The Circle of Moms site will be discontinued on March 1st, 2020. Head to POPSUGAR Family's Facebook page for more community discussions.

Let's Go >>

Bath times are No fun!

Stacey - posted on 01/18/2011 ( 8 moms have responded )




My now 21mnth old is freaking out every bath she has, Ive seen other conversations regarding toddler fussing in the bath. Is there anything i can do for my toddler, shes been like this since shes been able to sit in the tub. Ive tried just about everything with her, My hubby thinks she got it from him as he fussed when he was little. She hates getting water on her face. She even freaks out when i try and comb her afterwards, Shes got really fine curls and they get real knotty after a while. Please ladies any help would be greatly appreciative.


Kayla - posted on 01/18/2011




I'm no expert since my son always loved baths but first thing I would do is don't get water in her face. Teach her to look up when rinseing her hair and teach her if she does this she won't get water in her face. Second I would let her play for atleast 2 or 3 minutes with bath toys before wetting hair so she sees the fun side of bath time. My son was scaried of water in his eyes but my husband started using the bath toys to squirt or splash a tiny bit in his face and say hahachoooo.(as if the toy sneezed) And he would laugh to hard to be mad about the water.
As for the combing of her hair get a really good childrens detangler.. They work miracles. They make it very easy to comb and she will learn it doesn't always hurt. Also start at the bottom and work your way up. You'd be surprised how much easier it is to comb through the top when the end of the hair is rat free. Good Luck!


View replies by

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

Queen - posted on 01/24/2011




My son doesnt like his hair to be washed because I get water in his eyes (I can't get him to lean his head back on my arm) so I say almost and have a dry washclothe that I hold onto his face while I rinse his hair. As soon as I'm done I wipe whatever water in left on his face away and he goes back to playing. He also used to hate it when I would scrub him down but at Christmas I bought bath sponges with cars on them and now he loves it because I drive the cars all over him, making car sounds. They might have Disney Princess ones for a lil girl(not sure). I know they have spiderman ones. Just keep at it and try introducing fun tub items that are also used for bathing. She will get over it soon enough.

Stifler's - posted on 01/23/2011




My son loves the shower. I think he has more fun in the shower than the bath with his fishies that suck water in and he sits on the plug hole and waits til there's water in the bottom of the shower then splashes and deliberately sits under the water. She might like the shower better, it's easier.

Toni - posted on 01/23/2011




Do you sit in the bath with her? I do with my son. He freaks if i try to give him a bath and Im not in too

Gloria - posted on 01/19/2011




What I do with my daughter is let her help me take her a bath. She gets so happy to be able to wash her own hair and rinse it off with some help that it doesn't bother her anymore. I would try doing that give her a little bit of shampoo and let her wash her own hair with help from you .I hope that helps!!! Good Luck!!

Stacey - posted on 01/19/2011




@ Jascinta - Yes i have placed some colourful animals in the bottom of the tub, and Kayla i do let her play for a while before washing her hair. I even tried to lay her down, have her head rest on my elbow area to rinse her hair, and she still freaks out. Im at wits end on what to do about washing her hair. Ill try and see if i can find a better comb and maybe some new shampoo for her to help with the tangles..

Thanks ladies for the help.

Jascinta - posted on 01/19/2011




do you have those nonslip things in the bottom of the bath? i'm wondering if she feels a bit vulnerable? if you have a laundry tub, maybe you could try that for a while? it might make her feel more secure. good luck :)

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms