Bath time is supposed to be a relaxing way to close out the day. Endless articles have been written about how bedtime can be helped along by a happy, bedtime routine that starts with a warm, bubbly, bath. With sudsy bubbles, and toys, tub-time fun is a great way for both baby and parents to bond and play at day’s end. But what happens when your toddler suddenly decides they cannot possibly get in that tub? It can be a surprise to parents when their child, who used to enjoy baths, begins to hate it. What do you do when normal bath time giggles turn into absolute melt downs?
First, we needs to understand some of the causes of bath time battles. As your toddler ages, he starts to learn all kinds of new things about the world. As this happens, fears of common things can develop. It is necessary to try to get to the bottom of what exactly your toddler is afraid of in order to find ways to make bath time fun again. Remember, everything is a new experience for your child, and as they begin to think and explore their world, things can be scary.
- Getting soap in the eyes can sting.
- Water running from the tap can be noisy.
- The bath tub is slippery.
- Those non-slip stickers on the bottoms of tubs are scratchy.
- Water going down the drain makes a noise.
- In can be too cold or too hot.
- Getting out of the tub makes your toddler chilly.
- Towels can be scratchy.
These may seem like minor things to an adult, but to a child they can seem overwhelming and even frightening. To help alleviate some of the tub time trauma, think about ways you can make bath time an easier task. Read on for 5 Tips for Conquering Toddler Bath Time Tantrums.
Start with you. Take a few deep breaths. You need to get yourself into a positive mindset. If you’ve been battling bath time for a while now, it is entirely possible that you are sending your toddler negative vibes without even realizing it. Try to remember that this too shall pass. Don’t make it seem like bath time is a big deal, and don’t tell your child that their fears are irrelevant. Instead, put on a happy face and try to be positive as much as possible. Disliking bathing is probably only a phase and will soon be only a distant memory.
Make it comfortable. Try to turn on a space heater in the bathroom before its tub time. Keeping the area warm and cozy will help your toddler be more willing to spend time in there. Use wash cloths and towels designed for small babies, even for your growing toddler. These items are typically much softer and cozier than traditional terry cloth ones. When you’re drying them off try to pat them dry, rather than rub. This is gentler and less likely to cause discomfort and thus tears. Give your child their own wash cloth too, to hold over their eyes to eliminate the risk of getting soap and water in them, and make sure to always use tear free shampoo and soap.
Try a change of pace. Maybe bath time is always done in the evening before bed, and your toddler associates tub time with bed time. They begin to think about how little time is left for playing and thus become irritable. Instead try to switch it up. Maybe you could consider letting your child bathe in the morning, to signify the start of play time. Another idea is to occasionally change up the process all together. Is your child small enough to still bathe in the sink or old enough to try a shower? Could you pop multiple children into a kiddie pool one afternoon with warm water and sudsy sponges?
Pump up the fun factor. Don’t be afraid to pull out all the stops to make tub time a fun experience for all. Bubble bath, fizzy bath bombs and even soap crayons can make bath time seem more like play time. Bath toys don’t have to come from a store either, plastic cups, measuring spoons and kitchen funnels can be great products to use for play. Try to allow time to end bath time with a few minutes of play after they’ve washed up. In that case your child will be able to remember that bath time ended on a fun note, and it’s likely they’ll remember how fun it was when it’s time for a bath the next day.
Eliminate the fear factor. Make sure you give your child a warning that bath time is coming closer. If you have an egg timer, this is a great tool to practice time management for your child and help to prepare them to stop their play for their bath. Keep giving them timed warnings throughout bath time too. For example: “We are rinsing your hair in ten seconds, nine, eight, seven…” This eliminates the element of surprise and allows them to find their washcloth to protect their eyes. You can also try not filling or emptying the tub until your child has left the room if you’ve discovered that the noise of running or draining water triggers unhappiness in your child.
Try one of these tips, or try them all. You might have to experiment a little to see which techniques help your individual kiddo conquer the bath time blues. We can all agree that troubles over the tub can be aggravating for everyone, luckily there’s hope if you give some of these tips a try.