The Family Shower

Connectivity and togetherness are two very strong themes of the natural parent. Many natural parents opt to bedshare because the family bed allows them to be close to their sleeping children and to better anticipate and attend to their needs. Mealtimes are shared among families of all kinds, as the dinner table is a great way to connect with one another after a busy day. There are other opportunities for connection and togetherness that are less discussed.

We all need to bathe, but why make it solitary activity? There are plenty of reasons to share bathtime, particularly with very young children.

Togetherness

All families are busy – that is the nature of the beast in a household with little ones. So often we are drawn in separate directions by work, by the demands of the home, and by our own personal needs. The time that the family can spend together as a family unit is often not as much as we’d like. The shower can be a wonderful opportunity to grab a few more moments of family togetherness. For the parents, shower time can be used to discuss the events of the day, upcoming plans, or concerns of the household. Between the parents and child, it is another opportunity to just be together. Children love to blur the line between playtime and bathtime, and showering or bathing with children is a great way to explore playtime together.

The family bath is common in Japan.

Quiet Connectivity

Showering together can be an opportunity to develop a quiet closeness with one another as well. The act of washing another person has deep symbolic roots in Christianity. But even without any religious overtones the act of cleaning another person is a sign of affection and intimacy, and it can forge a deep connection. Quietly washing your partner’s back, arms, elbows, hands – paying attention to every detail – is meaningful in that you are dedicating your time and your work to pampering and caring for your partner. How often do you get the opportunity to do that? Parents washing their child together can offer that same deep level of connection: it is a great opportunity to focus 100% of your collective attention on your child as you bathe him together.

Eco-Friendly

There can be a significant savings in water usage gained by showering together. If your partner takes 15 minutes to shower and you take 20 minutes to shower, but together you take just 25 minutes, that’s 10 minutes of water usage that you’ve conserved. Each shower means a little bit of water saved, and over time, those baby steps add up to real savings.

Nudity and the Young Child

While some families believe that an open and honest discussion about body differences begins young, not everyone is comfortable with letting their young children see their parents in the nude. There may be an advantage to normalizing nudity at a young age, or it may open the door to questions that parents aren’t ready to answer. That is a decision that each family has to make on their own, keeping in mind the age of their child(ren), their own comfort levels with nudity, and their philosophy towards the inevitable question about why mommy’s parts or daddy’s parts look different from their own.

Discussions on the family shower seem few and far between. Child nudity is so taboo that perhaps even discussions of innocent nudity or necessary nudity are shied away from in the blogosphere. For other takes on the family shower, here are a few discussions:

Momotics sees nothing wrong with the family shower, but understands why people may be reluctant to discuss the practice.

In Japan, where public baths still thrive, the family bath is not taboo, it is a regular practice.

Dear Prudence suggests that there is a precise age when bathing together becomes improper. Do you agree?

What is your take on the family bath? Do you bathe together? If not, why not? If so, what prompted you to start?

About The Author: Jenn

Monkey Butt Junction MBJunction My NPN Posts

Jenn embraced natural parenting as a way to develop a deep bond with her son Jack despite working long hours outside of the home.

16 Responses to The Family Shower

  1. Melissa  

    I love this! I started showering with my daughter as a newborn out of necessity: I had no help or co parent for her first 8 months. Now that I have the option to bathe alone, I still end up sharing this time with her more often than not, and it’s relaxing for both of us. She often refuses a solo bath at our scheduled bath time, but never turns an opportunity to hop in with me!

  2. Claire  

    Personally, Peanut showers with myself and my husband on a daily basis. I don’t honestly know how I’d get a shower in without it! She loves do “shower-bath” which means she plugs the tub up while I’m showering so there’s water in the bottom. If we could all shower together, we would, but sadly our tub is pathetically small, so my husband and I don’t even shower together as often as we did in our previous house. When this baby comes, I’m sure that he/she will be incorporated into mine and Peanut’s showers. :-D

    My husband did bring up the topic the other day of when does he have to stop taking baths/showers with Peanut. I think at the age when she starts showing a need for privacy that she’ll probably stop asking to get in with us. I don’t think that burdens her like that lady said in the article you linked to. I think it’ll be obvious when she starts feeling uncomfortable and she won’t necessarily have to speak it out loud.

