Bathing Practices As Indicated in Children: A Scientific Study.

You asked for it, so I’m here to deliver.

I collected and analyzed the data that you so generously provided (via this post and on Facebook) regarding the frequency of the bathing of your children.

In particular, I collected, where given:

  • Number of children per family,
  • Number of baths per week,
  • And, since so many of you had differing schedules for your different aged children, I collected the individual ages of children and corresponding baths per week, where provided.

My assumptions:

  • That none of you are in The Liar category – probably not a true assumption, but if you were going to go to the trouble to comment, I can only suppose that you were honest about your shame (or lack thereof).
  • For those of you that did not provide your children’s ages but I know about how old your kids are, I estimated.

My sample size:

  • 82 Families.
  • 171 Children.

With those scientific parameters in place, I present to you my findings.

First, the simple percentage breakdown of families and their bathing choices.

Bath Pie Chart

During the data collection, I noticed a trend in the families that actually do bathe their children every night: many had no idea that families existed that did not do so.  To those seven-bath-a-week families, this graph should be stunning.

You are accompanied by only 17% of the population.

But you have clean sheets, so take heart in that.

And for those of us who fall into one of The Ashamed categories,  I plotted the above information into the categories and sub-categories previously established.  This graph should be all that you need to know:

Baths in Category End The Shame

I was curious as to what other trends could be discovered in bathing practices.  The first avenue I wanted to explore was whether the number of children in a given family had an affect on bathing practices.

Baths By Family

I have a feeling that my fellow two-kid families are about ready to kick me out of the club.

(Apparently I was simply meant to have three kids.)

I also wanted to see how bathing practices changed across children’s ages.  As there should be, there seems to be a correlation – the older the kid, the more baths they received.

Baths Per Age

Whether this correlation is due to ripening tween body odors or the fact that the child can bathe themselves and, therefore, is less hassle for the parents is unknown.

And finally, I wanted to see a visual of all of the responses.  I couldn’t figure out how to get my histogram to look how I wanted it to in Excel, so I went old school.

Plus, I live for any excuse to use graph paper.

So here are all of your children, plotted by age and number of baths.

Bath Histogram

Again, notice the clearly more populous lower bathing region.

This data makes me feel so happy and validated on the inside that I feel like singing a heartfelt chorus from “You Are Not Alone” right now.

…and probably makes you seven-time-a-weekers ready to yank your kids out of school, make them wear gloves, and smack a Flu Mask on ‘em.

The conclusions of my report are as follows:

1. The Shame Should End.  Immediately.

2. Those of you who actually do bathe in the upper numbers should feel freed.  Celebrate your extraordinary cleanliness tonight by skipping baths!  Perhaps even after making Mud Angels in the yard and eating cotton-candy-covered-caramel-apples?

Leave your comment below!

Comments

  1. I LOVE THIS! I guess I sucked at leaving the correct data. I didn’t realize you were going to go into so much depth…but I should have. LOL I am shocked at how in the minority I am, but my children are older and therefore are stinkier.

  2. Yes, skip the baths tonight. You’re going to need that extra water when they’re teenagers and take hour-long showers. Water conservation is important. Especially hot water.

  3. I second Michele’s comment. Having a 12 and 13 year old I can say they not only take a lot of showers, but they also NEED a lot of showers.

  4. I’m content not to have either the cleanest nor the dirtiest child. I’m also a little scared of how much pleasure you take from graphs.

  5. And wow… clearly the grammar part of my brain went to sleep an hour ago. :)

  6. Wow, you really are a data junkie! I’ll be more thorough when I leave my info next time! Thanks for doing this. Back when Eli was pre-crawling and thus not getting dirty we were in the once or twice a week category but felt an immense burden of shame and wondered if everybody else really did bathe their kids EVERY.SINGLE.DAY. Now we know and will be (almost) shame free the next time around.

  7. Love this! This took me back to statistics in graduate school!

  8. Oh, my goodness. That was funny! I laughed out loud several times while reading this.

  9. Your graphs are a thing of beauty. I think maybe you need to submit them somewhere…they are good science. :)

  10. This is amazing to me. I don’t have children of my own. But I borrow friends and cousin’s children frequently, and I don’t know that I have ever had them overnight when they didn’t take a bath except when we are gone somewhere in the evening and then bedtime never goes very well. Dinner, play for however long it takes to clean the kitchen, clean up the toys, bath, read two books, and lights out. Break the routine and it doesn’t end well.

  11. WOW! you are a total graph junkie…and a total dweeb!! hA! and I love it!! This was hysterical to me…thanks for enlightening me on bathing practices!
    Our bathing routine changes from week to week depending on what we do that day, the time of year, etc. But I feel like if I left any data for you it would skew your findings, because surely my kids that attend Chinese preschool where other kids where splitty bottom pants and pee on the floor would throw things off on your “bathe every day” chart! :)

    • Can I see a picture of these splitty bottom pants? I’m envisioning the old fashioned pajamas with the two buttons on the back, but surely that’s not right…

  12. Possible topics for further research? How does boredom on the part of the parent lead to higher bathing rates? Especially in parents of one child who desperately try not to always amuse them with TV? A few gallons of water is a small price to pay for 30 minutes of entertainment! I can check my email, file my nails, do my hair/makeup, fold clothes, make a phone call, etc. And then a yin-yang type affect – if my child is contained in the tub, he/she is not producing messes elsewhere in the house!

