Stay in the bathroom while he showers alone.

When Should Little Boys Stop Taking Showers with Their Mothers?

by Maggie McCormick

Showering with your son can save time and water, but there comes a point when you'll want to stop doing it -- usually around the time you realize that he's grown so much that your naked bum is right in his face or he's comfortable enough to give your tummy a jiggle and say, "Look how squishy it is." The exact moment when showering together stops varies greatly from family to family, based on your feelings about the naked body.

It's Not Sexual

As an adult, you might think about the naked body as a sexual thing, but this isn't true of young children. They likely don't know what sex is or have the capacity to understand it. Natural curiosity about bodies does take over, though, and your son may do or say things that make you uncomfortable. For example, he might be proud of his erection and want to show it to you, or he might reach out to stroke your pubic hair, wondering what it's all about. In these situations, it's important to remember that these actions are not about sex. To discourage him, simply tell your child, "That's a private area."

Comfort Levels

Comfort levels are the biggest factor when it comes to showering with your son. You might not feel embarrassed at all when your 4-year-old sees you naked, while your best friend hasn't let her son see her naked since he was 1. There comes a point when natural modesty -- yours or his -- takes over, and you'll know that the time is right to stop showering together. You might just feel that he's "too big" or you might notice him starting to be embarrassed to be naked around you. This can happen at any age during the preschool years.

Talking About It

How you talk about nudity and your bodies around your child plays a role in the ideas he forms about the topic. If you snap at him about touching himself, for example, he might feel ashamed about his body and his desire to touch himself. It's best to act nonchalant about the naked body. If you don't make a big deal about it, neither will he.


Even if you're no longer comfortable showering with your son, it's important for you to stay in the bathroom with him while he showers until he is at least 6 years old, according to Medline Plus, the website for the National Institutes of Health. Young children may be able to shower by themselves, but they can still easily slip and require help.

About the Author

Maggie McCormick is a freelance writer. She lived in Japan for three years teaching preschool to young children and currently lives in Honolulu with her family. She received a B.A. in women's studies from Wellesley College.

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