Making Bath Time a Cinch
It’s always a struggle whether you are a parent or nanny. Your toddler doesn’t like bath time. “I don’ wanna take a bath!” “Noooooooo!” And then there are the tears, running away to hide behind the sofa, and acting out on occasion. What’s the big deal? It’s a bath, not corporal punishment. What’s the problem here and how do you fix it?
First, you need to assess what the problem actually is. Ask your child why s/he always wants to avoid bath time. Common answers include the following: bath time signals the end of the day, and your child is not wanting to separate from you or their day’s activities yet; bath time may be perceived as “boring” or a very un-fun task to endure; refusing bath time may be a way for your toddler to attempt to exercise some control in his/her life; or bath time may induce fear of drowning or injury (by striking his/her head on the edge of the tub, for example).
Once you understand what is driving your child’s behavior, you can respond accordingly. If this is a separation issue, reassure your child that s/he can pick up where s/he left off tomorrow. Give him/her fun things to look forward to in the next day, and emphasize that s/he needs to bathe, get ready for bed, and sleep well in order for the upcoming activities to happen and be fun the next day. If this is a “boring” issue, then seek ways to make bath time more fun. Bath toys, music, and other games and activities can do the trick. If this is a control issue, allow your child some voice in his/her life (i.e., do you want to have a bath now or in 30 minutes?) but do not let your child make ultimate decisions (i.e., whether or not to take a bath at all). If this is a fear-driven issue, then validate the fear (“I know you hit your head on the tub last night, but we’ll be more careful tonight. I promise.”) and gently proceed with the bath.
By following these tips, you can make bath time a cinch.
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