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I'd def prefer if the kids had bathed separately. Not that I can easily justify my opinion - I have just learnt to go with my gut on these kind of things. And that's what my gut says :-)

Good questions. . .I am not super modest when it comes to our 5 year old son. However I would not want him taking a bath with a girl around his age at my house or the friend's house. He has taken a bath with his 5 year old male cousin. Our 5 year old is very comfortable with me bathing, changing clothes, and going to the potty (like I have or ever had a choice), but not so sure about a female his age. Maybe at the age of 3 or 4, but I have been introducing the concept of privacy to him before he either gets to comfortable seeing me or before he becomes too curious. As for Adam and Kate being opposite sex twins and probably very comfortable with each other it may be very different. I would think it would be. Another personal call.

Wow. I am surprised to see the comments above. It would not even have occurred to me. Of course they all bath together. Okay, I'd better start learning.

I would always say bath without the 'e' and I am from the UK!

Anyhooo, I would have done exactly as you did until I could ask the Mum whether it was okay to bung them all in together. I am from the same school as you when it comes to parenting and mine are now grown and they have turned out terrifically!!


Yeah, good call Tertia. Girls together and boys together till you can check with the parents. If my daughter was having a sleep over at the same age, I would expect her wishes to be consulted too. Rather than assuming she would be cool with a communal bathing experience, ask her what she would like. Some kids aren't comfortable with it when others are. And if they are that's fine, and they can let you know when they are no longer comfortable with it as they get older. I have no idea what that age would be...I guess it would vary.

Good to see they all such good friends!!
Wendy xxx

You handled the bath time situation just as I would have. I think the 5th birthday would be the end to joint bath times.

yes, you are a bit paranoid. ;-)
I even wouldn't have thought that this could be a problem. anyway, I think it is okay as long as the kids themselves want it. my actual neighbour-girl would never bath with my son (he is almost 6, she is 7). she feels to much shame. the neigbour girl we had before (8 years) still baths with my son, when they see each other. once , when the kids were about 4 and 6 years old, we two mother caught them "playing" with my sons... we were a bit surprised! ;-) but in the end we thought that we should let them explore their bodies (*sigh*).

No I wouldn't let them all bathE together! If the little girl has no brothers, she may have never seen boy parts and indoctrinating her at my house would be wrong.

"Indoctrinating"? Seriously?

I do not think that word means what you think it means...

My kids were all allergic to being seen naked or seeing others (including each other) naked by the time they were five. Even the identical twin boys would freak OUT if one walked in on the other getting dressed or using the bathroom. I mean c'mon, it's the same junk! So it would never have occurred to me to put them in the bathtub with each other, let alone a friend. But I don't think it's a big deal if it doesn't bother the kids. Probably was best to check with Mom first though.

Love the pics!

I would have checked with the mother first, so right call. My children are very comfortable with nakedness but I've noticed other children - even at a young age - can be much shyer, so it would also depend on the child. However, my son is just 8 and that is definitely at least a year over the line for boy/girl baths (except with his younger sister).

I've noticed that other nationalities can be touchy about children's nakedness though. In Europe bare bottoms and little girls without bikini tops is very normal and part of a free childhood, but I think it's not so accepted in the US?

I think you found the perfect solution. I would not have gone forward without the mother's permission. I would not be upset if it were my child, but best to err on the side of caution when you are not sure, and a perfectly acceptable alternative is just as easy.

I think it's time to split them up when they start thinking about the opposite sex in terms of 'girlfriends' - ie exactly right now. Clearly twin siblings are different, but for a visiting friend, I think you did exactly the right thing.

I think at age 5 the boys and girls should bath separately. It was around that time my husband's daughter started noticing dad's bits and commenting on it. It was the end of them bathing together.

I find all these comments interesting because my children are girl7 and boy6 and they still bathe together sometimes. My husband and I have talked about when we should separate them, but we decided that our daughter will probably let us know when she feels the need to have her privacy. Now our children are extremely close and have always bathed together and love to play together in the bathtub. I remember bathing with my brother and don't even remember when it stopped but it was never a big deal. I'm surprised so many people think that children should stop bathing together at 5.

As for your situation, I think you handled it perfectly.

I think you handled the situation perfectly, my children are only 3 but they bath together and I guess they´ll continue to do so until one of them complains, I wouldn´t mind they bathing with a friend, no matter what sex that friend would be. That said I´ve found out that parents of same sex children or only one child often feel differently and are way more prudish, so good call!

I would have more of a problem that you posted my child's picture on the internet!

The bathing - not so much.


If I were K's mom, I'd've been fine with having all 3 5yos together in the bath. I also think you did right by wanting to check with K's mom first. I think it begins to be not OK to have boys and girls in the bath together when it becomes uncomfortable for THEM.

