The Age When Bathing With A Child Becomes Inappropriate

2 years.

Dear Jack,

I know that it’s normal for parents to bathe with their kids…up to a certain age.

After all, it saves water and time; both of which should be treated as the commodities they are.

So I also assume that in most American households it’s not so unusual for a child to bathe with a sibling either…but only up to a certain age.

Honestly, I’m not really sure when that age for me was. I just know that at some point family nudity became a thing of the foggy past.

There was no official conversation, no family talk about it, no overt incident where in the likeness of the fall of Adam and Eve, I suddenly realized it was a strange thing to be naked in front of (and with) my family.

But here’s the thing…

I have no plans to bathe with you; as in, I’m in the same bath water or under the same shower nozzle as you. It’s just a personal thing I guess, but I would rather help you bathe while I’m outside of the tub, instead of in the tub with you.

Somehow that makes me feel more in control of the process; like your bath director.

There are many things in this world that I am willing to share with you as your dad, but I don’t think I want bath water to be one of them.

That may seem like a double standard because I so quickly support you coming in the bathroom to watch me use the potty standing up.

For me though, there’s a difference. One seems natural and normal while the other makes me feel uncomfortable, somehow.

Who knows? Maybe I’ll cave when and if you end up with a brother or sister and I find myself so strapped for time that I actually think it’s easier to bathe with you. I can’t know for sure.

Maybe my hesitation has to do with the fact that I perceive taking a shower as a daily ritual where I can truly zone out. Maybe I just don’t want to sacrifice one of the few times of the day where I can actually do nothing and not be responsible for about 12 minutes.

And maybe this is simply more proof that I have no desire to be a helicopter parent. Attachment parenting is just not my style, kid.

I don’t know what percentage of parents, dads in particular, bathe with their young children. Assuming that percentage is the majority, I apologize in advance for all the trauma I will cause you by not sharing bathwater with you.




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  1. by Jeremy

    On December 10, 2012 at 9:37 am

    “I know that it’s normal for parents to bathe with their kids”…”I don’t know what percentage of parents, dads in particular, bathe with their young children.”

    It could be less than you think. I’m a dad with a 3-year-old son and I’ve never bathed with him or even considered it. I can’t think of any friends or family who do this either.

  2. by Kim

    On December 10, 2012 at 6:22 pm

    We never intended to bathe with the kids, at least past that gap of kid doesn`t fit in sink but still squirms enough to get out of our grip and drown. My oldest never wanted us involved in her bath, but her brother would crawl into our bath or shower with us. I guess because he was used to bathing with his sister, where she just thought he was a new bath toy.