Helping your toddler enjoy bath time

By: Helen Racanelli

Author: Canadian Living


Helping your toddler enjoy bath time

By: Helen Racanelli
Not every toddler takes to bath time like the proverbial duck to water. In fact, sometimes a bath-happy baby will, seemingly overnight, become a tot that balks at the sound of bath water running. Sound familiar? Here are some easy, practical tips for helping your toddler love bath time:

Make it fun.  Even adults like pretty packaging for their bath products, so fun products geared toward tots can make shampooing and soaping during bath time that little bit easier.

Ensure the water is warm, not hot, and conversely, that the bathtub itself isn’t cold enough to give them a bad shock if they brush against it going into the tub, particularly in the winter.

• Go for no-tear shampoos that won’t sting their sensitive eyes. There are a few accessories you can purchase to keep water out of their eyes when rinsing, like a bathing visor. You can also try a low-tech approach of holding a towel just over their brow line, or, if they’re old enough, they can cover their own eyes with a thick towel until you’re done.

• Some toddlers fear the sound of water gurgling down an emptying drain. Take them out of the bath first, or make it fun by singing them a song or making a game out of pulling the plug.

•  Have bath-only toys. Toys that your little one doesn’t have access to during the rest of the day can provide novelty when it’s wash-up time. You don’t necessarily have to spend a small fortune on gadgety toys, either. Sometimes simple toys are best; a little watering can or plastic measuring cups from the kitchen can make them as happy as any boatload of store-bought toys.

Think outside the rubber duckie. Freeze a bath toy in water, and watch the ice melt. Or, buy an inexpensive toy fishing net and let your toddler catch his floating toys with it.

Switch toys up, rotating them each week so they’ll feel “new.”

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Make a “bath soup” together, using a mixing cup or a bowl, add a little water and soap or shampoo, and stir until bubbles appear. Let them dump out the bowl.

• For the anxious or crying tot, reading her a waterproof book meant for use in the bath might be just the thing to help her settle down.

• The bathroom is a good place for blowing and catching bubbles using a bubble wand and solution. Make this an activity you save for the bathtub.

• For the reluctant tiny bather, special bathtub crayons are the way to go, say many parents. And not to worry, they wash off the side of the tub with a cloth.

•  Let them splash around. Sure, you might get a little wet, so change out of your “outside” clothes, put on something comfy, tie up your hair, and let them splish-splash and let loose. Keep extra towels on hand to sop up water that gets on the floor.

• And remember, an enjoyable bath time for your toddler is a safe bath time.
Never leave your toddler alone in the bathtub unattended, not even for a moment.

Read more:
Understanding toddler speak
10 ways to encourage your child's imagination
How to treat a terrible tantrum

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Helping your toddler enjoy bath time