How Often Do You Really Need To Give Your Child A Bath?

Most parents know children sometimes aren't the biggest fans of bath time. But if you're struggling to get your kid into the tub every night, you can take solace in the fact that bathing daily may not be necessary for children. In fact, according to guidelines from the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), it's only necessary for children ages 6 to 11 to bathe at least once or twice a week. However, more frequent baths may be necessary if they are active or dirty. Children also need to bathe after swimming in a pool, lake, the ocean, or another body of water, and if they are sweaty, dirty, or stinky.

Babies, toddlers, and children younger than 6 should also be getting into the bathtub at least a couple of times a week, according to the Cleveland Clinic. While their delicate skin doesn't need to be bathed daily, if babies or young children get dirty or have an explosive diaper incident, bathing more frequently is definitely encouraged.

By the time kids hit puberty and enter their tween and teen years, they should be bathing daily. The AAD also recommends they wash their face two times a day to remove oil and dirt buildup. This can help prevent acne, per the Cleveland Clinic. And of course, they should also shower after playing sports, swimming, or sweating.

Bath time tips for parents

While some people fear bathing too often may irritate the skin, that's really not too much of a concern, according to the Cleveland Clinic, especially if you're using gentle soaps. However, harsh antimicrobial soaps can dry out skin, so avoid bathing your child with these unless instructed by your pediatrician. "Choose mild soaps that don't lather up too much and don't have added fragrance," says Joan Tamburro, a dermatologist at the Cleveland Clinic, in a post on the hospital's website. "And don't assume all baby soaps are mild." Always remember you can ask your doctor for recommendations if you're not sure which soap to use during your child's bath.

To make bath time more appealing to younger children, consider making it a time when they hear their favorite stories or play with their favorite waterproof bath toys. Just make sure these toys are non-toxic and don't harbor mold, fungus, or bacteria, Tamburro advises.