My nearly 5 year old daughter will share a bath with her best friends of the same age who are girl/boy twins, but they have grown up together. Also I would be happy (and she has done so) shared a bath with the son of another close friend. I'm not sure how I would feel if she was on an extended play date. i would probably be a bit funny about someone I didn't know that well bathing her at all, and I can't explain why. If I were the mum on the play date i would ask the other mum, but bath separately til then. I think you handled it perfectly and now you'll know for next time, as will we!

I wouldn't have thought it would be a problem either. I had the care of two kids once (long story, I was young, friends were young, I kinda took over parenting their kids for a bit). The girl I had been caring for since she was a baby, the boy a few months, and they were the same age. I stopped bathing them together when they were 3 and they stopped respecting personal boundaries. I know they are just little kids, but I was a little kid once too running naked with little boys and it makes me blush now to think of the stuff we unknowingly and innocently did! Kids are too little to understand their own sexuality, and when it came up during bath time I decided to end it there. They have plenty of time to figure out these things later on when they have a better understanding of their sexuality in a social context.

It would totally depend on the kids though. I think it does make a difference between related and unrelated kids, but I wouldn't know personally as I didn't have a brother.

Did you ask permission to post her pic? Just asking because some people are sensitive to that.

As far as the bathing -- for your own kids, as long as they are comfortable. Other people's children; not without asking first.

I don't think I'll bathe my kids together when my son is 5 and my daughter is 3. I don't know why, but it doesn't seem right? Maybe I will when the time comes, they are currently 4 (in 2 days!) and 18 mos.

I got a TON of dirty looks today from newer immigrants in our community who I presume thought it was immodest that I let my 18 month old play outside in a diaper and t-shirt only.

I would have done the same thing. But I can't believe that the PP say their kids were 5 before they started noticing Dad's anatomy. My daughter's are 2 and 3 and they have definitely noticed it and know what's it called.

I also echo other who say the rule would be "when my kids feel weird about it" - for my own kids. It seems odd to draw an arbitrary line of when kids shouldn't bathe together anymore... It's ok at 4 years 364 days, but not at 5?

I think I would separate by gender around age 4 for friends. But my kids bathed together until my son was around 7 or 8 and my daughter was 4.

IMHO only, twin siblings okay at five, maybe not so okay but the time they go to Grade 0. I'd say it was a good call on splitting the girls and the boys during the sleep-over.

My 5-year old girls have a "bestes friend forever" who happens to be a boy and they bath together. I have noticed that one of them seems to be edging towards the "shy" side so this will probably have to stop soon.

I suppose if I think about it, you made the best call you could have. I just don't know if I would have thought about it. Just this weekend, we (all mothers were present, but still) put 2 five year old boys in the bath with 1 five year old girl and there was no issue what so ever. They were all so busy playing with the bubbles, they really did not care. That said, both the boys have younger sisters, and the girl has a younger brother. Maybe that has something to do with it too.

I suppose round the age of 5 IS a good time to start thinking about separating the friends - but my babes will carry on bathing together until one of THEM tells me otherwise.

I would've done what you did! But I have a question... by what age should my son ( now 2.5 years old ) not see me naked anymore? Nobody can answer me on that one. He knows there is a difference between my bits & his ( or daddy's ).

I think you made the right call, seeing as you didn't know how the other mom would react. As for me, I'd be a-ok with it. My kids (son, 7 and daughter, 4) bathe together and it's no problem at all. I think that the kids will take the lead in deciding when it's not okay anymore.

I don't think of such things to be honest. I changed Dylan's nappy (diaper) at a friend's home. She has 3 daughters under 5 and I changed him with them present and they were shocked at seeing Dylan's penis. I was more surprised that they didn't know that boys arrive with an extra tool. I guess we all think differently, but well done to you on considering her kids.

I would thank anyone who manages to bathe either (or both) of my 7-year old boys. Whomever they were bathed with (boy, girl, dog... maybe I would stop at alligator. Maybe).
I might have done like you, because I know not all mothers are alike. Personally I have no problem with nudity, which I think is completely normal. My children are allowed to have body privacy if they want to - I wish the boys learned to clean themselves after using the bathroom, instead of shouting "Mommy!".
As for the physical difference, mine were taught early on that boys have a didi and girls have a very small didi, which is hard to see. I think the words penis and clitoris sound too cultural for primary school kids.

Chantale: People were unhappy with a toddler running around in diaper and t-shirt? What's wrong with them?? I know plenty of people who set their little kids out in just a diaper with no complaints. Kids don't like clothes. This is a fact of life.

