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It seems that just as many children begin to find themselves really mucky by the end of the day: food, paint, sand, mud all over them, that they develop a fear of the bath! Between the age of 1 and 2 it is common to hear of toddlers who cry, scream and refuse to get into their lovely, warm, foaming water despite lots of encouragement. There are various things that might scare children about bathing - even if they cannot necessarily articulate the problem, bear the following in mind.
- They may be fearful of the soap in their eyes when they wash with soap or wash their hair.
- They may not like the sound of the water filling the bath - it may be loud for them.
- They may not like the gurgling water going down the drain at the end of the bath.
- They may be scared of going under water or slipping.
- They may not like the coldness as they undress and when they get out all wet.
Try to reduce the fears by:-
- Not using slippy soap and ensuring you wash faces without soap on the cloth, just water.
- Filling the bath before they come in and emptying it after they have gone.
- Using baby shampoo and concentrate on the back of the head rather than the scalp so to avoid dripping.
- Wrapping them up nice and warmly in a dry towel as soon as they come out.
If they really refuse, don't force them. Try a stand up wash, then progress to a stand-up wash in the bath. Then with a little water and gradually build up the water over a couple of weeks, if that's what it takes.
Make bath time fun with a few toys to play with and calm lighting. Even try getting in yourself! That might be fun!