How to Wash Away Cares with Bath Time
“Rubber Ducky, You’re the One” (Bert and Ernie)
If you want your children to drift off to sleep, without a fuss, try making bath time a nightly ritual.
A soothing bath induces sleep.
In the winter it raises body temperature.
After being wrapped in warm PJ’s and tucked into bed, body temperature drops slightly, and this helps us fall asleep.
In the summer, washing away the day’s “glow” allows skin to breathe, feels fresh, and makes climbing between crisp cotton sheets a pleasure. A hot, sticky child will have a hard time getting settled.
Children may not be able to verbalize why they enjoy this nurturing, but they enjoy it just the same.
Let’s Get Practical
Get everything ready before starting.
A Tub Cubby Bathtub Organizer
Small children should never be unattended near water, even with a sibling. No bathtub apparatus that will prevent a child from drowning. Parent supervision is non-negotiable.
There is an awkward stage when many children want privacy, but they’re not quite old enough to be left alone.
A good middle ground is to sit outside the bathroom door (cracked a little) and read a good book.
It may not be glamorous to sit on the hallway floor, but moms take their breaks where they come!
Build a memory
Make bath time special.
Occasionally adding a treat to bath time will keep things fresh.
Try reading aloud, music or candles.
(See suggested tools below)
Clean the bathroom
Not every bath time has to be fit for a princess (or prince).
Sometimes we need to multi-task and get some chores done.
Once your children are old enough to splash around unassisted (but not unattended), you can use this time to keep up with the bathroom cleaning.
Rotate if you have more than one bath.
Tools for Success
Debbie at One Little Project at a Time has a tutorial.
My sister-in-law makes each baby in the family a hooded towel with their name cross-stitched across the hood.
They are perfect for wrapping a small child up. The hood keeps the warmth in while they dry off.
Plus, as they get older, they love to streak through the house, “cape” flying in the breeze!
Found bathtub toys work great:
Measuring cups to stack
Empty water bottles with holes poked in the bottom
A fun idea – freeze some of the toys in an ice block. Perfect for summertime. Kids will stay in the bath longer waiting for the ice to melt.
For a special treat here’s a Dinosaur Bath Bombs Tutorial at Fun at Home with Kids:
There are many dedicated bath toys on the market too. Some even have educational value – always a plus.
Munchkin Foam Letters and Numbers Set
Rub a Dub Tub Tunes
USA Map in the Tub
Whatever toys you use in the bath, beware of mold.
Warm, damp air and toys piled in a bucket – never totally drying out – is a mold farm in the making.
Wash toys in a solution of vinegar water on a regular basis.
Check the inside of hollow toys (squeeze toys and rubber duckies). Mold will grow inside.
Light a few candles and turn out the lights
Candlelight on water is magical.
The low-light will also calm over-wrought children and make the transition to bed easier.
Of course, keep candles well out of reach of children.
On second thought – put the kids to bed and use the candles for your own bath time!
Music is also an excellent addition to bath time.
Take care of their skin
Children’s skin is sensitive.
Commercial bubble baths can be irritating to tender skin.
Green Mama has a Safer Skincare for Children post that outlines common ingredients to watch out for.
Try Burt’s Bees Baby. Here’s their ‘Getting Started Kit.’
Hair washing woes
Holding a washrag over their eyes will work for some children.
If they freak out at hair washing time, try a shower visor. These are a pain to use, but if it’s the only way – you do what you’ve got to do. Visors do have the added advantage of keeping water out of the ears.
These are a pain to use, but if it’s the only way – you do what you’ve got to do. Visors do have the added advantage of keeping water out of the ears. That drives some kids batty.
Burt’s Bees Baby Shampoo is fragrance and tears free.
The timer set above is my favorite. A variety of times (1, 2, 3, 5 minutes) make these useful to turn many tasks into a game.
A must have for any parent of littles are flossers.
(Some of the links in this post may be “affiliate links”. This means if you click on the link and purchase an item, I will receive a small commission. That’s what keeps the site up and running. Regardless, I only recommend products and services I use personally and believe will add value.)
Lifeskills – What this teaches our children
Cleanliness and self-care
As soon as possible, turn over the scrubbing to your kids.
Here is a good outline of what to expect when.
When children get older, they are a captive audience (in the tub) to talk about water safety.
A few things to cover:
Electricity – it doesn’t mix with water. Talk about outlets and things with cords (curling irons, dryers, etc.) and the importance of keeping them far, far apart.
Razors and other sharp bathroom objects – don’t touch.
Tripping hazards – wet floors and falls. Use appropriate non-slip mats, but also stress caution. Because bathrooms are confined spaces, a fall can cause nasty – even dangerous – injuries.
Train them from the start to leave the bathroom prepared for others.
Clothes go in the hamper. Towels get hung up. Toys get put away.
You will be blessed for life, and all their future roommates will sing your praises.