This is some of my most ground-breaking research to date, and I’ve started to feel the shame creep up on me again, so I decided it was time for a re-share. Originally published October 20, 2011.

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?

19 thoughts on “Bathing Practices As Indicated in Children: A Scientific Study.

  1. I was encouraged to find out I was in the majority of 4 kid families! I was actually instructed by the pediatrician to NOT bathe daily particularly in the colder months (due to sensitive skin issues). I can attest to the fact that as they age children do need more baths. In fact, boys could use several baths daily at some stages. Now that they are grown, they all bathe daily….so irregular bathing in childhood does not seem to cause any lasting damage:)

  2. So when you first did this I only had one kid and I was shocked that people only bathed their kids once or twice a week. Now that we have three kids (two of which only need to be bathed 1-2x/week because of ethnicity) I have to remember to bathe them even once!! By the time bed time rolls around I’m ready to just put them in bed and not fool with baths!

  3. The data is quite freeing! As a mom to three children, who bathes them two to three times a week, I feel quite validated! Thank you for helping me get rid of my “mommy guilt!” :)

    1. You’re welcome! If I had to sum up my mission in the world, it would be to eradicate Mommy Guilt. Glad I did a piece of it today! :-)

  4. Awesome! We do 3 baths (with hair washing) each week for my 2 girls (7 and 4). The oldest takes a shower on the other nights just to rinse off. The youngest sometimes does too (if she’s extra stinky)

  5. Much appreciated. My kids are actually quite lucky when they get a third bath in one week. I simply don’t remember unless they are visibly filthy or stinky.

  6. Great (future) parenting advice! I’m actually really glad you brought this up because I probably would have been one of the 7 times a week parents because I’d have assumed everybody did it that way.

  7. You are CLEARLY either reading my mind or have a secret camera in my house because I was just thinking about this yesterday and thinking I’d like to re-read this post! I think you should do a repeat to see if the numbers have shifted over time, though I don’t know if you kept track of who filled it out in the first place.

    I for one think we have dropped the number of baths we give our children -it actually got so bad when I was pregnant with Matthew that we started scheduling bath night twice a week just to make sure that we actually bathed our kid at least once. And (ew – TMI I know) but my own ability to bathe myself seemed to go out the window too. Now it’s better, but Matthew only gets a bath once a week as per midwife instructions; apparently at first we were bathing him too often. If you can call two baths in your entire life too often (he was only a week old at that point, but still!)

  8. There are people who bathe their children 7 times a week?! Oh, those poor people. That sounds like a lot of stress to put yourself through. I work 3-4 evenings a week, which means my husband has dinner/bath/bed all on his own. He is SO not going to bathe those boys if I’m not at home unless they’ve been making mud-pies or something. And even then he might just hose them off or something..

  9. Oh wow…I missed this first time round. My daughter has a bath or shower and hair washed every single day and has since birth, Even if I think we’ll be out late or something we have a bath before we go. All the mums i know bath kids everyday too.

  10. We bath the boys (now 7 and 9) every day and have since almost birth. Of course, it’s easier now but my husband was one of THOSE kind that looked at me like I’m fungus when I suggested not bathing them every day. I had no clue people didn’t bath their kids every day until my sister told me last year her girls get a bath ever other day. I was all like, WHAT!? It was like a dirty little secret.

    1. It IS a dirty little secret. But it’s a good one – and I highly recommend it.

      Then again, you have a 7 and 9 year old boy now…might as well keep bathing daily.

  11. I’d be interested to see the data on boys vs. girls. It’s easy to put my boys in the shower every night and send them to bed with damp hair but I know I wouldn’t do the same with a girl because I know I don’t wash mine every day and can’t go to bed with damp hair!

  12. Dear Rachel Callahan,

    Very impressed by your empiric research on bathing practices! Would be interested to hear your ideas on our study of U.S. child health and development…

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