Bath time can be a stressful event for families with young kids. Many children do not enjoy being in the water or sitting still while mama lathers them with soap. And mom or dad usually ends up drenched, stressed, and exhausted. Then, as kids get a little older, they could care less that they rolled in a mud puddle and have dirt in their ears. Baths are for sissys, mom! It can be exhausting, and I bet you’ve contemplated letting them live in their filth for days on end (I sure have!). But, believe it or not, bath time can indeed be the best part of your family’s day. Here are some tips on how to make it that way.
How to Make Bath Time the Best Time of Day
When babies and children have a schedule, they know what to expect. Schedules can help kids feel more in control of their own lives. Imagine how you would feel if someone else dictated what you did every day and changed the schedule on the fly without notice. When children know what to expect, it makes it easier on you when you say at a consistent time every day (or every other day), “It’s bath time!” There will be less fighting, less whining, and more willingness to get the task done.
Make bath time into a game.
We have done “flash baths,” which are really fast baths for our son, who loves everything superhero. We’ve also done timed baths for our daughter, who is competitive and likes to see how quickly she can bathe. My daughter has also enjoyed pretending she was a mermaid by lying down in the water to rinse her hair. Turning bath time into a game caters to the personality of your child and can make bath time fun.
Call the bath a swimming pool.
You can refer to bath time as “swimming time.” Let your child practice blowing bubbles, floating on their backs, or small swimming strokes. You can even let them get in the bath with goggles or other appropriate pool toys that fit in the bathtub.
Start bath time early!
This gives your child plenty of time to play. It also gives you less stress about bathing and getting them out of the bath quickly. Starting bath time early gives you all a bit more of a buffer for any delays, deliberate stalls on your child’s part, or extra playtime at the end of the bath.
Make it relaxing.
Warm water is relaxing, and a bath is a great way for your child to wind down from their day. If you give yourself enough time for the bath, it can also become a great time for you to talk to them, enjoy each other’s company, and play with your baby or toddler! Add to the relaxation factor by adding lavender scented bubbles, bath bombs, or baby-safe essential oils to the bath.
Make it playtime!
Baths can be an enjoyable way for children to play. Bonus: they are in one spot, so you’re not chasing after them, and they are off of screens. Purchase some fun bath toys for babies, toddlers, letters and numbers, and even crayons. My children even take in their regular figurines, barbies, and other toys with them into the bath as long as the water won’t ruin them.
In the bath, one of the biggest complaints from children is water and soap in their eyes. This can be minimized by using tear-free shampoo. You can also use special pouring cups for rinsing their hair without getting water in their eyes. In a pinch, you can use a plastic cup or even cover their eyes with a folded-up washcloth.
Children love to feel independent. Allow your child to begin to bathe themselves as early as they are ready for it. Even if you need to help, the fact that they can do parts on their own will make them feel great!
Set the right intention.
Rather than dreading bath time, set up the intention in your mind that bath time will be fun, cooperative, bonding, and stress-free. Approach bathtime with excitement and happiness. Your attitude will undoubtedly be felt by your child. It’s incredible how things can turn out with our children when we set up a positive intention for the situation.
Hopefully, by following these tips, bath time will become the most looked forward to part of your and your children’s day!