Has chasing your undressed toddler around the house to get them to take a bath become a norm for you and your family? Your little one used to love getting in the water. What happened? The stage of your toddler wanting independence has arrived. Toddlers usually like to be in control of what they are doing. Having them take a bath when they would rather play is a perfect opportunity for a power struggle between you and your toddler.
Ready for the tub?
Consider these tips to take the power struggle out of bathtime:
- Change the routine. If you give your child a bath every night before bed, your child starts to associate bathtime and bedtime. Hence, to your toddler, avoiding bathtime means avoiding bedtime. What about having bathtime in the morning? That might work for early bird toddlers.
- Give your child a warning bathtime is coming. Comments such as, “In five minutes it’s bathtime!” help smooth the transition from what your child is currently doing to bathtime.
- Giving your child some independence. If your child struggles with bathtime because of needing more control, let your child do the washing with the washcloth instead of you doing it for them.
- Plan for after the bath. Try to do a fun but calming activity after bath so your toddler looks forward to taking a bath as something required before getting to do the fun activity. Read a favorite book or play a quiet game.
- Sponge bath anyone? A sponge bath with a washcloth can also be an option if bathtime is just not going to happen today in your house. The goal is a clean toddler!
Making bathtime fun can help encourage bathtime cooperation. Try things such as:
- Singing fun songs together during bathtime such as, “Splish Splash, I was takin’ a bath.”
- Reading books about children taking baths and the reason for bathtime with your toddler. Toddlers love books about familiar routines.
- Offering toys such as bath crayons or colored bubbles to entice your child to get into the water. Try rotating the toys to keep bathtime fun.
- Thinking of alternatives like taking a shower instead may get your child excited for the change if your child still resists the bathtub.
Try these tips and see if your bathtime changes from a struggle to a success!
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