When children are young it’s often more convenient to do things in batches, including bathing them together, dressing them together, feeding them together and putting them to sleep in the same room. While all of this togetherness is great for building strong sibling bonds, there will come a time when it is no longer acceptable for brothers and sisters to do everything at the same time. Though it is every parent’s prerogative to have their young children bathe together and Share A Bedroom, there will come a time when separating the sexes becomes a concern.
Separating the Sexes at Bathtime
Parents often vehemently disagree on when brothers and sisters should discontinue bathing together. Some parents feel that it is never right for their children to have mixed-sex baths, while others think that it is fine until the children themselves ask to separate. As a general rule of thumb, our society is accepting of young children bathing together while they are toddlers or at most until they reach school age. After this point, children are usually physically big enough to make bathing together uncomfortable anyway.
When it does come time to bathe each child separately, remember that bathtime can be a great time for parent and child bonding. Consider using this time to:
- Talk about what happened during the day
- Read a favourite poem or story
- Play water games with bath toys
- Teach your child how to check the water temperature, wash his/her own hair, etc.
Separating the Sexes in Bedrooms
Many siblings successfully share bedrooms for years, but keeping brothers and sisters in the same room after they leave primary school often raises eyebrows. By the end of primary school, children are well aware of physical differences between the sexes and girls in particular may be approaching puberty and seeking their own privacy. If there is no space for each child to have their own room, consider instead moving siblings of the same sex together regardless of their age.
Children may be upset about moving rooms, so remember to include them in the transition. Ask for their help in:
- Designing their new rooms
- Shopping for furniture and accessories for their new rooms
- Packing up their possessions for the big move
- Hosting a ‘new home’ party for each sibling involved
Talking to Children about Differences Between the Sexes
When it does come time to separate the sexes during bathtime and into separate bedrooms, make sure that you communicate to your children that there is nothing dirty or secretive about the differences between the sexes. Speak honestly and openly to young children about their bodies, making sure that you use correct terms for anatomy rather than slang terms or euphemisms that could cloud the subject. Teach your children to value their bodies and their privacy, and ensure that you communicate to them that you are always available to answer their questions.
When to separate the sexes during bathtime and regarding bedrooms is a decision that parents will have to make for themselves. A wide variety of opinions exist on the subjects, so figuring out what is best for your family is a must. General cultural guidelines do exist, but parents and children should always discuss their thoughts before big decisions are taken.