Why I’m Not Going to Bathe My Kids This Summer

A happy little boy child is smiling as he runs and plays outside on a summer day, while covered in mud and dirt.
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I don’t plan on bathing my kids this summer.

Summer is a time for getting dirty. It’s for grass-stained knees, dirt behind ears, and pasty-white sunscreen streaked over red cheeks. Summer is when sweaty hair clings to the back of the neck, popsicles drip down shirts, and berries stain lips. There’s nothing clean about summer, and I don’t see any use in pretending there is. My kids can wallow in their own filth this summer and enjoy every minute of it.

There is scientific evidence to back up my bath-less approach to the season. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that newborns do not need regular bathing – other than their diaper area – until they are crawling, eating foods, and actually getting dirty. In fact, frequent bathing of babies can even lead to dry skin and eczema, some researchers caution.

Likewise, the American Academy of Dermatology says that children between ages six and 11 only need baths once or twice a week, unless they are sweaty, dirty, or went swimming in a lake or river. Michael Welch, M.D., the chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ section on allergy and immunology, argues that exposing children to a dirt may actually protect them. As children’s immune systems develop, they benefit from exposure to viruses, bacteria, and yes – dirt.

Granted, these experts don’t say never bathe your children, which is what my ideal summer would entail. But don’t worry – we do have a blow-up pool and a garden hose. I think that should suffice.

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Really, is there anything better than a parenting method that lets you be lazy and feel superior to other mothers at the neighborhood cookout?

Just picture it: “Oh you bathe your child every…

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