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Here's How Often Moms Think They Should Bathe Their Kids

Photograph by Twenty20

Love it or hate it, bath time is something that parents must force on their kids. How often they do so, however, has been an ongoing debate for years.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends giving newborns one full bath three times a week (or less) to keep their skin soft and supple, while the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) says kids ages 6 to 11 only need to bathe once or twice a week—unless they’re dirty, sweaty or have a skin condition.

But according to a recent poll, the most significant expert, Dr. Mom, lives by her own set of rules. Based on the results, 58 percent of participants said they give their child a bath four to seven times per week.

The study, conducted by Pediatric Therapy Network—a California-based organization that provides its special-needs community with high-quality therapy, research and education—captured opinions from more than 300 U.S. moms with children ranging in age from 0-5 months to 4 years or older (the majority being 1-2 years of age). They looked at everything from playtime skills to bath toys and accessories, ultimately asking the most important question: Why is bath time a special time for your family?

[Some] 58 percent of participants said they give their child a bath four to seven times per week.

Nearly 73 percent of those responding said that bath time is a time for exploration and discovery. More than 66 percent said giving their kids a bath promotes sensory awareness.

“Bathtime is a full sensory experience for the child, from the feel of the soap, wash cloth and caregiver's hands, to the buoyancy of the water for [the sense of movement], to the sounds of water splashing and bathroom echoes,” said Josephine Calina, an occupational therapist with Pediatric Therapy Network. “The child’s overall development is enhanced through the bonding and social interactions with caregivers and siblings, and fine motor and visual motor skills are improved as the child manipulates bath toys.”

Moms responding to the poll also indicated that they were 55 percent more likely to administer bath time than dads, while 37 percent stated the routine was split between the two.

The most surprising finding was how moms really feel about giving their kids a bath. Just over 89 percent of respondents said they look forward to bath time because their child is relaxed and happy afterwards.

“It’s a great time to take a break from the day and bond with each other,” wrote one mom. “We get to catch up on what happened during the day, what he learned, what he saw, etc. We don’t rush during bath time because I like that he gets to learn that this is a time to slow down and relax.”

Whether kids need a bath or not, most participants agree that throwing your children in a tub—with or without bubbles, toys or crayons—is a great (and fun) way for them to wind down after a long, hard day. The warm snuggles afterward are merely an added bonus for Mom.

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