  3. E.way

    We have always showered/bathed together. We dont even think about it, it’s just a normal thing that happens on a daily base. No second thought is wasted on it, when its shower/bath time we all go in the bathroom and clean up. It’s so much fun playing in the water together, talking about the day, teaching proper hygiene by example, and it saves sooo much time!!! All of us love it. I do accept that others are uneasy about it and if you don’t make a big deal out of it, it wont be. Try it sometime … You might be surprised !! :)

    • Lobe.My.Way

      I’m glad I read this … I was having some strange feelings, our children always shower with us … We also all sleep together in the same room. We stopped letting our daughter who is 6, and her heart broke. Then she said something that broke me, “is my body parts bad? ” Needless to say, the showers resumed. I never want her to feel that way :(

  4. Brigid from www.naturallyattached.com  

    I really enjoyed reading this post mostly for sheer evidence that other people do this too. I have “shower bathed” as Jenna & Claire say as well since my son was very young:) I think it that helps keep him warm plus he’s able to play and splash still! Everytime I have mentioned this to other people they seem to find something wrong with it and just down right dumbfounded by it. I don’t think people even think to bathe together especially with young children. I would bring my son in the bath with me and hold him and then when he could sit in the “bumbo” seat I would put him in there and start “shower bath” time. I actually just recently noted on my blog how my son still showers with either his Dad or I (or both!) I wish more people would!

  5. Lauren  

    Hee, we do the shower-bath, too! Mikko loves the handheld shower sprayer for washing us off. I have to admit, sometimes I purposely choose a time to shower when he’s not around just for the solitude, but he always wants company when he bathes. I remember showering with my parents when I was very young (preschool-age), and I remember wishing for company long after that!

  6. Acrophile

    My DH stopped showering in front of or with (it was an intermittent thing with us, never regular) our daughter when she started to notice his gent-parts (around age 4). We didn’t make a big deal of it, he just casually grabs a towel when she’s in the room. I stopped bathing with her when I was pregnant with her sister and we wouldn’t fit in the tub together anymore! Now even she and her sister do not bathe together anymore because they just couldn’t seem to get along in there. One is introverted and enjoys her own company, the other (older) has to be interacting all – the – time. She never lets her little sis alone. So I put a stop to co-bathing. Ah well. Bittersweet endings.

  7. Kat @ Loving {Almost} Every Moment

    I do love this idea! Our kiddos bathe together, though us parents haven’t done so in a long time. I actually thought about this the other day, that it would be nice for the kiddos to have a bath with Daddy, if not every bath, then at least once in a while. Kiddos love stuff like that! As for when it’s “inappropriate” I think it depends on the family…for us, the body is a normal, natural thing and we don’t make a big deal about nude-ness. So our kiddos see us getting dressed, getting out of the shower or using the bathroom. It makes sense to me for them to see us doing things they are going to have to learn anyways!

  8. Gaby@Tmuffin  

    I wish I had a bigger shower! We shower with the kids in the summer… as soon as our kids were able to sit on their own, we plopped them in the shower while we showered. Even when they were newborn, I couldn’t figure out how to use the baby bathtub, so I used to just take baths with them. It was so peaceful and relaxing. I remember one time when my newborn Little M caught my gaze and just held it when we were relaxing in the tub together, and I felt like he was looking into my soul.

    • Jenn @ Monkey Butt Junction  

      That’s really sweet. I wish I had started sharing solitary baths with my son when he was a newborn. He was so little and slippery that I always wanted my husband there for an extra set of hands. I wish we could have had that little extra “just us” time though now, in retrospect.

  9. Laura

    Love this! I showered with my oldest until my belly got so big, he accidently hid under it and then when I moved, he was knocked over. Our showers together ended after that. :( Sadly, my other three children had no interest in showering with me beyond their early babyhood, when I used a shower and a water sling to clam them down. Now, I do sometimes get in the bath with them… but they seem to prefer co-bathing with each other.

  10. wellness coach  

    LOVE THIS POST!!! I completely agree with what you said regarding closeness and the natural family. AMEN! It is the polar opposite of what society promotes, which is distance between family members.

  11. Elizabeth

    I do a shower/bath with my almost 2 year old too, and I cherish this time with her! I’m just trying to figure out what to do when our next baby arrives in a few weeks…I don’t like the idea of leaving either child out, but all 3 of us in the tub sounds crowded.

  12. Julia mac

    What a wonderful forum for natural & healthy parenting. our children are now 7 & 9 years old and they still co-shower together. it is more practical with our often busy schedule. from time to time hubby or i will hop in with them but space is often an issue.

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