Cath Ranson, Editor at ChannelMum.com said: “Bathtime should be a fun and bonding experience for both child and parents – but it doesn’t always work out that way! If bathtime has become a battlezone, they key is to identify why your child is afraid and gently work on ways to help them feel more secure.”
Here are Cathy’s top tips:
1. Fear of the water can begin at a very young age. Before you begin to bath your baby, spend several weeks ‘topping and tailing’ them with soothing warm water first, so they are used to the sensation.
2. Remember a young child can’t speak up and tell you what’s scaring them. Look at things from their perspective. Get down to their height and see the world through their eyes – does the tub look huge? Is there a something in their sight line which could be frightening?
3. Always check the water temperature twice. Do it with your elbow and your finger too and make sure neither has been in the water before so you’re getting an accurate temperature check. You can even buy floating bath thermometers for added reassurance.
4. To encourage a frightened toddler to enjoy bath time, let them choose a bubble bath and pour it in. Discuss how the liquid swirls around and watch the bubbles build up together. They’ll be much more excited to get in.
5. Make bath time fun with games. “Paint’ patterns with bubbles (it’s good for learning letters and numbers too). Play with water toys like cups to pour and transfer water Gradually let them take over and they’ll begin to pour water on themselves, which is a big breakthrough in enjoying bath time.
6. Hair washes can be a real source of stress. Most kids hate the feeling of water on their face and it can even make them panic so shield their face and eyes from the hairline and wash backwards. Talk them through it and count down so they know it will be over quickly. Praise them saying how well they did but don’t say they’ve been ‘brave’ as that suggests the bath is something to battle and be afraid of.
7. If you’re bathing at night, make it into a relaxing routine. Add a couple of drops of soothing lavender oil and set up a nightime light which plays music and projects a pattern onto the ceiling. Persevere at the same time each night – it will get easier!
8. Always have a non-slip mat so they don’t tumble when they get out, and wrap them in the fluffiest towel you can find when they get out. Praise and cuddle them so it’s part of your positive routine.