While my own kids are grown-up enough to shower alone now, I remember the bathtime battles very well. Sometimes, children love being in the bath; it’s just the thing you need to get them out of a bad mood. Other times, getting children into the bath feels like an epic (and exhausting) battle.

With the help of the experts at Showers to You, here are a few tips to make the whole process a lot smoother.

Newborn bathtime

Getting a newborn settled at home is a daunting thing, especially for first time parents! There’s so much to think about, from feeding to clothing them properly to sleep routines. Newborns, luckily, don’t need to be immersed in water; in fact, you should avoid this until the umbilical cord stump falls off. You can use warm water to give them a sponge bath in those very early days.

Infant bathtime

Infants can be bathed 2-3 times a week, and it’s a great part of the wind down routine before bed. In the very early years, I found that 2-3 times a week was just right for us; my babies were prone to dry skin, and I was advised by a doctor not to bathe them every night in order to avoid drying out their skin even more. So if that’s a concern, I’d recommend going to your doctor or health visitor for advice, and figuring out what works best for you.

Making bathtime fun

If bathtimes are a struggle, it may be time to rethink things a little bit. So while in the long run having a consistent routine is important, it’s also okay to introduce new elements to bathtime.

Now is the time to bring in some new gadgets. Even if it’s just stacking cups, a new bath seat so they can sit upright and splash, or even some waterproof finger puppets so you can sing a song or create a silly little play. I’d also recommend reading some stories or reciting their favourites from memory, like We’re Going on a Bear Hunt or The Gruffalo.

If they still hate bathtime, talk them through every step, keep the routine simple, and don’t worry if you don’t feel they’re in the water for long enough. As long as you can wash their hair and body, they don’t have to be in there for very long. Talk them through each step, give them a big cuddle at the end, and know that they will eventually grow out of the ‘bath hating’ stage; and if not, they might discover that they much prefer showers later in their childhood.

Image: Michal Bar Haim, Unsplash

Safety tips

There are a few things to remember:

  • Create a safe environment: Make sure that there are no razors or sharp objects in reach, and put non-slip mats in the bath to prevent any slips or falls.
  • Get the water to the right temperature: The water should be comfortable, at around 37-38 degrees Celsius. You can test it with your elbow or use a bath thermometer if you want to make sure (but I found the elbow trick to be pretty reliable).
  • Use baby-safe products: Infants have more delicate skin, and require specific shampoo and soap that won’t irritate their skin.
  • Never leave them unsupervised: Never leave your baby or infant unsupervised in the water, even if they’re in a bath seat or similar.

Bathtime routines

According to brain health expert James Roy from Brainworks Neurotherapy, nighttime routines are really important for children: ‘Children thrive on predictability and consistency, and a well-crafted nighttime routine can provide them with a sense of security and stability … from a psychological standpoint, a bedtime routine signals to the brain that its’ time to wind down.’

So to make bedtime relaxing, keep the lights lower, talk in a soothing voice, close the curtains, and purposefully slow down your movements as you carry your baby around; this will signal to them that they can start to relax and will (hopefully) set them up for a good night’s sleep.

You may also like...