  13. I am amazed that the 3-kid families bathe less than the 4-kid families… maybe b/c hopefully by the time you have 4 kids someone is old enough to bathe themselves?!?! Having 3 that must be supervised in the bathtub certainly limits the # of times I’m willing to get in there and do it!

    • I was surprised by the same thing. Is there any data to help explain this? I didn’t enter my data, but I have three and we fit in the once a week category. Before the third came, the other two were sometimes twice a week. I can’t imagine if there was another baby, the kids would be bathed more.

  14. Love this! Further research questions I had (give an inch, I know!): how does gender fit in? What about climate? It would be fun to do a follow-up bathing frequency a year from now. Do the parents who acquire additional children to be bathed change their ways???

    Your charts make me want to get graphing too :)

  15. My children bathe nightly.
    *VICTORY DANCE*

  16. also, LOVE the new header picture :-)

  17. Is there any connection between frequency of bathing kids and bathing of a stay at home parent? I’m not sure how I would feel if my kids bathed more frequently than I did. I don’t think any other culture in the world bathes as frequently as Americans. I’m just trying to connect with my European heritage.

  18. You forgot one that’s always been part of my criteria – season. In warmer weather, regardless of age, my kids are most likely to have a bath every night. In cold weather (less sweating), we skip more often. ;)

    • True. I should have had seasonal graphs, and should have divided my families up by average age. I think the biggest flaw in my study was that the majority of families that responded had younger children, thereby skewing the data toward the lesser bathing end of things. Oh well – I’m no scientist, that’s for sure. Just a geek who loves her charts.

  19. I am shocked, appalled, and baffled. I had no idea that other kids don’t get bathed every night. Wow. What do you do w/ your kids to signify “it’s almost bedtime”?

  20. We just bathed the older one (3) for the first time in 6 days. I think that might be a record for us, as we fall into the 2-3 baths a week (and NOT ASHAMED of it) group. He didn’t look any dirtier than normal to me. :-)

  21. Hi – loved the study. I’d like to print this off and give it to my mother and MIL. I don’t feel any shame for our 2-3 baths per week, but feel judged by the older generation. Though – your data seems to point toward a natual spread of things regardless of mother’s age.. since most of these mothers have young children, I can only assume they aren’t also grandmothers. ;-)

    I also just read the mom jeans post and I’m hoping you can help – jeans aren’t an issue, but dear goodness, bathing suits are. Some people so just have long butts.. any tips for bikini bottoms?

    • Oh, swimsuits. I wish there were a magical answer to them!! I can try on every swimsuit in every store and hate them all. But if I ever discover the long-lost secret of swimsuits, I’ll be sure to share!!

  22. This is some great data. I never did bathe my kids every day (hey, I don’t always bathe myself everyday! ha).

  23. My grands seem to think they MUST bathe here but I think they get to stay in there a while. I don’t remember how many times a week I bathed my little children since they are in their 40’s now. I do remember the teenage boy decided not to bathe until his friends told him he smelled!

  24. I have two girls, 1 and 2 yo, and they get a bath every other day. But I also have a 6 yo boy and I cannot imagine letting that stinky filthy boy go even one day without a shower. I’d be interested to know how many of those older kids not getting baths everyday are boys!

  25. I’m too late to vote but we’ve been a once-a-week family, with 4 kids. As our oldest (girl, 10) has learned to shower and she’s needed more often cleaning, she’s gone to showering 2-3 times a week. Other kids are girl 8, boy 6, girl 4. We went on a cruise and left all the kids with my cousin 4 years ago (heart breaking to leave the youngest). She gave the kids a bath and understood after all the screaming why we gave them baths once a week! We will of course bathe if conditions require it. Only once a year or every 2 years do I count swimming as a bath. :)

    • Thanks for chiming in!! I kind of wish I had the excuse that my kids hated baths, but they don’t – and I still don’t give them very many baths! :)

  26. I am really late to this post but this is awesome!! My boyfriend and I think each other are the wierd one, he gives his child a bath every day and I think he is a freak. I make my children shower or bathe 2-4 times a week depending on camp and dirt layers, he thinks I am gross. Now I can prove that he is a freak!! :)

  27. I read this post and realized that I don’t remember the last time my kids had a bath. Time to pop them in, I guess!

  28. I love this post!! I also only give my kids a bath once a week ( more if necessary) but they are not dirty not do they smell. I just think it’s such a waste of time to especially bathe then nightly. I don’t even shower daily, why should my kids?! :p my kids are 8 and 2, both girls and am 22 weeks pregnant with our 3rd girl

  29. Haha, you’re awesome. And let me just say that as the mother of teenagers, you’re just saving up for when your teenage boy decides to shower 2x a day. My oldest is killing our water bill! :)

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