Parenting expert Kirsty Ketley reckons a warm bath should be part of everyone’s bedtime routine, so finding ways to make it manageable is paramount.
“Bath time is seldom relaxing as it is usually the last bit of fun your child has before bed. However, they can be very happy in the tub one day and then do a complete 360 the next and stop finding the fun,” the mum-of-two told Fabulous.
“A fear of the bath is extremely common in toddlers aged 1-2 years due to their rapid brain growth, meaning that they become hyper aware of their surroundings. They also have no sense of scale, so if the plug hole is the issue, they won’t be able to understand that they cannot possibly fit down it.”
But the parent consultant and qualified Early Years Practitioner said there’s nothing that parents should worry about because there are a few ways that you can help them find the fun again.
FABULOUS BINGO: GET A £5 FREE BONUS WITH NO DEPOSIT REQUIRED
But she adds: “It is important to point out that if your child is very afraid, and I mean full on hyper-ventilating/screaming the place down, you shouldn’t force them into the bath.
“Ablutophobia is an actual fear of bathing and washing that often stems from childhood, so you want to make things as least traumatic as possible. Try and work out what it is that they are afraid of instead.”
Here, Kirsty shares her tips and what struggling parents can do to make bathtime a breeze.
If they previously slipped under the water
Baths are slippery, that’s a fact, so it can be a disaster zone for an adventurous toddler with slips almost inevitable.
This may be the reason they’re now resisting bathtime, so a non-slip mat may help.
Kirsty said: “Sitting your child in the bath without water, and giving them a sponge bath, may be useful for children who are really scared.
“As they become used to this, add a little bit of water into the bottom of the bath, gradually increasing the amount as they become braver.”
She also recommended jumping in the bath with them as they might feel safe and secure.
“Try sitting them in between your legs or on your lap, sing songs and make it as fun as possible with lots of praise.”
If they don’t like the sound of the water filling the bath or draining away
The sound of water filling the bath can be overwhelming, so try filling the bath without them in the room, Kirsty says.
“Equally, the sound of draining water or the fear of them or their toys being swept down the plug hole can be traumatising, so if this is the problem, try emptying the bath once they have left the bathroom.”
Use child-friendly shampoo and bubbles
No one likes getting shampoo of bubbles in their eyes, so you can’t blame your little ones for kicking up a fuss.
If this happens to them just ones, it may cause them to refuse hair washing or baths altogether.
“Using products that are specifically for babies and children will not only be kinder to their skin, but also their eyes,” teh mum-of-two says.
“You could also purchase a bath cap, a hair washing jug or why not get your child to wear goggles?!”
Make it fun
Kirsty says that the goal is to make your child realise that there is nothing to be afraid of – so why not make it fun?
“There is a plethora of bath toys on the market now,” she says. “But empty shower gel and shampoo bottles are great to fill and pour from.”
Toddlers like to feel in control, she warned, so giving them some choice is useful – perhaps let them to choose some new bubbles or toys.
Don’t bath every day
Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis recently revealed they don’t bath their kids every day, and Kirsty says they’re right not to – and other experts agree.
“It is not necessary, unless they are really filthy,” she says. “You might find that a wipe over with a cloth is sufficient some days which will also be helpful in minimising the bathtime grapple.”
Have other water-based fun
Getting your kids used to water in general could help them get used to baths.
Kirsty says to take your kids swimming, if they enjoy it, and give them “opportunities to play with water throughout the day.”
This could mean “washing dollies or seeing what objects will sink or float,” with th2 expert adding: “Having positive, fun experiences with water will vastly help.”
She added: ” If your child is still resistant, how about trying a shower instead? You might have to get in the shower with them and a non-slip mat is a must, but they may prefer sitting or standing and cleaning themselves with the shower head.
“This can help them feel more in control which will make them feel more confident.”
Kirsty previously revealed why she never says ‘No’ to her kids.
She also shared the five phrases you should never say to your kids.
In more parenting news, a sleep expert reveals how to tell if your baby is tired… and why it all changes when they’re three months old.