Most young kids LOVE bath time.
But there seems to always be a season that each child will act like traumatized cats when you try and de-stink them.
Many times, these issues arise from a sensory need or aversion.
For two years, my son, who has Sensory Processing Disorder, would become violent and panic when he knew it was bath time.
Here’s a couple ideas to help make bath time equal fun time.
Try Varying Levels of Water
My son has vestibular (inner ear) issues that cause him to lack balance control. When he was small and extra flubby, too much water in the tub would make him feel buoyant and out of control. When I drained the tub to practically a puddle, he had so much more confidence.
P.S. If your child also hates to swim, I’ve got an entire post about helping sensory kids learn to swim. It might make bath time more enjoyable too!
Consider Personal Preferences
Give your child as much control in this situation as you can. Let me pick the water temperature, even if you think it’s too cold. When you’re at the store, let them choose a soap that smells good to them.
Keep in mind lower lighting and even distractions like an audio MIGHT help ease your child’s fears.
If you’re struggling to have you child communicate their needs to you, try roll playing bath time with a doll. That will help you child let their own guard down since they know it’s not their bath time.
Turn the Faucet Off
When a tub is filling up, it can be awfully loud. All that noise can be disorienting, especially to kids with SPD. I noticed a lot less trepidation in my son when the noise level was at a minimum.
Use Different Methods for Rinsing the Head
The most agonizing part of bathing for most kids is getting their heads wet. I think it’s a combination of two things: fearing getting water/soap in their eyes and feeling dizzy when their heads are in odd positions.
If the head position is an issue, you can try leaning the head forward while they cover their eyes with a towel. Occasionally, laying them flat on their backs (with a very low water level) so they feel more stable can help.
If getting soap in their eyes is their biggest fear, keep a wash cloth over their eyes and a dry towel on hand for the minor spills. Goggles are another option.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t just one thing that made bath time easier for us. There was a lot of trial, error and prayer. Keep your voice as calm as possible, even when things veer from the plan.
Please share your tips for an enjoyable bath time with kids in the comments below! Let’s help each other out!