Want To Win The Bath Battle Once And For All?
05 Mar 2021
When we’re adults, we can think of nothing more relaxing than a soak in a nice bubbly bath. Imagine the candles, the ambience, and the chance to finally shut the door on the world. Heck, the benefits are so tempting that you’d struggle to find the same level of muscle relaxation anywhere else but at the spa.
Yet, when it comes to getting your kids in the bathtub, you wouldn’t think any of these benefits were possible. Far from sinking into the hot, comforting water, kids are more liable to splash, scream, and make any excuses possible to avoid baths for as long as they can.
It’s a nightmare, and in some homes, it becomes a battle of wills. Whether you have a newborn or a five-year-old, you may have to brace yourself for a battle every single time you start running the water. It’s exhausting, and you’re honestly at your wit’s end with regards to what you can do about it.
The good news is that you aren’t alone. Countless parents fight the bath battle daily, and many end up losing more often than not. The trouble is that, as well as ensuring that your youngsters are germ-free, bath times hold all manner of beneficial lessons that you won’t want your kids to miss out on.
For babies, especially, baths can prove invaluable. Delicate new skin can certainly benefit from the moisture and bath products on offer, especially if you have a newborn with dry scalp, while age-appropriate bath toys are the single best way to encourage fine motor skills. Even for older kids, baths are invaluable for encouraging relaxation and avoiding embarrassing smells that could cause socialization setbacks.
The question is, how can you finally win the bath battle and let these benefits reign supreme?
Always narrate what you’re doing
This point most definitely doesn’t apply to older kids, who are liable to hate bath time way more if you’re there narrating their actions. For babies, however, narration is often key to more pleasurable bath experiences.
Think about it; babies typically cry in the bath because they have no idea what’s going on. Suddenly, you’ve stripped them off and slapped them in some weird wet stuff. It’s a frightening business, especially for newborns who can’t see much further than 8-15 inches away.
Luckily, your voice is the most reassuring sound of all, and it’s a tool that you should put to good use here. You don’t need to go crazy or create bath stories (though you can if you want!) Mainly, you just need to speak so that your baby knows you’re there and can tell from your tone that all is well.
Simple statements like ‘I’m putting you in the bath now,’ or ‘Now I’m going to wash your toes,’ are likely to work wonders even if your baby screams to start with. What’s more, narrating each body part as you wash it can build fantastic foundations for learning!
Keep the bathroom warm
Bathrooms can be cold, especially in older houses, and nothing makes children less willing to bathe than the threat of having to face that cold head-on. For newborns, too, the sudden cold conditions can be overwhelming and lead to meltdowns. Sure, the water might be warm once they get there, but there’s still the to and fro to worry about!
The chances are that you hate that cold too, but you’re old enough to know that it’s worth your while. Your kids aren’t that fussed about bath times anyway, so why would they put themselves through the struggle?
To make sure they don’t have to, always focus on creating the warmest possible environment when bath times roll around. If you don’t have one yet, consider getting a radiator installed which can heat the whole bathroom and negate this issue altogether. If you have a radiator and your bathroom is still cold, make an effort to open the door and heat things up a little more in advance of each bath. Think, too, about heated towel rails that ensure your kids have something warm to come out to.
While it might not exactly have them bouncing for joy about baths, this increased heat will at least make the process a little more bearable.
Don’t forget to add toys
We touched on them above, but they’re worth a mention here too because, honestly, bath toys are the single best way to make baths more appealing for kids of all ages. Adults might be happy to sit back and close their eyes, but children need stimulation and fun if they’re going to do something happily the next time around.
Luckily, there’s a wide range of bath toys out there, and choosing the right ones for your children’s needs could prove so effective that they practically ask you for a bath. Madness, we know, but it’s true, especially if you invest in best-selling classics such as:
• Foam letters and numbers
• Stack and pour cups
• Bath fountains
• Bath crayons
• Rubber ducks
• Bath books
… And more
This may seem like a lot to keep in one room, but there are also some fantastic bath toy storage solutions out there to ensure that you can keep the fun rolling, and still have some semblance of a bathroom at the end of the day.
Think about the time of day
Often, parents slot baths into the time of the day that’s convenient, without thinking about what that means for the experience overall. But, if you’re trying to cram bathtimes into a space where your kids are either too tired or too energized, it’s no wonder the experience is so stressful.
Instead, you want to think about embarking on baths at the ideal time for much smoother experiences. Admittedly, this ‘ideal’ changes quite drastically depending on the age of your child so you’re going to want to tailor it to your situation.
Most commonly, however, newborn babies benefit from morning baths around half-way between their wakeup time and their first nap. By comparison, children from around six months onwards can benefit from baths as part of their bedtime routine, preferably around half five-six to avoid overtiredness.
If these normal go-to’s don’t work for you, try mixing it up. Think about whether your child would be better off bathing before school, or even when they get home in the afternoon. Ultimately, you need to let them guide you here so that you can always encourage bathtimes at the right times.
Take your time
In keeping with that last point, it’s also fundamental that you take your time whenever your child has a bath. After all, while we often set aside an hour or more for a decent soak, most of us expect our kids to be in and out within ten minutes. This is no way to a relaxing bath experience, and it’s guaranteed to prevent this from being a pleasurable activity, especially if your bathroom is cold (see the first suggestion.) Your kids won’t even have time to warm up before you whip them out again! Not to mention that all those toys would go to waste this way.
Instead, you need to shift your focus towards longer bathtimes that leave room for relaxation and fun. Admittedly, your kids aren’t going to embrace this idea right now so it might be best to keep it quiet to start with. Instead, simply distract with toys, stories, and fun that sees them in the tub for twenty minutes or more each time.
Even if your youngsters don’t notice it, this more luxurious approach is guaranteed to have an impact. Suddenly, they’ll have the time they need to find things to enjoy from their baths at last. Your more relaxed attitude is also sure to rub off and show young kids, especially, that this needn’t be a stressful experience.
Consider transitioning to showers
While it might not seem like winning the bath battle as such, we sometimes need to improvise, and turning to showers can be an ideal way to do that. Obviously, this option is off the cards for babies and young children, but kids from around six or seven can have a lot of fun with showers. More fun, in fact, than they might do with baths.
The fact is that some kids just hate the bathtub, whether because they don’t like the feel of all that water or because they’re just not that way inclined. In this instance, it’s important to remember that the main thing here is getting your kids to wash. If it takes a shower to do that, then so be it.
A final word
If your kids dread bath time then it won’t be long before you do, too. But, from birth and beyond, there are plenty of things that you can do to make the experience better for everyone involved. Rather than preparing for battle, ask yourself whether these solutions could help you. The chances are that one or all of them could see you turning bath times around at long last.