Bathtime isn’t an easy task. Some little ones absolutely hate their baths, which can make the whole ordeal more complicated than it needs to be. Trying to wash a baby who is crying or fighting is tricky. Other times, kids are afraid of the water after a little accident. These fears might arise out of the blue as well.
Bathtime doesn’t have to be a challenge though. It has to happen a couple of times per week, so it’s best to find a way to make it easier—on both the parents and the kids! Here are 5 tricks that I have found to work with my kids!
1. Keep the water shallow
When little ones are scared to get into the tub or seem uncomfortable, you can keep the water shallow. Often, parents—myself included—will fill the tub up too full. A full bathtub isn’t a bad thing in most cases. It gives the little ones plenty of space to play around. Plus, some kids like to bathe in deeper water.
Kids who are afraid of water or suddenly seem wary of it might benefit from a less full bathtub. Fill the tub just enough so that it covers your little one’s feet. They might feel safer like this, as the water won’t be so close to their face. You should experiment and see how your child reacts, depending on the depth of the water. They might do better if the water goes up to their belly button instead, but it just depends on their preferences and fears.
2. Bathe with your baby
Some families may have mixed feelings about bathing or showering with their kids. If you and your partner are comfortable with it, it’s worth a shot! Taking a bath with your baby or toddler can make them feel safer. They trust you to hold onto them, but they might not trust themselves to stay upright in the tub. This is especially the case if they have slipped in the tub before.
This is a good way to get a little one acclimated to the water. They will get used to how the water feels and the whole bathtime routine. Having mom or dad in the tub with them is comforting and takes away some of the fears that they might have about bathtime. For some kids, this is just what they need to help them get used to bathtime!
3. Use bath toys as motivation
Bathtime is a lot more fun when toys are involved! One way to introduce children to the bath is by allowing them to play with their bath toys outside of the tub. Then, show them how these toys work in the tub. Cups can be filled up with water and then dumped out. Boats can float across the tub. Rubber ducks and other animals can squirt water. Showing a child how fun a toy is in the bath can be a good way to get them interested.
Another idea is to buy a package of small bath toys. After each successful bath, the child gets to choose a new toy as a reward. This will also give them something to look forward to for their next bath. This helped one of my kids to cooperate during bathtime. When he knew that there was a new toy waiting for him, he would listen to instructions better. This helped bathtime to go more quickly with less distractions too!
4. Find fun activities to do in the tub
Though a bathtub is meant for getting clean, it’s not the only thing that can be done there. There are plenty of messy activities that you may not want your little one doing at the kitchen table that they can do in the tub. These activities can be done as rewards for a smooth bathtime experience or as motivation to get a little one into the tub to begin with.
Things like washable paint and bubbles are good ideas. These would be a huge mess anywhere else, but they’re quick to clean up in the bathroom. Keeping things fun can make a big difference!
5. Give a favorite toy a bath
Our well-loved toys can get dirty too, right? This trick has always been a big help in my house. Ask your child to pick out one or two of their toys who needs a bath. It’s best to use a waterproof toy instead of a plush one. That toy can then come for a bath every time the child needs one!
Bringing cars in the bathtub can be like a car wash. Play kitchen dishes can be getting washed in the dishwasher. Giving your child something important to do can make them feel more motivated to get into the bathtub. Those cars can’t have a car wash without somebody to clean them up!