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Age Appropriateness of Bathing Opposite Sex Siblings Together

Bath time is fun for kids. Rubber duckies, bubbles, splashing water: what’s not to love? It can be a more-the-merrier experience for your kids . . . for a while. But when does bathing opposite sex siblings together become age inappropriate? There is no magic age at which opposite sex siblings should no longer be bathed together; however, there are considerations that should be evaluated when determining if it’s time to start private baths for your kids. Read on for the details.

Your kids’ body sizes as compared to the size of your bath tub. Do they both fit comfortably in the tub?

Your kids’ self-awareness (including identifying with his/her own gender) and desire for privacy. (Note: if one of your kids asks why his/her opposite sex sibling has different-looking body parts, you should calmly and comfortably answer those questions. Teach your kids to be comfortable with the concept of bodies as natural and healthy, not shameful or sinful. Questions about comparative anatomy should not, in and of themselves, dictate that it’s time for private baths.)
Your kids’ comfort (or discomfort) with shared baths. Do any of your kids express (verbally or behaviorally) discomfort with the idea of shared baths?

At what age a child needs to have privacy during bathing will depend on the factors above, but, in this author’s opinion, kids should generally be moved from shared baths to private baths somewhere between age three and six years of age.

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