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When can my child start bathing himself?

When can my child start bathing himself?
Submitted by Parents.com Team

Between 15 and 18 months, a toddler usually has enough coordination to lather up certain body parts, but you should still lend a hand to make sure he gets clean and doesn't decide to taste-test the soap. Arm your child with a small washcloth or mitt, soap, and a plastic cup for rinsing and let him go to work. Just be sure to take over the final rinsing so you can be certain all the soap is gone. Of course all this independence can make bathtime much longer, so if your child takes a bath every night, let him wash himself just a couple of times a week. This gives you the opportunity to do a more thorough job on the other days. It's also important to never leave your toddler alone in the bathtub, since a child who slips and hits his head can drown in as little as an inch of water in minutes. Kids shouldn't start bathing completely alone until they're closer to 8 years old or so. --Elizabeth Rusch

Copyright 2009

The answers from our experts are for educational purposes only. Please always refer to your child's pediatrician and mental health expert for more in-depth advice.

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