10 Bath Time Problems in Children and Tips to Get Your Child to Take a Bath



I am dealing with bath time issues.

Now that my son is at that stage where he would prefer to play outside with his friends rather than staying at home, trying to get him to come home and give him a bath is now becoming a problem. Before it escalates to him falling asleep before the routine bath time before bed, I have taken prepared steps. I know that this thing usually happens because once upon a time I was a kid, and I often fought with my own mother about taking a bath. After playing all day and eating a hearty meal after, all you want to do is go to sleep. My mother, of course, never backed down. She wanted us all bathed and tooth brushed before heading to bed.
My partner's family believes that it is "wrong" to take a full bath before bedtime. They, like some of the Filipinos, believe that it may cause one to get sick and die an untimely death. This is why I've noticed that some of my partner's nieces and nephews try to reason out of taking a bath. One niece told us since she is staying home, why take a bath? She has a good point. No one else will be smelling her, just us family members.

According to one article I read (3 Reasons Kids Don't Shower, and What to Do About It), kids actually don't have the ability to smell themselves. I remember when I was a kid, I could smell my stinky feet. Other than that, I couldn't smell if my armpits stank or my clothes smelled. I wouldn't even know if my head smelled sour- like vinegar. I do remember that one of my aunts making a statement that I smelled like the sun but, when I sniffed myself, I couldn't smell anything. There must be some truth to that statement.

Are you having bath time problems? Let's tackle 10 bath time problems that parents usually encounter and how to tackle them.


1. FOMO. Your child doesn't want to miss out.

This is my current situation. My son has the fear of missing out. While all his friends can stay outside a bit late (his friends are a bit older than he is), having him come home at the desired time frame for his age is a problem.  This is the reason why he rejects taking a bath. Just the other day, he dumped water all over me because he was so angry. I had to politely ask his friends to convincingly act like they were going home so I could get my son to come home without protest. It didn't work so, I had to adjust. There haven't been any problems so far.

2. Water splashing on the face or in the eyes.

This was my problem when he was 2 years old. He didn't like water on his face most especially his eyes and would scream "I can't see! I can't see!" every time it happened. While other parents provide their children with a bath visor, goggles or a nifty snorkel, or even adjusting the height of the shower head to fit the size of their children, I resorted to teaching my son to close his eyes and bend his head, and have a small washcloth to immediately wipe his face after washing his hair. Now, he knows how to wipe the water from his eyes and face but, he still closes his eyes and bends his head when washing his hair.

3. When they have a boo-boo or a rash.

Cuts, abrasions, or wounds of any kind sting when washed and this is true for everyone even for us adults. Unfortunately, the threshold for pain is different for each person. So while you may have a son or daughter who may have a high threshold of pain and think that other kids are just overreacting or may have a neurological disorder when they bang their toe or get a paper cut (even if it's just a small cut, a paper cut stings underwater), remember that each person is different. Although I read an interesting blog post by badmommydiaries author Heather Balog about her daughter just acting up about pain to drive her up the wall, it could be the case. It may be an act.
Going back, the fear of the stinging sensation that happens when a wound is splashed with water can cause your child to fear the bath. You have to explain that keeping clean and taking a bath will cause the wound to heal quickly and to prevent infections. For rashes, if your child is young, it will be easy to spot most especially if you supervise their baths. But, for older children, it will be difficult. You just have to be vigilant when there are changes in hygiene.

4. They have a fear of going to bed/sleep.

Some children may be afraid to go to sleep because they suffer from night terrors, nightmares or may be afraid of the dark (I was afraid of the dark and I slept with a nightlight until I was 10). If taking a bath/shower is part of the bedtime routine, then your child may put off doing that just so he or she won't go to bed. Listen to your child. If he/she seems to go on about nighttime monsters, the boogeyman, or a sound they hear in their closet, then there lies your answer. It is important to help them overcome their fears. Give them the help and support they need. One useful tip, don't let them watch a scary movie or show before bedtime. I remember watching "Nightmare on Elm Street" late at night. I couldn't fall asleep after.

5. They don't like getting their wet hair pulled after the bath.

For short-haired kids, this isn't a problem but, for kids who wear their hair long, they may dread the hair tug-of-war after each bath. I've actually noticed some girls in my neighborhood who don't like to get their hair brushed. Now, I know why.
Using a wide-toothed comb or brush may help detangle hair strands. Other mothers spray on a detangler to their children's hair to help in the process. I use a metal toothed comb to prevent hair static so, hair can lay flat.


6. They hate the blow-dryer.

I use the blow dryer but, I hate it when the hot air blows on my face, on my skin and even my ears. I really don't like it when the hot air burns my scalp. Ouch. Apparently, some children feel the same. Some may even be sensitive to the loud sound and also may dislike their hair blowing in their face which may poke their eyes.
To avoid having your child sleep with her/his hair wet, you can 1.) Have them bathe an hour before bedtime or immediately after school so their hair can air dry, 2.) Brush all their hair back and blow dry on low and dry hair half way.

7. Afraid of falling in the bathtub, getting sucked into the drain, or getting eaten by the faucet.

I know the last 2 reasons seem out of this world but are actually real reasons that toddlers and young children fear when taking a bath. I remember my brother when we were young, he was afraid of getting sucked in by the drain. So my parents had to get a nifty drain stopper of Elmo to help with his fear and it actually did.
Bathtubs and bathroom floors tend to get really slippery when wet and our kids' soles are very smooth and don't provide much traction or friction, therefore, children have a tendency to slip. Providing rubber grips for the bathtub floor and an anti-slip rubber mat can prevent bathroom mishaps from happening. You can also mop up the water that splashes on the bathroom floor before your child comes out of the bath.

8. They either get cold after the bath or the water temperature isn't what they desire.

My son complains of the water temperature and says that the water is too hot. I guess after being in the heat playing with his friends, he would rather have a slightly cooler bath than what I have been accustomed to drawing. Now, I fix him a slightly cooler bath for him to enjoy. So, depending on the weather and your child's activities, try and fix a bath with the right water temperature.
There are some kids who are really sensitive to abrupt changes in temperature and may dislike feeling cold after such a nice warm bath. This usually happens to children who experience winter (no snow in the Philippines but, it does get cold during the monsoons because of heavy rainfall). You can use a huge towel to dry your child up or get her/his own bathrobe so she/he doesn't get too cold after a bath.

9. They dislike bathroom clean-up after every bath.

Kids are kids and they usually dislike cleaning...period. Keep a hamper inside the bathroom so they can just throw their dirty clothes in them instead of picking them up off the floor, tell them to use the shower curtain so there will be minimal splashing, and to hang their towels after use. After the shower or bath, there won't be any clean up to do.

10. Fear of water.

Yes, there are kids that fear water and it usually stems from a traumatic experience like choking on some water at the pool or beach or hearing of a friend/classmate/schoolmate who may have drowned. Listen to your child, help him to face his fears, and teach him that prevention and safety are key.
Bath time can be fun!
Image credit: Pixabay

More tips:
You can make bath time fun by allowing your child to bring their boats, rubber duckies, aquatic toy animals or dolls with them, adding color to their bath, or blowing bubbles in a bubble bath. You can make bath time an extension of their play time.

There are some children who prefer the shower than a traditional bath. You can adjust the head of the shower to your child's height and see if they prefer that than the bathtub.

Generally, bath time problems happen. Some parents even complain that their children do not bathe when told. You always have to follow through with children and be consistent. As they grow older, they will make it part of their daily routine. If they do fear something, help them face their fears and assure them that you are there every step of the way.



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