Long before I had a large family, I began scheduling bath time. I learned the concept from large families with many small children and figured if it worked for them, it would work for my two littles. So, for about 7 years now, Bath Night is on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday nights.In a large family, anything that can be done on auto-pilot is a good thing. With the routine of a set Bath Night, I just know that if it is Tuesday (or Thursday or Saturday), the kiddos need a dunkin’.
Of course, there are the exceptions…diaper blowouts, impromptu romps in the mud, and messy spaghetti suppers…that all require, if not occurring on a Bath Night, a quick run through the tub. But, I’ve been known to plan spaghetti suppers and other messy activities ON Bath Night!
This is mainly a schedule for the littler children. My oldest child, age 11, just recently began showering on his own time schedule (usually every night). He has more opportunity to become sweaty and stinky and no longer needs my assistance. (Note to all of you with only “littles”…they do grow up!)
So, how can you set up your own bath schedule? First off, you need to determine what nights NEED to be a bath night. Do you have a night when the kids go to a club meeting like AWANA or Scouts? Do they tend to come home yucky? Or maybe you have a Family Night that often ends with a mud fight or some such thing. For us, Saturday night is the HAVE TO night because of church the next morning. I know I cannot possibly get everyone through baths on Sunday morning, but I want everyone spiffy for church, so Saturday night is it. If you have a particular night that MUST be a bath night, then you can work from there.
I prefer not to bathe small children every day because of dry skin issues. That’s why we went with the Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday model. I also only wash hair once a week unless absolutely needed. Hair-washing occurs on Saturday night (so their hair is spiffy too!)
Efficiency is also the name of the game. While I do take time here and there to gently wash away the cares of the day, there are nights when time is crunched and I need to get them through their baths and into bed lickety-split. On those nights, I do several things…
*Double up ~ toddlers together, girls together, boys together, mama or daddy and baby together…whatever you can do to reduce time and water.
*Assembly line ~ As one is getting out, another gets in. Bath water gets shared as long as you can still see the bottom of the tub! lol Enlist another family member to take the clean child and dress them for bed (brushing teeth included). Gather the children to a “holding place” like the living room or your bedroom. This way, once everyone is through the bath, you can gather in one place with your children for prayers and loves.
*Bubble baths or bath oil baths ~ No need for soap…just splash around a bit and rinse off.
You might find as your family grows, you’ll need to split baths up throughout the week. Micah almost always gets his bath the morning AFTER Bath Night…Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday mornings. Bathing him takes all of 30 seconds, so no biggie, but for some reason, it is very difficult for me to fit him into the night routine. He’s either asleep by that time or I don’t feel I have the time and energy.
If you find the task of bathing all the children on one particular night too daunting, consider having the boys bathe on one night and girls on the opposing. Or have the littlest littles on one night and the bigger littles on the other. Tweak it, work with it, find your groove, then switch on auto-pilot and go with it!