At what age is it safe to let a child bathe unassisted?

I know, strange question. My mother and I have a BIG disagreement about this, partly because she bathed me well into puberty. (I always hated it, but there was no telling her no at the time. We don't get along now....) My daughters are 7 and 4. She bathes both of them completely when they visit, but at home my 7 year old is on her own, and I wash my 4 year old's hair for her. She has very thick hair, and I have a hard time getting all the shampoo out, or else I would let her do it. My mother thinks they are both too young. How old were your kids? How should I handle my overbearing mother on this subject? I don't want my kids to feel like I did, and I know they will as they get older.


Asked by Anonymous at 10:04 PM on Jan. 4, 2009 in Toddlers (1-2)

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Answers (11)
  • I think you better just pull the mom card on that one..."these are my kids...I did not like that growing're going to do it my way or you're not going to do it at all". Sometimes you've just got to put your foot down on something you feel strongly about and nevermind the reaction you might get.

    To answer your question, my daughter is 3 and the only thing I do is wash her hair. I still get her out, dried off, and dressed and do her hair because otherwise she would freeze dinking around...but we're working on that. And again, she is 3 not pushing her teenage years.

    Answer by kabbot01 at 9:18 AM on Jan. 5, 2009

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  • My ds who is seven almost eight takes a shower/bath by himself. There are times that I check in on him because I want to make sure he is washing his both. My dd who is four also takes a bath by herself but I wash her hair. She usually plays then I come in and help her wash her hair and then she washes her body.

    My main issue is making sure they do not use too much soap. DS has been known to use half a bottle of soap.

    Answer by spunkymomof3 at 10:35 PM on Jan. 4, 2009

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  • as long as you know they are fine and safe id tell your OM to butt out and if she cant follow your rules and guidlines on how you raise our children then tell her they simply wont visit overnight anymore..and if she continues to pester you tell her that untill she can respect you and your wishes she may only visit with the children while at your home so that way you can make sure shes not violation your wishes..good luck.

    ps i leave my 4yr old and 2yr in the bath together to play for 30 mins before i wash them up but if its just my 2 yr old i leave him in there for maybe 10 but hes never out of my sight i can see the bath tub fully from the end of my bed and i watch him as he learns to play SAFE in a tub..good luck

    Answer by connorsmom22607 at 10:40 PM on Jan. 4, 2009

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  • My oldest is 5 1/2 and we still help him--mainly because he will sit and just play and never get around to bathing himself, lol.

    I think 7 years is a perfectly fine age to bathe alone. You're the mom, you make the rules ;)

    Answer by ReneeK3 at 12:15 AM on Jan. 5, 2009

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  • My boys started washing themselves @ 5 years old. I just stayed very close and checked in on them...they are 9 and 10 now and I still stay close. I have a problem of them using too much soap if I let them do it so I pour some soap on a rag myself, have them to wet their hair and I put the soap on it. My 10 year old is mildly autistic and he and my 9 year old LOVE the water, so I have to time the showers. I am never where I can't see the bathroom door and it stays open at all times while they are in the shower. Just try it, but never leave them unattended.....especially the 4 year old.

    Answer by MomOf2Js2 at 1:51 AM on Jan. 5, 2009

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  • My 4 year old is now starting to shower by himself. (he'll be 5 in February) Last night, in fact, he washed himself and his hair (thin and short lol)....he dried himself and dressed himself. He did have help combing his hair and washing his back.

    My husband was in the bathroom with him during the shower, especially when he was getting in and out of the tub. After he was done washing, he was allowed to put water in the tub for some bath playtime.

    Our goal is for him to be showering himself by the time he turns 5.

    Answer by TiccledBlue at 6:35 AM on Jan. 5, 2009

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  • My 6 y/o, 4 y/o and almost 4 y/o all bathe themselves. They all decided that on their own. My younger 3 y/o tries to do it on her own but, doesn't get get her whole head wet when she tries to wash her hair. I do check on them and make sure they are doing it right but, for the most part they are and I don't bathe them unless I am in a hurry.

    Answer by matthewscandi at 7:35 AM on Jan. 5, 2009

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  • My son at 3.5 washes himself, I am in the room with him but other wise he's on his own.

    Try to avoid having the girls take baths at your Mother's house. It's something that may not be needed and by avoiding it, you will be helping them to avoid the feelings you had as a child/young teen.

    Answer by PeytonNBella at 8:13 AM on Jan. 5, 2009

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  • My little girl is 3.5. I wash her and wash her hair and then shes on her own. I stay in the room sometimes I'll go in my room and do a little work but the way our bathroom and bedroom are set up I can always see her from the door so I know shes not drowning.

    Answer by geminishadow79 at 8:43 AM on Jan. 5, 2009

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  • I stopped bathing my kids when they were around 4/5. It was kind of complicated because they were all in the tub together but my youngest, at the time, was 3 and needed me to help wash her so I was in there washing her but the other two would wash themselves and I would just do their hair. Now they are 8, 7 and 6 and all take baths on their own, including washing their hair (the girls both have short hair now, not even to their shoulders). They even turn on the shower/draw their own bath water on their own. Every other week or so I go in and wash their hair real well with my shampoo which gives it a deeper cleaning but that's it.
    I still bathe my 2yo but I let her do most of the washing herself.
    As for your mother I would tell her the kids aren't allowed to stay at her house if she won't stop bathing them, especially the older one. It could be considered abuse if she is making them feel uncomfortable.

    Answer by justanotherjen at 9:08 AM on Jan. 5, 2009

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