Feb 27, 2009
Does Your Toddler Hate Bath Time?
Why is my toddler afraid of the tub?
Sometimes, for no apparent reason, your toddler may decide she hates having baths. Even if you don't know why she is afraid, it's best to keep her out of the tub for now. Forcing her to stay in the tub will only make the problem worse.
First of all, make sure your toddler doesn't have any cuts or rashes that could be irritated by the water. If there isn't anything obvious, there might have been an experience from last bathtime that was scary for her.
Did she slip in the tub? Did she get soap in their eyes? Did she swallow some water? Maybe there is no 'real' reason for her fears. Sometimes toddlers (and even adults) develop fears for no apparent reason.
How do I get my toddler to bath again?
There are a few things you can do to gradually ease your toddler back into the tub. This is a common phase, and one that usually does not last long.
Some parents start by giving their toddler a sponge bath each time. This can be done on a towel, in the sink, or beside the sink. Then after she is used to that, try sitting her in the sink with some water in it. If this is comfortable for her, you can gradually reintroduce her to the tub.
Try to make bath time really fun to distract her. Bring lots of colorful toys to the tub or sink, or try blowing bubbles. You might need two people at first, one to play and one to wash. By the time your toddler is done being washed, she may not have even noticed that she was in the water.
My daughter suddently became afraid of the tub a few weeks ago. The last bath I gave her, she was her usually cheery self. She played with her toys and splashed in the water.
The next time I put her in the tub, she cried hysterically and wouldn't calm down. She refused to even stand in the tub. I was forced to take her out without washing her.
Instead of putting her in the tub alone the next time, I sat in the tub with her. She was hesitant at first, but she didn't cry. She sat in my lap for awhile and played, then she worked up the courage to sit on her own while she splashed in the water. Now, bath time is just like it used to be. (Check out what I've discovered that makes bath time even more fun!)
Accept the fear
Don't ignore your toddler's fears. If they are genuinely afraid of bath time, don't increase their fears by forcing them to bath anyway. You will only instill the fear, and you will jeopardize the trust they have in you.