Despite what we’re taught, we actually don’t need to bathe every day, and doing so may not be the best thing for our skin. The age and activity level of kids matters when it comes to how often you should bathe them, with most kids only needing a bath a couple of times per week. This information comes from the American Academy of Dermatology, and is the most recent directive offered, from 2016.
You can use the following to figure out how often to bathe your children and wash their hair.
Generally speaking, children between the ages of 6 and 11 only need a bath or shower two or three times per week.
Children between 6 and 11 only need a shampoo once or twice per week until puberty. Any child with dry or curly hair needs it much less, with a shampoo only every seven to 10 days. If a child has sweated a lot or has been swimming, a rinse and condition will suffice in the interim.
How active your kids are?
If your child is dirty, they should bathe and wash their hair, but only if it really needs a proper clean – rinsing is perfectly acceptable, and retains key moisturising and protective elements of skin. It is good to rinse after being in a pool, lake, ocean or other water, or when they get sweaty or start to smell.
When puberty hits?
At about age 12, children need to start washing more often, with the advice being daily showering and shampooing every other day. The exception again is those with very dry or curly hair, in which case these children should bathe every day, and shampoo only every seven to 10 days. Children should now start washing their faces in the morning and evening to remove dirt and oil.
Understanding shampoo and conditioner
Conditioner is designed to moisturise hair, but most kids won’t need this. Longer hair can be much more easily combed with conditioner through it, however, so any long hair can be conditioned. Conditioner may also weigh the hair down, so thin hair can often do without it to add volume, while anyone with curly hair may want to use it. Tangles are quickly untangled with conditioner. Apply only to the ends of the hair, not the scalp.
Children are different
Not every child will need this – you are the best judge of how dirty your kids are getting and how often they need a bath. There is no one-size-fits-all approach for bathing all children, so play it by ear and see what they really need. If you find they are too oily or too dry, adjust your practices. Remember that soap is very drying, and can start scratch-itch-scratch cycles, so be mindful to allow the skin to retain its natural oils.
Does your child have a skin condition they are not growing out of?