Making Bathtime Fun Again, Dr. Tanya Altman


bathtimeMany parents agree that bath time is the hardest part of the day. Even the sweetest of kids can turn into a raging screamer after seeing a tub filled with water, and most parents don’t understand why their children feel that way. Kids, however, can despise cleaning up after a long day because of everything from the temperature of the water to the slipperiness of the tub and even the lack of fun they have in the water. Those dealing with troublesome children should identify why the child dislikes bath time and what they can do to fix it.

Shower vs. Bath

When children are younger, parents often wash their kids in the kitchen sink, or place a small tub inside the existing bathtub. This is much different than sitting up in a wide open tub. And since children learn through imitation, some kids refuse to take baths because they see their parents taking showers. Showing a child how to use the shower safely can remove some of the hassles associated with bath time.

Worrying About Safety

altmannMany kids dislike bath time because they don’t feel safe in the tub. It’s not uncommon for parents to assume that because kids are smaller, they can sit up in the bath comfortably. Dr. Tanya Altman recommends placing a nonskid mat in the bottom of the tub. Made from silicone or another flexible material, these mats stick to the bottom of the bathtub and keep the child from sliding around in the water. While the tub might feel stable, it can quickly become slippery with the addition of soap and shampoo. Some kids don’t like the feeling that comes from sliding around the tub, but a simple nonskid mat can make those children feel more comfortable.

Temperature is Key

One reason why some children feel uncomfortable at bath time is because the temperature of the water is too hot or too cold. Many parents simply test the water before placing their children in the tub, assuming that the water feels the same way to their kids. Fiona Baker suggests purchasing a thermometer and testing the water before placing the child inside. A temperature of around 96 degrees Fahrenheit is best for babies and toddlers, while older children might prefer something a little warmer. Parents should also talk to their kids about how comfortable the water temperature feels.

Cutting Back on Daily Baths

Adults often assume that kids need baths every day, but in many countries, people only bathe a few times every week. When kids spend days running around outside, playing in the mud with friends and exposing themselves to germs and bacteria, it’s important to clean them up, but if they’re not really dirty, consider other ways of getting the job done. Using antibacterial soap, washing their hands and faces and changing their clothes is sometimes a better alternative to taking a bath.

Explain the Importance of Cleanliness

Many children don’t understand the importance of cleanliness, which is why they dislike baths. Anna Livingstone suggests sitting down with kids, talking to them about why people bathe and explaining why they should practice proper hygiene. The traits and skills that children learn at a younger age are the same traits and skills that they carry with them through life. Kids need to know that bathing or showering regularly, brushing their teeth and washing their hands keeps their bodies clean and can help them stay healthy. Any child who hates visiting the doctor will embrace techniques that keep the doctor away.

Make Bath Time More Fun

Making bath time fun is one of the best tips that parents can use on a daily basis. Taking a playful child from his or her favorite game to the bathroom will likely lead to frustration or tears, but that child might feel a little better after seeing what bath time actually entails. Parents can now find powders that turn ordinary water into a bright shade, like orange or blue, and can find toys specifically designed for the bath. Kids will quickly learn that they can only play with those toys in the bath, which might make them a little more eager to jump into the water.

Making bath time more fun, talking to kids about the importance of hygiene and helping them feel more comfortable can make bath time a less frustrating experience for parents and kids alike.


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