For most families, bath time is an important part of the nightly routine. With the amount of things children get into during the day, it makes sense to want to "wash the day away," so to speak, and prep for a brand new day. But what if I told you there were some weirdly scary things that happen when you bathe your toddler everyday? Would that change your routine. Learning that daily baths aren't ideal is a pretty big deal for many parents. After all, isn't cleanliness next to godliness or something like that?
It turns out that bathing your child everyday may be doing more harm than good. I'll admit, I'm as bad as anyone. Though I don't mind a bit of dirt on my toddlers, bath-time has turned into our daily moment of calm, a space where both of my daughters are mutually happy and will spend more than 15 minutes together in peace.
Unfortunately, after learning about these rather unideal consequences of daily baths, our serene nightly baths will be pushed back to once or twice weekly, because it turns out that dirt isn't quite as bad as we often assume it to be.
1. Their Skin Dries Out
The most obvious effect of over-bathing is that your child's skin will be too dry. According to Children's National Health Systems, soaps and even too much water can strip their skin of the natural oils that protect and moisturize it, thereby drying it out.
2. It Could Exacerbate Eczema
If your child has particularly sensitive skin, bathing your child will likely make the issue worse, leading to eczema or dry patches of skin. A piece from The Wall Street Journal noted that bathing your child too often increases their risks of developing eczema or other skin rashes.
3. It Can Strip Their Bodies Of Immunity Boosting Antibodies From, Yep, Dirt
It turns out that the old saying, "a little dirt won't hurt" has proven to be pretty accurate. In fact, research shows that dirt exposure helps "train" a child's immune system, teaching it how to respond when it encounters bacteria and illness. According to research by John Hopkins University, early exposure to dirt, allergens, and dander can actually decrease the likelihood that a child will develop allergies later in life.
TIME magazine also noted that children who lived in homes that were ultra-clean develop more allergies than kids who are exposed to things like dander and dirt.
So, while you probably shouldn't let your children be real life versions of Pig Pen, a little dirt certainly won't hurt.