Making Bath Time Fun!
We've all been there: you once had a child who loved bath time who now is fighting with every ounce of their being to avoid the tub.
Sometimes children go through phases where they simply just don't want stop playing in order to take a bath. There are times though, when bath avoidance may mean something more and become an anxiety-inducing experience, stemming from fears or negative experiences. Fears for little ones can feel very big to them, even if they don't seem so to you. If your child is experiencing bath time fears and/or anxiety, first and foremost it is essential to help them through their fear. The following activities aren't meant to be a replacement or distraction for those very real and very big fears; rather, they're intended to restore your child's love for the bath once you've gotten to the emotional root cause of their upset. And for the kiddos who'd rather play than bathe, these activities can act as great incentives to get in the tub!
Mixing and pouring
Give your children a variety of containers and bottles to use to pour. You can reuse plastic food containers and poke holes in the bottom so that it creates different effects when the water pours out. Use a variety of liquids such as coloured or soapy water. Give them spoons to stir and let them experiment with measuring cups and measuring spoons. They can pretend they are grand chefs at a restaurant creating masterpieces with their mixing and pouring for added imaginative play. Bath paints and colours can also add a lot of excitement to the bath with these activities or on their own.
DIY bath paints
You can create your own bath paints by mixing shaving cream and paint. Put the mixture into a squirt container or paint pots with paintbrushes. We have done shaving cream painting for years outside, but it was so much fun when we decided to bring it into the bath! They will love to make their own creations in the tub. If your little one has sensitive skin, you could make your own bath paints with corn starch, a few drops of paint and a little bit of water. You want to make the consistency so that it is not too runny but also thin enough that you can get it onto the paintbrush. (One part corn starch to a half part water is usually a great way to start with this mixture — you will definitely need to rinse well after!)
Make bath time a learning experience by talking about what colours they have chosen, what colours they can make by mixing them together, their favorite colours, and playing "I spy" or matching the colours in the bath with objects from around the house.
Give your children a variety of coloured ice cubes to play with in the bath. Let them try to catch them in their hands or another container and watch them melt. For added fun, you can make small ice blocks by using a food storage container and freezing objects inside of the water. You may need to monitor the temperature of the bath as the ice melts but this activity is sure to create a lot of buzz before bathing!
If your child is old enough, talk to them about water freezing and melting. You can have them help you prepare the ice cubes or ice blocks the day before their bath so that they feel involved and they can see what happens to water at different temperatures. This may also get them that much more excited for their bath! Have a warm fluffy towel ready at the end!
A good old-fashioned fun bubble bath, who doesn’t love that?! You can fill the bath with bubbles and give your child some bubble wands to experiment with. To add a little more excitement, you can also give them their own bubble container so that they can blow their own bubbles while in the bubble bath!
Be sure to rinse your child with fresh water after any of these activities to prevent irritation after the bath! When they're all snuggled into bed, maybe you can have a nice (sedate) bath yourself!