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13 Tips for Bettering Bath-time

Tips for bettering bath-time for babies and toddlers who suddenly hate baths.

Most babies and toddlers love the bath – so what happens when your kiddo suddenly isn’t a fan? When my daughter was a newborn we struggled with bath-time and now that she’s officially one, she’s once again decided she doesn’t like the tub. 

Determining which part of the bath your little dislikes isn’t easy, and can take lots of trial and error. When struggling with bath time, I had a hard time finding a conclusive list of ideas for bettering bath-time. So after lots of searching, I’ve put together 13 ideas to try for bettering bath time! 

Double check the water temp.

A few degrees could make all the difference. When testing these ideas on my one year old I tried both colder and warmer baths. If you’re having trouble with water temp – try this cute little rubber duck bath thermometer

Check your surfaces. 

As a newborn, we were laying her directly on the baby bathtub – turns out the rubber wasn’t very comforting and warm. Once we laid a warm wet towel over the tub for her to sit on, it made a big difference. For a toddler – the bottom of the tub may be too slippery, rough, or just uncomfortable – try adding a colorful, padded bath mat for them to sit on. 

Air Temperature. 

Chances are your little one isn’t immersed in the water so although the water temp might be warm – their upper half might be chilly and making them cold. A warm towel wrapped around them helps with this problem. You may also consider warming the room with a heater before bringing the baby in. Don’t forget to keep the door shut to keep the warm air inside. 

Running Water.

Having trouble at bath time – try running the water while they are in the bath so they can stick their hands under the faucet. Before our bath-time troubles, my daughter liked playing in the sink so having a dripping faucet on in the tub helped distract her. BUT, on the opposite side of the spectrum, keeping the faucet on can also seem loud and scary too.  This is one we’ve tried both ways to help heal our bath-time fears. 

New Bath Toys

Lots of moms recommended we tried new toys to make bath-time more fun. We tried a few different ones with VERY different results. First, a cute electronic swimming duck – which for us did not have the desired effect as it scared her more. We also tried an octopus with hoopla rings – we first played with this outside the tub, then brought it to the tub with us. Tossing the rings at the octopus from outside the tub before we got in creating a little interest in actually climbing in.  

Adding Color & Bubbles

For older toddlers, a fizzy color tablet is a way to get them involved in preparing the bath and might make it look more fun. 

Bath Books. 

If your little one can’t get enough of books grab a few soft-sided bath books to bring along. Our favorite is The Pigeon Needs a Bath Book!

bath time

Play In the Tub, Without Water.

For the child that is fearful as soon as they see the tub, it might be worth trying to ease into the tub with their clothes on and without water. Personally, this one made all the difference in bettering bath-time for us. Anytime she showed interest in the tub toys or soap, we would help her climb in and sit in the tub fully clothed. Once she picked up the empty cup and put it up to her hair, I knew it was worth adding a little water back into the mix.  

Try Another Time of Day.

Are nighttime baths making bedtime more stressful? Try an after-lunch bath to see if your little one has different feelings about their bath during the day. 

Adding A Musical Element. 

Music can soothe anxiety so why not try adding a musical element to your child’s bath. Some ideas to try are soothing waves, classical music, Disney favorites, or even some sing-a-longs.   

Glow In The Dark Bath. 

Older children who are testing the limits might be interested in a totally different style of bath. Turn out the lights and add glow sticks, light-up bath toys, and/or glow-in-the-dark bath paints! I can’t wait to try this out when we’re a little older! 

Try a different location. 

If all else fails, get creative on the bath location. Maybe the kitchen sink or even the shower! For showers with babies who can’t stand independently, it’s helpful to have two adults to assist with soaping and drying as babies get very slippery! 

Get in the bath with them. 

Many times babies and toddlers are more comfortable when they see us doing something first. Don’t be afraid to climb into the bathtub with your kiddo to show them that the bath isn’t scary. 

Hopefully some of these tips will help you with bettering bath-time for your babies and toddlers! If you’re needing more baby and toddler tips like this – check out more Cedar Rapids Mom’s articles such as this one “When Your Baby Becomes A Toddler”.


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