Last week, Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis admitted that they only bathe their kids when they can "see the dirt," which, honestly, we get it. Babies usually love bath time. But toddlers and kids, though? Not so much. Sometimes that's a fight that leaves us parents just waving that white flag of surrender. Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard agree.
In an appearance on The View this week, they discussed the topic of bathing their daughters Lincoln, 8, and Delta, 6 and how their routine has changed through the years.
"We bathed our children every single night — prior to bed is like the routine," Shepard said. "And then somehow, they just started going to sleep on their own without the routine, and by George, we had to start saying, 'Hey, when's the last time you bathed them?'"
Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard Talk Body Image, Parenting and Couple's Therapy | The View www.youtube.com
Ha! Bell agreed, admitting that sometimes they forget. To be fair, it's also especially easy to let things like that slip a little more often during the summer when most families don't have the more rigid routines that the school year dictates.
Shepard said sometimes they let "five, six days" pass in between baths, but he says he doesn't think they smell. To which Bell politely (and hilariously) disagreed.
"Well, they do sometimes," she shared. "Once you catch a whiff, that's biology's way of letting you know you need to clean it up."
She says that waiting for the stink, or, in other words, Mother Nature's Way Of Letting You Know Your Kids Need Soap And Water STAT, is her way of knowing that her kids should probably scrub up.
"There's a red flag, because honestly, it's just bacteria," she said. "And once you get the bacteria, you gotta be like, 'Get in the tub or the shower.' So I don't hate what they're doing. I wait for the stink."
For what it's worth, the American Academy of Pediatrics says you definitely don't need to bathe your babies every day—because it's very easy for their delicate skin to dry out. And the American Academy of Dermatology Association suggests kids ages 6-11 should bathe at least once a week.
Interestingly, Kunis and Kutcher discussed the topic of dirty, stinky kids (I kid, I kid) on Shepard's podcast, where the topic kind of blew up and became a national parental dialogue. Kunis said she didn't bathe her kids, Demetri and Wyatt, "ever." And Kutcher backed her up, saying that they only bathe their kids "if you can see the dirt on them."
Personally, I don't usually let more than two nights pass in between baths these days because my kids sweat all day, play in the dirt, and get chlorine build-up in their hair and layers of sunscreen slathered on their skin. But there are absolutely some nights where it's a "warm washcloth to the dirty parts" kind of night because we're all tired and cranky.
On the flip side, many people on social media have pointed out it's important to note how white privilege plays a role here, and that Black parents and other parents of color likely wouldn't receive the same funny, "oh it's no big deal" reaction as white parents do. Activist, author, and MSNBC contributor Brittany Packnett shared the below tweet:
All this white (Hollywood) “I don’t really bathe” stuff don’t sit too well with me knowing it was white folks who u… https://t.co/6AqHpRm4Ss— . (@MsPackyetti) 1628087618.0
As a white parent myself, I agree that it's absolutely necessary to acknowledge privilege in every way it presents itself—especially in parenting.
The bottom line for kid-bathing, though: whatever works for you and your kids without sacrificing their basic needs—do that.