Bath Time Tips 🛀
Are you having a hard time getting your kid in or out of the bath?
Remember that this developmental stage in a toddler’s life is all about autonomy & control. Allowing them opportunities to make decisions helps reinforce the idea that they are in control, but it is important to set boundaries by only providing 2 CHOICES that you as the parent feel comfortable providing. Also, when transitioning to a new activity like the bath, I find it’s so important to involve your children.
For example, try letting them help turn on the faucet and letting them pick out what toys they will use in the bath that day, and limiting it. Ask them, "Would you like to play with 5 toys or 7 toys?" Kids, while they like to be in control, need boundaries as well. So providing a limit on the toys is one way of having a boundary. But allowing them the choice of how many toys to have (5 or 7) allows them to have the control, thereby achieving both goals of allowing for them to feel like they are in control within set boundaries.
It can also be helpful for you to practice the concept of taking turns while in the bath. In terms of bathing/using the washcloth, I say, "you get a turn and then I get a turn." You can allow them their sense of autonomy by letting them pump the soap. (side note: If you put a hair rubber band around the pump of the soap, it prevents them from using all the soap at once!)
In order to facilitate your little one's autonomy here are some sample questions you can try at bathtime:
To get them into the bath:
Do you want me to turn the water on or do you want to do it?
Do you want to get the washcloth out or do you want me to get the washcloth out?
Do you want to put the bubbles in or do you want me to do it? (To help get them in the bath you can create a boundary by saying, "once you’re standing in the bath, then you can pour the bubbles in.")
To help get them out of the bath:
Do you want to drain the bath or do you want me to drain the bath?
Do you want to put the towel on yourself or do you want me to do it?
Do you want to put the toys away or do you want me to put the toys away?
When they resist getting out of the bath you can say to them, "I understand you don’t want to get out of the bath; it’s fun. But we can have fun in the bath again tomorrow. It’s time to dry off now. I don’t want you to get cold."
If they say they’re not cold, say, "Well we want to have time to read our 3 books (or whatever activity you do after bath time) so it’s time to get out of the bath."
If they don't want to listen at all, that’s when you say, “if you don't make your choice, I will make it for you.”