My 2-1/2 year old son suddenly is afraid of the bathtub. He used to love playing in the tub and about a month ago he started screaming. He will only let us give him a bath in the infant tub on top of the counter and even then he screams when we rinse his hair. The best I can gather about what the problem is that he thinks he's going to go down the drain. Any suggestions on how to get him back in the tub?
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Alesha - posted on 11/09/2012
Moms I could use some help. My son is 2 1/2 and for about 7 months now he will scream up the wall when I go to wash him, he screams as if I'm hurting him. Then he will get out of the tub still scared and crying once I'm done dry off then get back in. How do I help him be ok with getting washed.?
Jessica - posted on 02/25/2009
I'm so sorry to see how frustrated this is for you and your little guy! Have you ruled out sensory issues? Sometimes kids about that age can have this type of development. Watch to see if he reacts differently to anything other than the bath.... there may be other things that he reacts to differently now that you haven't thought much about- mostly because they probably don't pose as much of a threat to daily routine, etc. For example, does he prefer a particular type of fabric for blankets/clothing? Does he tend to walk on his tippy toes? Does he get upset when you put particular articles of clothing on him? Does he get upset when he hears particular sounds? Is he a finicky eater? Does he get upset when you get his hair cut? You can have a sensory assessment done by an occupational therapist if your pediatrician feels it is necessary. If sensory issues are the cause, there are many therapeutic avenues to explore to help him cope with the issue- sensory diets are generally easy to incorporate into daily routine- and you will find that there are many services out there to help you learn how to cope as well.
Taressa - posted on 03/02/2009
My son was the same, could not wait to be in water, wanted to swi in the pool 5am in the morning, just loved the water. Came home one afternoon from shopping (was a stay at home mom at the time) and put him in the bath, my hat I thought he was going to die, he went beserk! He was a yr old. For no apparent reason he would not go near water. For the next 18months I let him stand in the bath and dad would hold him when he was there and I would rinse him with the shower ext, and if dad was not there I would have to wash him outside the bath. I realise it is very frustrating and worrying as you do not know what has happened to cause this. Believe me it takes a lot of patience, love and reassurence. Please just do not force him to be in the bath, it does pass over. My little son is now a beautiful 15yr old teenager and loves water again. I will have you in my prays. Big hug to your baby.
Kacey - posted on 02/20/2009
If it is because he is afraid of going down the drain. Use a rubber ducky or a toy that floats and fill the tub with a little water drain it and let him see that the ducky doent go down. Then tell him he is much bigger than the ducky so he is safe. Good Luck!!
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Elisa - posted on 02/24/2009
Okay, I've tried everything. New bath toys, taking a bath with baby sister and having him help, asking him to take a shower with me or a bath. Nothing works. And when I'm taking a bath with baby sister he cries especially when it's time to get out even though he's not in the tub with us. He wants me to hurry up and get out. But if I take a shower that's okay. I'm at my wits end because I don't know what else to do to get him back in the tub. Is he going to need to see a psychiatrist?
Ashley - posted on 02/20/2009
I had a similar problem with my daughter (2 1/2). We tried the shower and she loves it. But, we still have her take baths too (since she bathes in the evenings and sometimes we just don't want to get in the shower). We got some of those bath crayons for the bathtub and that has really worked. I think that she has forgotten to be scared because she enjoys coloring so much. Hope this helps.
Oh, I just remembered, for a while we took my daughter in the shower with one of us instead. She wasn't too fond of it, but it seemed a better option to her than that tub. I just held her the whole time and kind of just rinsed her. Then my husband would take over and dry her and dress her. You could try something like that.
Laura - posted on 02/20/2009
I have a similar problem with my 2 year old daughter..She used to love the bath, infact I couldnt take her out without her screaming and crying because she wanted to play in water so bad. Now I dont know what happened but she is so afraid of dirt and fuzzys in the water..I think she must think they are bugs. I have tried and tried to reassure her that they are not real but she will have nothing to do with baths anymore. I do have to just stick her in real quick and wash her up and just listen to her screaming the whole time. She acts the same way around fuz and dirt anywhere..
I don't know. It's hard sometimes to figure something out. I would just try every day. Take him out when he starts crying. My son (18 months) did that a few months ago as well and I remembered we just kept on trying. I didn't really know what else to try at that time. He eventually came around and now he's back to loving bath time. Although, I guess for him it helped that his sister takes a bath with him. He loves that. Good luck, though. It's frustrating, I know.
Elisa - posted on 02/20/2009
Well, I've tried a new toy, I've tried getting him to come in with me. Last night I even put the infant tub in the big tub so there was less mess. It worked for a couple minutes and then he started crying. I'm at a loss on what to do. I don't want to force him because then he will never go back in. I was going to enroll him in swimming lessons but I'm afraid he won't do that either. Last year we couldn't keep him out of the pool!
Have you tried a new bath toy maybe? Something he can only have in the tub. Try putting him in the tub, even if it's just for a few seconds. Make sure you don't pull the plug until he is well out of earshot. He will eventually realize that it's ok. My daugther did the same thing, and what helped was if I got in the tub with her. You or your husband can take a bath with him, if you feel comfortable with it. About the hair washing - my daughter still doesn't like getting her hair washed. Some days she screams and other days it's fine. So, we just do that very quickly. It is getting better lately (she's 4 now).
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