As a new parent, you imagine that bathtime will be one of the more fun aspects of raising a child. It should be relaxing, soothing and enjoyable for all parties involved. However, the reality is often very different. For instance, giving your child a bath can be uncomfortable, especially if you’re having to kneel on a tiled floor. Other times, detangling their hair can be painful and a screaming match for you both!
In this post, we take a look at some hard-earned advice from mums who’ve already been there and done that. Take a look at these suggestions for making bathtime with your child easier.
Get In The Tub With Them
As the old adage goes – “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.” So instead of trying to avoid getting wet every bathtime, just include it in your routine. Get into the bath with your child and kill two birds with one stone. Getting into the bath with them also allows you to supervise them better. And it avoids any uncomfortable kneeling or reaching into the tub which can occur if you stay outside. Plus, for me, my daughter loves it when I get in with her!
A lot of children are naturally averse to water. They don’t like the sensation of it on their skin and so avoid it whenever they can.
This preference can make bathtimes difficult. But many parents have found that they can get around it by playing kid-friendly, relaxing and soothing music. It turns out that certain sounds and melodies help to put younger children at ease and make them less aversive of water. They are also more willing to allow you to wash them properly while the music is playing. So next time you’re struggling, try using this strategy and see whether it works for you. Personaly for us, we love listening to her favourite movie soundtrack at that time!
Put Your Child Inside A Laundry Basket In The Tub
For some children, being in a large bath can be a little scary. There’s just so much water around them.
So, some clever parents are now putting their children inside plastic laundry baskets to help them feel a little more contained. This way, they can sit up and use the sides of the basket for support, instead of relying on the slippery walls of the bath.
Laundry baskets also come in handy when you are bathing more than one child at once. Putting a young toddler in a basket prevents them from getting knocked about by older children.
Lie Your Child Down On A Rubber Mat
Sometimes, children can feel a little unsteady in a large volume of water, causing them to feel distressed. If you notice that your child is struggling, get them to lie down on a mat and then fill the bath with just an inch or two or water, being sure that the water doesn’t go near their mouth or nose. Getting your baby to lie down in the bath gives them room to kick their legs and stretch out. But you’ll have to monitor them constantly in this position, for obvious reasons.
Use Detangling Shampoo
Kids will often try to avoid bathtimes if they associate them with pain. So it is critical that you use methods to reduce discomfort as much as you can. In a post entitled How Detangle Kids’ Hair Painlessly, the authors talk about the power of detangling shampoo. It contains special agents that help to remove knots from hair, allowing it to flow freely and making it easier to brush afterwards. Detangling shampoo is essentially the same as the regular variety, except specially formulated for children. It smells great to kids as well, encouraging them to use it more often.
Put Down A Soft Kneel Mat Beside The Tub
Kneeling down beside the bathtub and pouring water over your child can become uncomfortable, especially if you have a tile floor. Your knees quickly get sore and you find yourself having to repeatedly stand up to reduce the pain.
The trick here is to buy a kneel mat, similar to one that builders or gardeners might use. These are essentially cheap foam pads that provide a little extra cushioning between you and the floor beneath. Nowadays, you can get thick versions of these that you can easily store out of the way in your bathroom vanity when you aren’t using them.
Get Some Hooded Bathrobes
Children are usually happy while they are in the bath. But the moment they step outside, they suddenly feel the cool chill of the air on their skin, making them uncomfortable. In the West, we like to dry ourselves with towels. It’s what we’ve always done. But using a hooded bathrobe is a much better idea. It helps to keep heat in the body while also drying the child at the same time. Once they step out of the bath, it provides immediate shelter from the chilling effects of the air, keeping them warm. It’s just a small change, but it prevents them from associating bath time with discomfort.
Get Your Gear Sorted
It’s actually quite amazing just how much stuff you need for baby bathtime. But the more prepared you are, the more fun it can be for both you and your child. Getting a tap cover is essential as a matter of safety. Sometimes, hot taps can become extremely hot to the touch and could damage your baby’s skin. Faucet covers also prevent your child from accidentally pouring hot water into the bath while you’re not watching.
Aside from basic safety equipment, there are a host of other accessories you might want to make available at bathtime.
- Foam letters for spelling out words
- Baby bubble bath to make the experience more exciting
- Bathtub crayons for drawing
- A visor to prevent water from getting into your child’s eyes as they splash about
- Glow sticks for adding a bit of color and fun to the experience
Take A Shower Instead
Perhaps your child is against taking a bath altogether. That’s okay. Why not introduce them to the shower instead? Maddy loves showering with us and it makes it all 10x quicker. It also kills 2 birds with one stone as we get in together!
Tell Your Child About Bath Time In Advance
Sometimes, parents can get into trouble when they don’t warn their children about bath time in advance. Kids enjoy living in the present, doing whatever feels good to them at any given time. So something structured, like bath time, can feel like an imposition for them. The trick here is to provide your child with regular warnings in advance. Tell them that bathtime is on the way repeatedly throughout the day and get them used to the idea. You might also want to try including bath time as part of your regular bedtime routine. This way, they associated it with winding down and preparing for the next day. Plus, it’s an extra thing that they get to do instead of having to go to sleep immediately.
Put Down A Non-Slip Bath Mat
Just like adults, kids are prone to slipping and falling in the bath. So it’s always a good idea to put down a bath mat. You don’t want painful falls or injuries as your kids make their way around the tub.
Get Your Child To Wash Themselves
As a parent, it’s tempting to do everything for your child while they are in the tub. But giving them a little autonomy can make the whole process so much easier.
Most kids will be reluctant for you to pour water over their heads. But they are often much more willing to do it themselves.
To get them started, show them the technique that they need to adopt. Then hand them a cup and tell them to try it themselves. Don’t make it seem as though you’re going to get mad or angry if they don’t. Just present it as a fun thing to do.
If you get in the bath with them, you can show them first on your own head. This can help because children are naturally inclined to copy what you do.
Make It All About Fun
As a parent, you know that kids love having fun more than anything else. And that’s one of the reasons why they might not want to get into the bath. It can often feel like a chore.
You can, however, change their perception by making bathtime all about fun. Instead of just approaching it from a practical perspective, including things like toys and games to make it more exciting. There are even bathtime books you can read if your children are a little older.
Let Your Child Stand Up
Some children have a genuine fear of water built into them. If your child is like this, then just allow them to stand up in the bath while you sponge them down. They don’t have to sit until they are ready.
So, with a bit of luck, these tips will help make bathtimes in your household go more smoothly. Which will you use?