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A Word on Washing: Bath-time and Toddlers

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Bath time with toddlers can be a hassle. Getting the right water temperature, the soap, the toys, don’t even start on the hair washing. Why do toddlers hate bath time? Not all do, but for those that do there are six steps to keeping bath time short, sweet, and to the point.


1.    Don’t Get Him until it’s Time. If your little guy hates bath time, don’t tell him it is bath time until you are actually equipped to put him in the tub. If you haven’t even drawn the water yet. If you give him time to mull over the impending bath, you will give him time to get angry before even hitting the water.

2.    Get Straight to Work. Do not coddle and cuddle him into the water. Doing so takes away your authority and gives him more leave for a fight.  Simply get junior undressed and into the bath in a brisk but kind manner.

3.    Have a Neat Selection of Toys. The word “neat” is important here. Don’t overwhelm the tub with a toy store’s worth of bath time fun. Keep a couple of fun floating toys, a few stick on sponge letters, whatever your preference is. They key is that you keep the stock low and clean. Things that have small compartments where water can puddle are a bad idea. They will mold and bath time is not fun when the rubber ducky starts shooting out black flakey stuff.

4.    Keep it Simple. Bath time adventures with hour long battle ship wars will come. If he doesn’t like them at first don’t force it. Into the tub, some toys (if he is not fussy), soap, then hair washing. Keep it going and keep smiling.

5.    Hair. Possibly the hardest part of bath time. Shampooing his hair isn’t the teary part of the ordeal, it’s the rinsing afterword. Let him know it’s coming, surprising him would be the worst thing you could do, and always invest in tear free shampoo; one bad experience and he will never want his hair washed again. Have him look up to the ceiling and count to three (a slow count with you counting aloud with him) and with a cup gently rinse the water out. Consider putting the foam sponge words on the ceiling, or a smiley face, something for them to look at when tilting their head. Dunking backwards does not work very often and they will probably hate it if they don’t like baths.

6.    Finish with Flair. After the last rinse unplug the drain and hoist him out with a smile. Good words, smiles, and patience are imperative to bath time. Always finish on a good note.
Bath times need not be an ordeal. Even if junior doesn’t like bath times nnow he will learn to as you gently lead him through these six steps. So you’ll feel like you are sailing the good ship Mary Anne and not the Titanic.

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