Babies love baths, toddlers love to splash in water and pre-schoolers enjoy getting bubbly - or so you may think...but some toddlers suddenly develop a fear or dislike of getting wet. They may scream, kick and shout or refuse to sit up propely making it dangerous for them, and irritating for you trying to get them clean after a day of having fun.
But, what's the answer? What can be done to avoid you having the grubbiest toddler in town?
The first thing to understand is that you cannot stop a child being afraid of water, not if they really are afraid and are not just making a fuss for the sheer delight of seeing you get angry. So if you think they have genuinely developped a fear of water, don't worry, just give them a good wash before bed and that will do.
You may never even find out why your child has become scared of having bath but if it happens you need to accept it. There is no point thinking it is irrational and silly. If you are tempted to make little of it or say they are being ridiculous, then perhaps you should remember some fear (rational or not!) that you may have. Scared of spiders (who are tiny and harmless!)? Afraid of snakes (that don't even live in this country!)? We need to treat any child's fear the same as we treat our own.
Most toddler fears will pass and be forgotten if they are handled tactfully. Stay calm and just try to help your toddler through!
Bathtime can be a stressful time of the day, everyone's tired, the bathroom can be a hostile environment, and the children may simply detest water - what can you do?! Bathing is an important aspect of raising healthy children, so the key is to make it an enjoyable experience and a regular part of the bedime routine.
Unless your children have particularly dry skin you can bathe them every day and use bathtime as a signal to relax and wind down for the day. Even at this stage of the day you can introduce games and craft and even if your children don't take to water naurally, with a bit of distraction they'll come to enjoy bathtime and even come to love it!
Bath toys are readily available from toy stores and supermarkets. Even if toys aren't designed specifically for educational purposes, simply having toys and water will lead to natural learning. Your children will discover the properties of water, how it flows, how objects sink or swim and lots more. Simply playing with water teaches children so many lessons.
Why not make your own soaps to encourage the children to clean themselves? This is an activity before bath; soap making kits are readily available from craft and toy stores. Make sure any kits state that the soaps are suitable for children as soaps can be caustic and irritate the skin, and make them up as instructed. Add your own essential oils for a variety of scents.
Bath crayons are oil based crayons that you can use to draw and scribble on the side of the bath and also available from toy stores. They are waterproof and scrub off easily (although best to clean them straight after the bath as they can become harder to scrub off if left for days!). Young babies will enjoy scribbling, older children will love to draw pictures and practice writing their name, numbers and letters.
If you like to make your own craft materials, you can even make your own bathtime paints. Mix a mild, baby shampoo with cornstarch and a couple of drops of food colouring. Make up several colours and you'll have a fun and safe paint to paint on your bath. Make sure you wipe the paints away as soon as you finish bath because food colouring really could stain if you leave it for too long!
Little ones love water and love making a mess, so why not enliven one of your household tasks, by inviting the children to join in! Take a small bucket of clean water along with your bucket of car wash water and get the little ones cleaning with a sponge or cloth. They can splash around the bottom of the car while you clean the rest. And, once they get a bit bored, suggest they sit in the front of the car and play "driving". They can turn the wheel, pretend to drive and generally have a fun, make-believe time while you soap the outside. You could even let them have the music on!
Then its the fun bit! If you have a hose, spray the car all over to get rid of the soap and watch the delight on the kids faces as you spray the windows where they sit! They'll love it!
Swimming is a great activity for you and your little ones. But, so many women refuse to shimmy into their bathing costumes because of a low self body image. Rather than seeing a swim as a healthy and relaxing time with baby, toddler or pre-schooler, so many mums dread that mad dash from the changing rooms into the pool so they simply don't go! This means that many chidren are growing up not having had much contact with the water - which is not good at all. Instead, see swimming as a great chance to have a splash around with your little ones; lots of cuddles and bouncing in the water together! You don't have to go every week, just set a goal perhaps once a month to start with and see how you enjoy it. Swimming need not be a fearful excercise for anyone!
If you are nervous of revealing your curves, go off peak where there are fewer people in the pool. And remember, no one sees you once you're under water anyway! You don't need to be a great swimmer either: have a splash and a fun time in the shallow end of the pool. If you think you'll get bored, take along some floating toys to play with. There may even be kiddie lessons at your local pool - so pop along and see what's going on. Your little will love the water - you may even really enjoy the visit too!
Having a bath can be a lovely calming way to end the day. Warm, bubbly water swishing around your relaxed, little water cherub. Or maybe not! If your little one is getting a little too confident in the bath - trying to stand up, splashing the water everywhere or trying to bail out the bathwater onto the floor - then try a few distracting activities to keep them focused.
Have some plastic cups and bowls for them to play with - perhaps some plastic spoons too. Get them to make some cups of tea with the water or just pour the water from one to the other. Put a few drops of food colouringinto the bath and watch the water turn a lovely color. If you have some empty plastic bottles, fill them with the water and show your little one how to blow into the bottle to make a musical note...
And, of course, get them singing in the bathroom. The echoes you get in the bathroom make it more fun. Try fun sounds or sing songs like "This Piggy Went To Market" and try to catch their toes under the bubbles. "One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Once I caught Alive" is another good bath song and "It's raining, its pouring!".
Don't dread having a bath - make it fun and you'll all love bathtime!
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