Let's face it, some kids hate bath time. Like, really hate it. Bath time isn't just bubbles and smelly soaps for some kids. Nope, bath time means kicking, screaming, and crying their way out of setting foot into the water.
And this means parents spending a lot of energy trying to coax kids into getting washed, which is exhausting. But bath time doesn't have to be so frustrating. There are a few things you can try to help your kids embrace bathing such as using schedules and making bath time into a fun activity of its own.
We've rounded up some tips to help bath time go more smoothly for you and your child.
9 Make Them Feel Safe
What do they not like about bath time? Are they slipping around in the tub? Do they slip on the floor when they get out? Is the water hitting them in the face? All of these things can be adjusted to help them feel more safe and secure during bath time.
Simply ask what they don't like about bath time to learn if it's something you can change. Some kids may not like stepping into too hot water or may feel like they're suffocating when getting their hair washed. These are all simple things you can fix to make them feel more comfortable and safe.
8 Save Preferred Activities And Toys For Bath Time
Does your child have a favorite toy or video they love watching on repeat? You can set aside these items specifically for bath time. This can help your child pair their favorite toys with bath time, meaning they will be more willing to hop in the tub if it means watching Baby Shark over and over or swimming with their favorite mermaid doll.
Of course, this also means not allowing them access to these toys, videos, or other highly preferred items as they may become burnt out on them during the day and may not feel motivated to earn them by taking a bath later.
7 Timing Is Everything
You've probably heard this before, but picking your battles really does make a difference. This includes bath time. If your child is busy playing with toys they love or watching one of their favorite shows, it may be best to wait until they're done before asking them to jump into the bath. After all, who wants to be asked to stop doing something they enjoy in order to do something they dislike?
Wait until it's more natural to have them take a bath or add it to their bedtime routine to make it a more structured time each day. If they are constantly being interrupted to take a bath, this can make it more aversive to them. After all, timing is everything! You can also withhold their favorite toys until after bath time if you're really in a rush to have them get clean. This makes bath time a bit more reinforcing for them knowing they a reward after.
6 Let Them Decide
Sometimes there's no need to bathe your child every night. If they didn't get sweaty or muddy, then you can opt to skip bath time for one night. This can help keep your child from becoming bored by bath time or feeling like they are following a strict bath time routine.
Skipping bath time here and there also lets your child feel a sense of independence in picking whether or not they need to bathe. Of course, only give them this option if you're really okay with them not taking a bath that day!
5 Reward Them For Following Bath Time Routines
Provide your child with some incentive for bathing. While showering itself is reinforcing to adults, kids may not get the same enjoyment out of this relaxing time. So as parents, you can make bath time more rewarding by providing actual rewards for when your child follows their schedule.
This can be simple items, such as a few minutes of iPad time, stickers for a reward chart, or going to the dollar store to pick out a toy. Knowing they can earn something exciting may just make your kid look forward to bath time!
4 Give Them More Control
If your child is old enough, let them have some control over bath time. This can mean letting them pick when they bathe, pouring their own shampoo and washing their hair, adjusting the water, and picking out what towels they want.
Allowing them to make these simple decisions can give them more control over bath time, which may reduce their reluctance to bathe.
3 Use Visual Schedules And Timers
It can help your child mentally prepare for bath time by knowing exactly when it will be. Following a schedule can help kids transition easier to tasks they don't enjoy, such as bath time.
It also lets them know how much longer they have before needing to get in the tub, and also how long they have to stay in the bath. Along with schedules and timers, you can provide incentives for following their routine, such as planning a video for after bath time. This way, they can see they get a fun activity after doing something they find not so fun.
2 Let Them Pick The Soap And Shampoo
As adults, it's fun to pick out new body wash or shampoo that smells amazing. So, let your child do the same. Maybe they have a specific character they love that is featured on a shampoo or soap bottle.
It could be a particular color or scent that makes them excited to try out their new soap. Whatever the case may be, allowing your little ones to rummage through the shampoo aisle can help them look forward to using their very own products. There are also websites that allow you to customize shampoo, which includes printing personalized names on the bottles.
1 Encourage Them To Make It Fun
As a parent, you can add toys and finger paint soaps to bath time, but this may not be enough.
Encourage your child to pick out bath time music, make it into a little party by using fun lights instead of bright bathroom fixtures, and let them be flexible with what time they hop into the bath. Allowing them to have more control by making choices about their bath time can reduce the struggle for you.