While the bath is the highlight of the day for many children, it’s also totally normal for other babies and young children to act like the bathtub is the monster from the back of their closets. Knowing it’s normal doesn’t make it any easier to convince a skittish baby or toddler that hygiene is more important than whatever reason they think the bath is out to get them, though. Fortunately, there are a few tricks that could help convince your little duckling to give swimming a chance.
Just add water!
The usual order of things is to draw a bath, and then introduce Baby to the mix, but some babies find the suddenness of immersion kind of scary, and can have an easier time if they’re already in the tub, and get to watch it fill up.
Hot and cold
Baby’s skin is very sensitive, and if the water is too cold for them, or the air around the water is, that could be part of the problem. If you were bathing with Baby, would you be more comfortable if the water or the room were a little warmer? Even if the answer is no, it could just be that you and Baby have different senses of comfortable temperatures.
Patience makes perfect
Sometimes, switching over to the bathtub is just too big of a step. If that’s what’s going on with Baby, and you don’t mind indulging them, sticking with the baby tub a little longer, or even doing some protracted sponge-bathing until they are ready for the open ocean of the grown-up tub is not a bad option.
Join right in
Going into the tub with your little one both helps to reassure them that the bath is a safe place to be and, if you haven’t done it before, can help to distract them from their regularly scheduled misery by switching things up in ways they isn’t expecting.
Change the game
It could be that, instead of trying to tell you how little they care about cleanliness at all, Baby is just trying to let you know that they're the kind of person who prefers showers over baths. It’s less of an intuitive way to get your less-than-one-year-old clean, but if Baby really does just feel strongly that water falling on them from above is the way to go, you can either use a hand-held sprayer to help them get clean, or you can take them into the shower with you, as long as you’ve got a good non-slip mat in place.