Readers reply: why do we bathe children before bed, but wash ourselves in the morning?

<span>Photograph: Saskia Albers/Getty Images</span>
Photograph: Saskia Albers/Getty Images

Why do we tend to bathe children before bed, but wash ourselves in the morning? Ann Menzies, the Wirral

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Readers reply

Because bathing children is a lengthy process – it requires extended diplomatic negotiations, extravagant bribes and dark threats both to get the child into the water and then to get the child out of the water. Who would have time for that in the mornings? Ed Couzens

No one has time to bathe children in the morning, dry them and get them dressed, fed and ready – and clean the bathroom mess afterwards. GrasmereGardens

Sleep. Leaving a warm bath makes the body temperature go down a bit, which induces sleepiness. Our body temperature drops while we are sleeping. So we bathe children before bed to help them get off to sleep. reggiepurrin

Bathing is soothing and can be part of a bedtime routine for children. Most adults I know rarely take a bath and if they do, it is also at night before going to bed.

Adults sometimes bathe at night for the calming effect, too – but more often they shower in the morning to wake themselves up. (Kids don’t need help waking up – they open their eyes and are ready to go!) Leah Sanft

Many adults shower in the morning because it helps us wake up and also because we smell when we sweat (children don’t), so we try to minimise embarrassment – and we don’t want our colleagues to recoil at our stench. 48percenter

I always shower before bed, never in the morning. But as for bathing children before bed, that’s because they get filthy at nursery or school. And, with younger children who get up in the night, parents believe a bath before bedtime helps the small child relax and so sleep better. BabylonianSheDevil03

I never shower in the morning – I like to go to bed clean and fresh, so I always shower or bathe in the evening, plus there isn’t enough time when I get up. It helps everyone, including kids, unwind and get ready for sleep. My partner prefers to shower in the morning, but I think he’s got it the wrong way round. Slowee

I always shower or bathe in the evenings! Helps me unwind, and the feeling of being all clean in freshly changed sheets is one of the best. Plus, if I’m perfectly honest, if I were showering in the mornings, I’d probably hit the snooze button and skip washing more often than not ... Purpln

I find it amusing that, in North America, most people tend to shower in the morning instead of before bed. This means that people carry a day’s grime and sweat on to their beds. I won’t say anything about people sleeping with their dogs! In Asia, bathing or showering before bed is the norm. This keeps the bed clean, not to mention that it is relaxing and makes sleeping so much more pleasant. Of course, if it is a hot night and you sweat, a morning shower is usually done, so that the day is started fresh and clean. Some would bath before bedtime and shower in the morning before going to work. Is that too much? Not if you want to feel clean and refreshed. To each his/her own … John Yu

Related: Surviving perimenopause: ‘I was overwhelmed and full of rage. Why was I so badly prepared?’

As a perimenopausal woman who languishes in a sweat bath (bed) overnight, the morning shower is non-negotiable and the evening shower or bath a total waste. PrincessNutNut

I’m always surprised how much people bathe their kids – I used to have a bath once or twice a week when I was a kid. I’m only in my 30s, so this isn’t one of those stories of yore ... but perhaps my parents grew up like this and so thought it would be fine for me, too. I survived! chuffed

My dad used to say: there’s people who shower in the morning before work, and people who get real work done and shower when they come home. Dizzy123

If you’re going to sleep with someone, isn’t it courteous to shower first? DHMP

Maybe it’s because kids do dirty things during the day and should therefore be cleaned up before they go to bed, whereas adults do dirty things in bed and therefore need to get clean in the morning … brnost

Because grownups can generally eat spaghetti bolognese for dinner without launching it in their own ears/hair/pants. maviesdavies

Who knew people were so firm about this? I shower when I feel like I need or want a shower. Maybe in the morning, maybe at night, maybe in the middle of the day. Back when I lived in a place with a nice big bathtub, I often did enjoy a hot soak of an evening, especially in the cold winter months, but that was more for comfort than cleanliness. When my daughter was a child, we didn’t do daily baths, either; surely that can’t be good for a little one’s skin. I understand some children do “play harder” than others and may need a washcloth more often, but I found every few days was sufficient. Shangers

Wait, was I supposed to wash today? Dorkalicious