Tertia: That was a good call, in my opinion. I don't think I ever bathed with a boy (I only have a sister and didn't have overnights with boys because I liked playing with girls better), but I was always uncomfortable with the little naked boys changing after swim time in day camp. My mom probably wouldn't have objected, but me? I would have freaked out, even at age three.

Probably depends on the the level of awareness of a certain 5 year old. My daughter is 5, and she is way to old to bathe with a boy. She is keenly aware of the differences, and I would not feel comfortable for HER to have that experience. You did the right thing to ask the mum.

I think you did the right thing--I would have probably checked beforehand but I'm so paranoid with parents these days, especially here in USA, where everyone is so darn conservative. (See? I used "darn"!) Anyway, I think you should let your kids bathe together as long as you'd like and they feel comfortable--I bathed with my brother until I was pretty old (I was like 8 but he was only 3, so a bit different). I don't get why nakedness is so big a deal; I'd rather my kids see naked bits then blown up bits!

I commented earlier also. My son and I are very comfortable with nakedness, my husband a little less. My son is very aware of different body parts. He has always been a very curious child about everything. We have always called it a penis and when he noticed I did not have one I briefly explaind that females have vaginas (I have not introduced clitoris yet). He really does not think any big deal about it. He pays more attention to the difference in the size of his penis compared to my husbands. But now that he is almost 5 1/2 I am wanting him to understand the concept of privacy. I have started turning my back when I put on my bra and subtle things like that. We are not prudish (trust me), but privacy is an issue that I want him to understand. Not saying that age 5 is the cutoff or a magical age. I am basing this on the maturity of my son and the values we want to teach him. I think family (especially twins) or close friends might be different. Truly is a personal call.

Good call. Your kids are your own business, of course, but in general I would stop the bathing together after five. Sex play among kids happens, and I wouldn't want to facilitate it between siblings.

I wouldn't have felt comfortable with bathing them all together at that age. I think made a good call, not necessarily just about that, but about considering the other mom's wishes and playing it safe.

Tertia, you were thoughtful. Personally the bath of a 5 yrs old does not bother me one bit. My daughter has no sense of shame at all, and I always struggle to explain to her that she cannot run away naked in a public place because some people freak out (I live in the US). In Italy where I grew up kids this age run around naked at the beach without any problem. However, some children may be more shy or may have been raised differently, and it would be bad to embarass them.
Asking the parents about posting the photo on the blog is a must.

How do you pronounce this "bath"? Anyway, you did absolutely the right thing, erring on the side of caution since you didn't ask in advance. Different parents have different feelings on that type of issue and you never know.

Am I the only one thinking-- why even do baths that night? But then again, my little one is lucky to get a bath a week...............

I agree with the choice you made, Tertia. That's what I would have done, and what I'm most comfortable with at that age. FWIW!

Yellowgirl- that was my first thought too! My kids have spent many late evenings and overnights with friends(and vice versa) but we've never bathed each others kids. Mainly because it's too much work! I have a girl and boy who are 2 years apart and bathed together til my daughter decided she wanted her privacy, I think she was about 9.

I think it's fine for your kids to bathe together: they are siblings, they feeling comfortable (presumably) telling you if they want privacy, etc. But it's different to put a non-sibling girl with a boy in a bath, IMHO. So I think you did the right thing. I personally would not have cared if you'd put my son in with your daughter, but I imagine many would care. Better safe than sorry.

Thought you were very brave taking on a 'half' sleep-over in the first place! Oh, by-the-way, there are no issues on my side, about bathing together or the posted photos!

I think I'd rather my 5 year old daughter not bathe with nonfamily boys ONLY because she asks way too many questions that I don't think we're prepared to fully answer at the moment. :)

Quite simple: I'd let Kids bathe together until one of them doesn't feel comfortable with that anymore. Of course, if I knew that the parents would object, I'd abstain from putting them all in the same tub as well. But other than that... where's the problem?

I completely agree Ute. Within a family I think that kids bathe together until they decide they don't want to anymore and it seems that that time will be different for every kid. And when kids from other families are involved these comments show that parents have a variety of different opinions so it's best to err on the side of caution (as Tertia did). As for anything inappropriate happening between children of different sexes, aren't all parents supervising children when in the bath? A few months ago a 6 year old boy drowned in the bath here in Australia because he slipped and was knocked unconcsious. I don't ever think a child should be left unattended in the bath.

I don't have kids but I wouldn't have a problem with it unless the kid had a problem with it. I think you did the right thing, I live in the southern US which tends to be VERY conservative (I am definitely a minority) and that might offend some people very much. Personally though, I think all the kids would be having too much fun splashing together to notice each others' parts.

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