Bathtime Drama

Tara - posted on 07/10/2011 ( 14 moms have responded )




Hi everyone.I am a single mother of a beautiful 19 month old girl.I was wondering if anyone else is having bathtime issues when giving their kid a bath? My daughter has recentely become terrified of bathtime.She literally trys to climb out and cling to me...It is extremely hard to bath my child without her screaming and throwing a fit.Im the only one who baths her,so im just wondering if anyone can give me some insight into what may help her out during bathtime.She especially hates her hair washed! I really dont understand why shes hating bathtime these days,as she absolutely loves to go swimming at the pool.


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Moodymoose77 - posted on 08/08/2011




Hi, I do lots of baths when I babysit and have helped many kids through their fear of washing hair. These are the methods that always work. I have never had a child cry yet. These methods are for truly kids who are scared though they will work with any kid who protests shampooing. I do not use any methods when wetting or rinsing hair that involve lying back in the bath water or under a faucet, I never in the beginning, use a cup to either wet or rinse. (Later it is usually fine to use a cup but a sportsbottle works better. see below) The above methods are very frightening to a child who has a fear of hairwashing. I am very gentle scrubbing a childs hair as they tend to be tenderheaded and do not like or require a vigorous scrub to get their hair clean. If for some reason a child had paint or something sticky in their hair, I still rub gently just a little longer and the kids don't mind that when you are gentle I always reassure frightened kids before and during hairwashing. I talk calmly explaining everything I do. I talk about the bath and washing hair at dinner or earlier before bathtime to find out if they are scared. It gives me a chance to find out what scares them and to reassure them I won't get water and shampoo in their eyes and let them know my methods of accomplishing that. During the bath I am careful to listen and observe distress. One little girl was scared for a minute and started whining when I turned on the faucet for to rinse the bath puppet that I had been gently scrubbing her hair with. I reassured her I would not lay her under the faucet but needed to rinse the puppet . That is all I needed to say and she was fine. Now on to methods for helping your kids deal with their fear. First buy or make some bath puppets. Get extras so the kids have one each in the tub. Also make sure you have three unbreakable mirrors for the kids. Last of all when you shower and shampoo practice making soapy ears on your head, batman horns or whatever your kids happen to be into & oh yeah, buy some brand new tear free kids shampoo. The old bottle of shampoo probably brings back unhappy memories to the kids. Some kids scream when they see the bottle. Make sure you have a little extra time the fist couple of times you try the new methods of washing hair. You may want to call washing/ or shampooing hair something else eg, making bubbles, making ears, cleaning hair, anything that sounds different if the word wash,etc inspires fear. Now on to the next step. When you and the kids are eating dinner or out on a errand or just hanging out it is a good time to talk about your new fun way of doing hair. Explain to your kids that you understand whay they hate having their hair washed (or whatever you usually call it) and that someone has told you a way to have fun and keep the soap and water out of their eyes/face. They will want to know what it is. Show the the puppets first but wait until the bath to let them play with them. Next tell your kids that looking up and making coyote, dog, or wolf calls will keep the soap and water off their faces and out of their eyes. Demonstrate how to make a wolf call and watch the smiles on your kids faces. Show them how the water will go down their backs. Next tell them you will making them animal soap ears and they can look in the mirror. This gets the kids thinking of fun they will have. When you try the new shampooing methods at bathtime make sure you have a little extra time and are not in a rush. It does take a little more time initially, but not as much time as shampooing a struggling, screaming child. After your child trust you, it will not take any more time than for a typical bath and shampoo. The kids I sit for no longer pay attention to hairwashing but keep on playing in the tub with toys I bring for them. They make coyote calls and look up for me to rinse their hair but go right back to playing. We still make the occasional ears though. Washing hair will become fun and you will not have a stressful night with three screaming upset kids. For the kids who are okay after the shampoo- still a few minutes of screaming can wear on you especially with more than one child that screams. Once you have gained trust you can eventually use a sports bottle to rinse instead of the puppets which will make shampooing faster. Sports bottles are much better than cups because the water goes just where you want it and the kids like to play with it afterwards. Always keep your promise to keep water and soap out of their faces. In the case of occasional drips I quickly dry their face with a towel and say "look at that silly water trying to drip on you" using a silly voice. The kids may want to try rinsing different ways which you should encourage. Getting faces wet eventually won't matter. The kids who used to be so scared now love to dive and splash and don't care if water get's on their faces, they just don't like soap in thier eyes and let's face it, adults don't like that either! Kids who were very scared of washing hair afterwards beg for me to give them baths and make soap ears which I am more than happy to. the parents are thrilled too! Let me know if you need any additional ideas. I have shared this time and time again and it always works. Please share your experince and these methods with other parents to help them with their kids who are scared of hair washing. Wishing you and your kids lots of laughs

Jane - posted on 07/23/2011




Try getting in the tub with her, and keep the water level fairly low. That's what I did with both of mine. They eventually decided that baths were fun and so bathing became a reward.

