Bathtime Blues

by Kelsey Norwood

in Family Fun,Family Life

baby bath time

Isn’t bath time supposed to be fun? It used to be. Around the time that Joel turned 1 he started to hate bath time. I couldn’t figure it out! He never really did like to get his hair washed, but being in the water didn’t bother him until one day he screamed and cried through the whole thing.

Sometimes babies hate bath time because the temperature is wrong. Boyd is in charge of bath time, so he started giving Joel a bath after he took a shower so the bathroom was steamy and warm. Bath time needs to be comfortable and fun and temperature plays a big part in that.

Another trick is to bathe with the child. This might be a little weird for some of you, but it works for us. Boyd and Joel have been taking baths together so that Joel can have some happy bath experiences and get over his bath time blues. Joel plays happily and doesn’t even notice that Boyd is washing his hair, which is his least favorite part.

Bath toys are important, because bath time needs to be fun! Rubber duckies are great, water books, sponges, cups to dip and pour. A puppet washcloth can also make bath time more fun. Sometimes we sing bath songs like “wash, wash, wash your hair, wash your hair all clean, scrubba-dubba-rubba-bubba, wash your hair all clean,” to the tune of “Row, Row, Row Your Boat.”

Also, my pediatrician says that babies only need baths once or twice a week until they are old enough to play outside and get sweaty. Bathing your child too often can dry out their skin – they need those oils to keep their skin hydrated. In the summertime, kids need to be bathed more often.

Here are some other bath time tricks and tips:

  • Give him a “spit bath” – clean with baby wipes/washcloths throughout the day to make the actual bath easier
  • Put soaps in colorful containers and let him choose which one to use
  • Put soap in a pump and let him squirt it out
  • Sing songs
  • Play music
  • Have a warm towel ready in the dryer
  • Read a story
  • Designate certain toys as bath toys so those toys are special
  • Blow bubbles
  • Turn the water on to a slow trickle during the bath
  • Put food coloring in the water? This might make a bigger mess than it’s worth, I’m not sure.
  • Use goggles and a snorkel
  • Give him a straw to blow into the water – make sure he doesn’t drink the bath water

Please share your bath time tricks in a comment!

[photo from]


1 Marty May 29, 2008 at 10:50 am

I had the same bath time issues with my children. We were able to solve the crying at hair washing time with a product we went on to manufacture and sell. It is called the Lil Rinser.

You can check it out at


2 jenny May 29, 2008 at 11:17 am

We let our kids stick pretty much any toy that won’t get ruined into the tub, so whatever the favorite toy of the week is goes in with them. Now my son loves the tub. We also quit washing their hair every time we bathe them, because the hair washing is the real trauma. It goes much smoother this way for us.

3 vanillajoy May 29, 2008 at 11:28 am

Thanks for commenting Jenny!!! I agree about the hair washing thing – maybe when they do need their hair washed, doing it first would be good, to get the worst part over so they can enjoy the rest of the bath and look forward to the next one. Or maybe it would make finishing the bath impossible – I’ll have to do some experimenting and see… Thanks again!


4 Baba May 14, 2009 at 11:18 am

We have several toys that we set aside as bath toys for the little ones and we keep them handy in the Boon Lady bug on the wall. The girls love bath time and playing in the water. Washing hair can be the toughest part of bath, but I found if I play the “Where is The Ceiling” game with them they put their head back and the water stays out of their face when I rinse their hair, so no fussing anymore.

5 Hazel September 14, 2009 at 11:13 pm

This was good to read because my son has just started to hate bath time and he has just turned one. It started a few weeks ago – he refused to sit down in the tub and we tried to make him for safety reasons. Then another time we let him stand up and he bumped his head. Then we tried back in the small tub and he cried and peed on me.

So I think he might need the reassurance of mummy… hopefully not for too long, because it does feel a little weird to me.

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