Maybe you started to shower with your toddler because it’s easier to tote them in with you versus suds them up solo later. Or they suddenly decided they hate baths. Perhaps, culturally, it’s the norm in your family. Or it’s just your specific parenting style.
Showering with your kiddo isn’t wrong or right — it’s a decision to make based on what’s best for your family.
That said, if you’re struggling to make this decision, there are a few factors to consider first.
One: safety. “Wet babies are slippery and there’s the risk of your toddler falling,” Dr. Marilyn Bull, a professor of pediatrics at Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health, told Fox News. Keep that in mind and take basic safety measures, like not picking them up in the shower.
Around age 2, kids begin to realize there’s a physical difference in development between a man and a woman, Dr. Sarah Bauer, a developmental pediatrician at Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago, told Fox News.
If you’re worried about their reaction to seeing mommy or daddy naked, think about what and how you want to teach your child about modesty and privacy. “Ask: will showering together help or hinder those intentions?” Meg Akabas, parenting educator and author of "52 Weeks of Parenting Wisdom," told Fox News.
By school age — 3 to 5 years old — youngsters start to understand the concept of public versus private, Bull said. (Like: mommy going to the bathroom: private. My penis: private.) That’s usually the age when it’s appropriate to stop the showers together, she said.
You can also use comfort as a gauge, Akabas advised. When you or your kid starts to get uncomfortable, have them bathe or shower on their own, with parental supervision. (At this time, your kid may say they don’t want to do it anymore.)
And consider how you’re preparing your child to be independent in the world, and how showering together plays into that, Bauer said. “Toileting, bathing, and dressing are all early developmental skills of independence,” she said. So when the time comes to split off, take it as an opportunity to foster their individuality and self-sufficiency.
Finally, think about you in this situation. Does it take away cherished alone time?
“For many parents, there is a loss of that rare and precious time to relax by themselves,” Akabas said.