Peggy - posted on 07/22/2011




My daughter went through that until recently (she is now 5) loved the pool, loved the bath but no water near her head at all. We finally got her to do baths by telling her its a smaller swimming pool and she could swim in it. Also, she does showers now because we tell her its like the rain. My son who is 19 months doesnt like water poured over his head but he likes the bath. I would say just encourage her and compare it to something very similar that she likes. Also, try leaving the drain open and letting her play in the water that comes her way. should reduce the fear. with fears like that you need to do things on her terms. never pressure or push her because it can cause a life long fear and really hurt her mentally and even socially later on. for instance my daughter is 5 almost 6 and still cant swim she clings to me so tight when she's in the pool without her donut float. They pediatrician said to just let her do it on her terms. kids do things when they are ready. forcing can mess them up and so far it's worked well on both of mine. Good luck

Melissa - posted on 07/22/2011




my son just whent through that phase. turns out my son had almost drowned in the bathtub my other son accidentlly sat on his head and his face was under water. ever since then he was affraid of the bathtub. so i got my husband to bath him for a bit he sat in the tub with my son and washed him and showed him that it was ok. after about a month and a half he finnally got over his fear and loves the bathtub again. i hope it kinda helps.

Amanda - posted on 07/20/2011




Does the sitter bath her were something might happen to her? Other than that I would say put very little water in there for her .

Vanessa - posted on 07/19/2011




Both my children have been through the bath time terrors. I think its a stage they reach at around 16 months, we worked through it by singing and playing and even hopping in to! Make it fun and have special games etc that are just for bath time. Trust me soon enough your daughter will be like mine and not want to get out!

Alisha - posted on 07/18/2011




try taking a bath with her, that helped with my son when he was yonger for a while then when she gets comferable again see if she will bath by her self. she needs to know that the water is ok to be in. try getting some bath toys and try and play with her, make water fun, maybe get some stuff that you can draw in the tub with, like water foam or soap that you can draw on the tub with you know?

Colleen - posted on 07/17/2011




I bathe my daughter (I try for every other night), and she doesn't give me any problem at all in the bath tub until it's time to wash/rinse her hair. She will throw the biggest fit and try to climb out of the tub too. There was a time she would freak out if I turned the bath water on, so I decided to take a bath with her. She has been pretty great since (except to wash/rinse hair).

Christine - posted on 07/17/2011




My daughter started doing this also only when I bathe her and not daddy but i took her in a shower with me then her next bathtime I took te shower head sown and let he hold it to wet her hair and then rinse it after I put the shampoo in and now she loves showers!

Andrea - posted on 07/17/2011




Honestly - with my daughter, who likes baths but hates showers - I tend to stay at calm as possible - I even just say "can we count to 10?" and I start to count taking deep breaths the whole time - then I smile a lot (through the screams sometimes) and say just fun things "splash splash!" and I splash some, etc. Anything to ignore the terror and to encourage the happiness. Favorites toys work well, and having fun yourself. I let my daughter play with the wash cloth before I use it to wash her.

Leah - posted on 07/14/2011




Temperature maybe too ? Not sure if its common knowledge, but fingers/hands are less sensitive to temperature than other body parts, its advised to check bath water with your elbow, or feet work too. Maybe feels fine to your hand, but to the kids its too hot or cold. If she likes pools, maybe she wants it cooler????

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I ask my daughter to show off all the things she's learned in the pool; kicking, splashing, blowing bubbles (which is her fav). I still lay her back to wash out shampoo. I lay her head on my hand while I use a cup to rinse her hair. I also try to do it in a 3 count. That way she knows when she can sit up.

I also have her help get ready for a bath. While the tub is filling up she grabs her wash cloth, towel, and bath toys.

Angela - posted on 07/13/2011




The only problem I have with bath time is that my son doesn't want to come out from the tub :-) Does your daughter have her favourite bath toys? Maybe a doll that she can bathe as you bathe her? Make it into the game. As for hair washing, maybe the shampoo you use stings her eyes. We use California Baby baby shampoo. Yesterday I gave my kid a bath and the shampoo was all over his eyes, he didn't even blink.

Noora - posted on 07/12/2011




Hey you are not alone :D my son does the same! It's like having a monkey trying to climb a tree using his fingers and toes (and nails!), me being the tree of course. I really do not know WHY he does that as he also likes swimming and playing in and with water a lot. However, I can tell you something from my own experience as I used to be the same. I hated and still hate having water thrown into my face. It is like a fobia as it really can make me panic. And I like swimming too - it's just something about not being in control. I remember that part of it had to do with the soap getting into my eyes and I have been wondering whether it might hurt us (me, my son and your daughter) a bit more than an average person. However, it definately has to do with the fact that getting water into my face uncontrollably makes me VERY uncomfortable. What I do with my son is to wipe most of the shampoo from his head with my hand and then just putting him quickly under the water to get the rest off. However, I think it is very important not to make a huge fuss about it (you know, "oh you poor baby" etc.) but just put her under the shower and get over it. I used to throw huge tantrums (my mom and dad both had to hold me still) and I can assure you that I don't do that anymore :D Actually I think it went away quite fast so I wouldn't worry about it too much. I am sure that she won't be doing the same when she is all grown up.

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