Some toddlers hate baths, at least for a stretch of time. I know this because my daughter went through several long stretches when she cried during every bath and tried to climb out. She was scared of having water poured over her head, but I couldn’t find a better way to wash her hair.
Based on our experience, here are some things to try if your toddler hates baths:
1) Stay positive. No matter how much your child fusses and resists, keep a calm demeanor and a smile on your face during bath time. Our emotions rub off on our kids.
2) Get the washing part over with quickly, then let your kid relax and play in the tub. Letting her linger in the tub without the threat of rinsing can help her get used to happy bath time. Sometimes, let her take a bath that does not involve washing at all – just splashing and playing!
3) Role play bath time with a doll or stuffed animal. This was a highly effective technique for us. We pretended that my daughter’s stuffed flamingo didn’t like baths because water got in her face, and we reminded flamingo to close her eyes and mouth as we pretended to pour water over her head. Thanks to the role playing, My daughter rapidly learned to close her eyes in the bath “like flamingo.”
4) Try a visor or washcloth to keep water out of your child’s face. Your kid might enjoy the task of holding the item over their forehead to keep the water at bay.
5) Anthropomorphize the water. It sounds silly, but treating the water as a “character” can help a kid feel more comfortable with it. Say “Hi water!” as it’s filling the tub, and “Bye-bye water!” as it’s going down the drain. Try phrases like, “The water likes to help get you clean!” and “The water likes it when you splash!”
6) Take a shower. It can be fun for a toddler to take a shower with mommy and daddy, and this will help him get used to the feeling of water falling on his head. Just make sure that your shower has a bath mat for traction.
My toddler is much more comfortable in the bath now. She has even started laying on her tummy and blowing bubbles. Bath time is finally fun!