Bath time and toddlers

United States
April 22, 2009 8:48pm CST
My daughter, Joslynn, who will be 3 next month, all of a sudden wants nothing to do with bathtime. Up until last week she was one of those kids begging you multiple times a night to take a bath... and honestly, I don't think I ever said now. Now its like a boxing match to get her into the bathtub!! Over Easter weekend she played in the shower for an hour at a hotel we were staying at so I tried seeing if she wanted to shower instead of take a bath and the scream is even more blood curdeling than the bath. So, yet another night of trying to bribe her into the tub, giving her a spanking for not listening and having to rip her clothes off, carry her to the tub and hold her down while trying to wash her. I know toddlers have all kinds of phases... but she has NEVER fought me on bathtime... EVER! Any suggestions on what to even try? Thanks!
3 responses
@Raven7317 (693)
• United States
23 Apr 09
Aww, Shell, don't spank her! She's afraid and you're making it worse! And if she's not afraid, SHE'S THREE!! Get her some new tubbie toys. Make it a special thing, take her to the store, let her pick out a new and special toy and tell her it's only for the tub. Don't let her open it, play with it, or anything - unless she's in the tub. Get her some bath finger paints. Get some Bubbles. Change the shower curtain to something childish, colorful, fun and educational. Buy her a new bathrobe. Buy her new bath towels that are only for her. GET IN THE TUB WITH HER. Make the entire process fun and exciting for her. Get her to tell you why she doesn't want to bathe. Try to talk to her. If she still refuses, give her a sink wash. My son treats the process like an adventure because I've always made it fun for him. We start with the term "Make it Naked!" This sets off a race to the bathroom to strip off his clothes - the best part is taking of his diaper. Then we stand in front of the bub and he picks 2/3 toys to play with before we "make it clean," then we make it clean and in doing so we sing "My armbone is connected to my..." Then we let out some water and refill with warm and he gets to have more toys. He gets to pick his towel and his PJ's. Then he gets a snack, that he gets to pick. I understand your frustration, but please try, try, try other methods to help her get over this. Good luck.
• United States
23 Apr 09
My dear we have done all of that!!! She doesn't want me in the tub with her... she doesn't give a crap about the shower curtain (LOL) we have finger paints, new toys, she tells me to stop singing when I sing songs, she tells me to leave her alone when I go to take her clothes off... We did all of it. As I said above - I try and be as nice about the whole things as I can. I still get a fight if I just want to wipe her down with a washcloth... and you can't do that everyday. She needs her hair washed and she needs washed better than that in general. If she's scared she needs to tell me... it won't be the first time she's told me she's afraid of something. I try and pick out specifics so its not so vague and it doesn't do me any good. So - after trying everything you've suggested and more... i'm stuck. And as my parents always said to me and my brother... bottom line is, you need to listen to your parents... and thats what she needs to do. I'd like her to do it comfortably, but if she refuses, I have to enforce a little... I'm a Mom. Its what I'm supposed to do.
• United States
23 Apr 09
Hi Shell, I saw your post above right after I posted mine! Okay, so now I understand - you've tried it all and now you're ready to kill her - or at least sell her on ebay... right?? LOL You are absolutely correct, children should do as you say for no other reason other than you said so. In this case, I guess I don't know what to suggest, since I offered up my best suggestions already! LOL If you're going to force her, just don't yell, spank or swear. I've tried this and it seems to work, but I can't say it works all the time. If you're going to physically make them do something, do it only as gently as you can without them getting away from you. Do what you have to do, take off her clothes, get her washed up and dried and dressed again. Before you start simply state "I'm going to give you a bath now" and go to it. Don't talk to her, don't yell at her, don't give in to the tears. Just do it. If she's only 'being three' and this is a phase, she'll quickly learn that if she's not going to do what needs to be done, you will do it for her. Oh, and I would follow it up with denying her any special treats that would normally follow bath time, with an explanation "you don't get your story (Or whatever) tonight because you didn't listen to mommy and take your bath" - or something to that effect. Good luck!
1 person likes this
@owlwings (38062)
• Cambridge, England
23 Apr 09
Something has obviously disturbed her confidence in water recently. It sounds as if you need to ask her WHY she doesn't want to take a bath or a shower and work through that fear with her. Maybe she has developed an irrational fear of going down the plughole with the water; maybe she caught something on TV which unsettled her ... it is very hard to say what might have sparked it. I know that force (spanking and so on) sometimes seems the only way if you are going to get anything done in the day but what she needs is your love and understanding to help her round understanding something that has suddenly (to the adult way of thinking) become scary or undesirable. She will be much more likely to do something if she knows that mommy loves her and really cares about things that are scary to her and will help them not to be scary.
@owlwings (38062)
• Cambridge, England
23 Apr 09
I remember being quite scared of the overflow which, in our house, seemed to blow cold air at us when it was a windy night. I had all sorts of ideas about ghosts coming out of it, I remember!
• United States
23 Apr 09
I sat down with her last night, before I threw her in the tub, and tried to ask her why she doesn't like the tub anymore and she just looks at me like I'm a moron. I asked her if she was scared of the water, no. scared of the drain, no. Afraid of her toys, no... So I'm not sure what's going on. I try and be patient and loving and talk her kindly into it... but fact of the matter is... she needs a bath at least every other night and if she's not going to listen, she needs to know that she needs to listen to Mommy too. Thank you for everything you had to say.... and I can't believe you were afraid of the overflow! I LOVED it! haha... I would always make the water go up high enough to hit it so I could go underwater and listen to it! lol
@meandmy3 (2229)
• United States
23 Apr 09
It is common at this age for kids to develop odd fears, she may be afraid of the drain and of going down the drain, (a common fear for small children) or she could just be being a brat.. Try to make it fun for her, add bubbles, let her take a bath in your room or a different bathroom if that is a common occurance.
• United States
23 Apr 09
I honestly think she's just being a brat. LOL. We only have one bathroom, so I can't try another one. I asked her if I could take a bath with her or a shower and everything is no. She used to love bubbles in the tub and now wants nothing to do with them. If I throw color tabs in the water before I say anything about bathtime... sometimes I can coax her in too. Thanks for the help! :o)