and once in a blue moon with me. If you don't make a big deal out of it, neither will they. Because I never made my daughter feel ashamed of her body, she never really had any of the body image issues her other friends had. It made puberty so much easier! After all, how can you have respect for something you are ashamed of?

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