Does bathtime in your household involve screaming, crying, hiding in closets, or elaborate methods of faking it? From bath-shy babies to shower-dodging tweens, many kids go through a phase where they just don’t seem to want to bathe. But unless you’re content with your kid smelling like an old sock all the time, it’s up to you to teach kids the simple joys of baths and showers.
Fortunately, most babies tend to like bathing – at least they won’t actively resist your efforts to bathe them. But be sure to observe certain safety rules. Never leave the room while baby’s in the tub. Always test the temperature (it shouldn’t be over 120 degrees Fahrenheit). Do your best to make the bathroom free of drafts and chills: close that window; save baby’s hair for last, as the head loses heat quickly. A slip-free bath chair or free-standing tub is also a good idea for safety.
Around toddler stage, kids can start to become wary of the bath. Some children think baths are boring, others dislike the sting-y shampoos and scary drains. If your kid seems bored in the bath, be sure to provide toys and games – the bath can even be a good setting for story time. Be sure to select shampoos, soaps, and conditioners that are tear-free. And be sensitive to kids who are truly afraid of the bath. Always be prepared to hop in to show your child everything is alright.
Being prepared for your toddler’s bath is also a good idea. Plan a 30-45 minute block of time for your child’s bath, and have all toys and towels set up before the bather arrives. This will help you avoid rushing your child through their bath, which can upset them.
During grade school, as most children transition to showering on their own, some get the idea that showers are not worth their time. If your goal is to get your child showering or bathing once a day, there are plenty of incentives that will help. Part of getting your child on a regular bathing schedule is picking a time that works for them, and getting them to stick to it. If your kid is a late riser, for instance, don’t force them to take a shower in the morning; let them take evening showers. Another time-tested technique is illustrating the consequences of being smelly. If your kid is beginning to go on dates, assure them that no boy or girl is going to stick around for long if they smell bad. If all that doesn’t work, try some positive enticements. Persuade girls with cute bath gear, like a robe, slippers, and fancy soaps; let boys pick out whatever body washes, shampoos, and scrubbers appeal to them.
Getting kids to use the bath or shower isn’t hard, but it can take some understanding on your part. Whatever you do, listen to your child and try to tailor a bathing solution just for them. Before you know it, they’ll be using up all the hot water!