Cute little baby boy taking bath playing with foam and colorful rubber duck toys in a white sunny bathroom

Getting your kiddos to bathe can sometimes be a pain. We get it. We have been there. As cute as they are, they can also be extremely stubborn.

If you have a bath-avoider in your house, these tips can help.


Think about why they are avoiding the bath.
Take a minute and really consider why your child doesn’t want to bathe. Is he or she simply having too much fun doing something else and doesn’t want to stop? Is it because he is on a defiant streak and is testing who has the stronger will? Does she tend to get soap in her eyes and hates it? Is bath the first step of his bedtime routine and he wants to stay up?

If you can discover what is making your child fight a bath, the path to resistant-free bathing will be a lot easier. 


What You Can Do

Make bath time fun
You encourage little Johnny to be creative. Why stifle that creativity come bath time? Make it fun to get in the bath with a foaming bath soap, bath crayons, and bath toys. Allow Johnny to play for a bit before washing up and then again at the end. Starting and ending on a fun note will set you up for a more successful pre and post bath time routine moving forward.

Control the soap
No one likes getting soap in their eyes. As an adult, we have learned to avoid this. Kids haven’t. They lack the dexterity and experience to avoid such uncomfortable disasters. By remaining in control of the soap, you can demonstrate how to wash properly. Additionally, you can get a bottle of kid’s liquid soap that is “sting” free.

Never waiver in your consistency
We repeat – never waiver in your consistency. Young Jane needs to know that your will is stronger than hers. If bath time is an everyday thing, give her a bath every day. Setting up specific routines and sticking to them will help you quickly and easily overcome any initial resistance.

Establish clear expectations
Tell your child in advance that bath time is coming. Let them know how you expect them to behave. This will help them mentally prepare for the activity rather than feeling like you just dropped a bomb on them.

Pick a new time of day for bathing
In many homes, bath time is a pre-bedtime ritual – the time when both parents and children tend to be tired and grumpy. Why make this moment anymore stressful? Instead, consider letting your child bathe first thing in the morning.

Consider a shower
Baths are a natural choice for many parents. But they can be a lot of work. As your child gets older, consider switching to a shower. It is quicker all around, requiring less prep and cleanup. Additionally, it is the natural transition as your kids begin to be responsible for bathing themselves.


What To Avoid

Skip the lecture about personal hygiene
At the moment, hygiene is not why your child does or does not want to bathe. Chances are pretty good, they won’t care about hygiene until they are a teen. That’s when they begin realizing boys and girls don’t have cooties and washing helps with body odor.

Do not bargain
Remember, you are the parent. You are in control. Do not bargain with your kid to get into the bath. Bribing them will lead you down a slippery slope.

Worried toys seem like a bribe? They can be, especially if you give your kid a toy after they’ve thrown a tantrum. This further encourages poor behavior. However, if you offer your kid a toy up front, that’s a completely different story.

Do not forget to breathe
Remember it is just a bath. Take a deep breath. Relax. In a few months the battle-of-the-bathtub will pass. Then you will be on to the next parenting challenge. By setting clear expectations and clear rules, the easier each challenge will become.


Additional Tips
And just because we think these are fun, we wanted to share our favorite bathtub books with you. The Magic Bath Books is a series of toddler friendly bath books made with sturdy foam-padded pages that float. They show pictures of friendly animals which change colors when the book is dunked in the water. These are our favorite titles: