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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

How to Get Toddler To Take a Bath?

Is your toddler afraid to take a bath? All children have fears at some point in their life and it is usually considered to be a normal part of development. These fears are only abnormal if they are persistent or keep the child overly preoccupied with the subject that is feared, so that it interferes with normal activities, if the child can not be reassured or distracted away from the fear (becoming a phobia), or if it is an irrational fear. Whether or not a fear is irrational depends on a child's age and developmental level. For example, it is normal for a 2 year old to be afraid of sitting on the potty, but it would be irrational for an 8 year old to have the same fear.

Toddlers normally have simple fears of separation, noises, falling, animals and insects, using the potty, bathing and bedtime.

Fear of bathing does seem like a common problem, and one that usually passes, but that doesn't mean that you just force her to continue taking baths as that might make her more fearful. It also doesn't mean that you should give up baths altogether, since she does have to get clean, although a daily bath isn't necessary.

Trying different things, such as toys, bubbles, bath finger paints, coloring agents, playing her favorite music, etc. should help. Having a consistent routine of when she takes a bath and letting her pick a couple of toys might also give her some control and make her more likely to want to take a bath.

You might also let her play in the tub without any water in it, so that she can get used to being in there. Or use sponge baths for a few days or weeks.

Other things that may help:

  • don't let your toddler actually see the water go in or drain out of the tub.
  • take baths with your child
  • take a bath by yourself, and let her play in the bathroom while you are bathing and let her help you rinse off by pouring water over your head etc.
  • take her to the store to pick out some new bath toys
  • try giving her a bath at a different time of day. If you normally give her a bath at bedtime, try doing it earlier in the day or in the morning.
  • let her give a bath to one of her favorite dolls or let her watch you do it
  • set up a special activity, such as watching her favorite video or reading some books, after the bath, so that she has something to look forward to
  • make or buy some washcloth puppets

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