Toddler’s Bath Rejection

Nov 13, 2012 No Comments by

‘My son has always loved his bath, and he isn’t afraid of water at all. So I can’t understand why he’s suddenly refusing to get into the bath.’

As you have probably already noticed, refusables of every kind are big in the second year. A toddler may refuse to eat, refuse to wear a coat, refuse to go outside, refuse to come back in – simply for refusal’s sake, without apparent rhyme or reason. Of course, the reason in his struggle for Independence. The following tips may help your toddler back in the bath – or, at least, help you find other ways to clean up his act.

toddler afraid of bath

toddler afraid of bath

  • Rescind you restraining order. If you’ve been using a safety seat in the bath-tub, it may be his curtailed movements, and not the bath itself, that your toddler objects to. Giving him free run (or wiggle and splash) of the bath may complicate bath time, but it may also put an end to his resistance. Make sure his newfound freedom doesn’t jeopardize his safety, however, by observing the tips.
  • Bring on the bubbles. And the nontoxic soap foam or soap crayons (though make sure you use a non-irritating soap, especially if your toddler is female, since girls are more susceptible to vaginal or urinary tract irritation. Using a liquid baby bath to make bubbles is probably the safest way to go) Throw in the fleet of plastic boats. And any other waterproof diversion you can come up with. Let the toys and fun – and not the washing – be the focus of bathing experience. Instead of announcing, ‘Time to get in the bath,’ try, ‘Look at all these bubbles! How are these boats going to get through?’ or ‘Would you like me to paint tiger stripes on you with this funny soaps?’
  • Schedule a change. If bath times comes at unexpected hour, rather than at the accustomed battle time, it’s possible that your toddler’s surprise may ease his opposition. Admittedly, a change in schedule may mean that your child won’t be getting clean when he’s his dirtiest (if bath has been switched to mid-morning instead of after dinner, for instance,) but in the short run that not getting clean at all. Until he becomes more amenable to bathing and bath time can return to a more sensible time slot, a quick session with a flannel on the more glaringly grimy areas can get him passably clean before he gets into his pajamas.
  • Try a little togetherness. The rub-a-dub-dub may be more appealing if there’s more than one in the tub. Mummy or daddy make perfect bath fellows; if being nude around your toddler makes you uncomfortable, don a bathing suit. (It’s important to remember that small children won’t — and can’t – tolerate the kind of water temperature adults prefer, so don’t crank up the heat for your own comfort.) An older sibling or a friend on a play date make ideal bath mates, too (prior parental permission suggested). A companion’s enthusiasm for bath time might ‘spill over’ to your toddler.
  • Hit the showers. If it’s being in the bath that distresses your toddler, let him accompany you in the shower instead. Wearing a shampoo visor will help keep the water out of his eyes and make the overhead stream less threatening. Adjusting the water-flow rate to gentle, if thats possible, will also help, as many holding your toddler until he feels confident enough to stand under the shower on his one. A rousing round of ‘It’s raining, it’s pouring’ can provide a playful note. As with bath water, shower water should be warm, rather than hot, for toddlers.
  • Throw in the towel. If all your efforts fail to persuade your toddler to get into the bath don’t resort to force – the trauma of which could instil in him along-lasting antipathy towards bathing. Give up on the bath for the time being and switch to sponge baths temporarily – using a flannel, not a sponge (which could pose a choking hazards.)

After The Baby Is Born, The Toddlers Year
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