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2 yo with bath fears - Page 2

post #21 of 35

It's totally okay to have a slightly funky-smelling toddler. And by 2 years he should be able to wash much of his skin with a washcloth sans bathtub. But what worked for my daughter (she had a slipping incident around 14 months that put her off of baths for a while) was switching to showers. I showered with her, she'd play in the spray at the bottom of the tub while I washed my hair, then I'd pick her up and wash her. She gradually got used to the water running down her head and now she loves showers and is back to tolerating hairwashing in the actual bathtub. Good luck!

post #22 of 35
Thread Starter 

It seems to be very specific to getting water in the eyes.  It's not a fear of water or the tub - he helps me bathe his brother.  He does HATE showers too, that would be worse.  Right now I'm just washing him down with a washcloth - he still yells not to get it in his eyes.  Which I manage to avoid... faint.gifHa ha...


I haven't offered a bath at a different time of day, I am wondering if maybe late morning would be a good, peaceful time of day to try bathing where he would think it was about play time.  My cousin sort of conned him into it by letting him put his feet in the water while he was still clothed because he wanted to play, then saying to keep playing he had to take his clothes off and get in.  That got him at least into the tub, but no sitting in the water and no hair washing still.


I'm feeling patient.

post #23 of 35

If its about water in his eyes, can you enroll him in swim lessons?  2yo seems young, but I loved teaching 2yo's swim lessons!  It was so fun, and they all got into it.  You could also make a game out of putting your own face in the water, and then asking if he can, and make it really fun and easy going.  Also, whenever he does put his face in, you need to act like it was the COOLEST thing you've ever seen - really play it up "OH wow!!!!  Look!  You put your face in the water!!!!  WOW!  GREAT JOB!" and be really excited - when parents get a nervous look on their face it makes it harder for the kids cause they get nervous.

post #24 of 35

A friend told me her trick that was a life saver for me.  My son would scream bloody murder the whole time I washed his hair and rinsed it, then calm completely down while we finished his bath and happily played in the bath water for ages.  My friend said just roll up a washcloth, talk it up as "super goggles" to keep the water out of the eyes/face, and put it over his eyes when you pour water over his head.  Mine loves it, and asks for his super goggles when I tell him we are going to wash his hair (which he still says he doesn't want).  Mine was 3 when we started this, so he doesn't care if we use a different color washcloth, but with a 2 year old you may need to use the same one or an identical one every time.

post #25 of 35
We have these bath visors that ds1 liked. It didn't help him get over his bath fear- that just took time. But it did make washing hair easier once he was ok with baths again.
post #26 of 35
Thread Starter 

Those are really great ideas.  I think since he also hates hats, he might prefer the super goggle idea.  I'll try explaining it to him and see if he'll try.  Right now he's completely refusing to get into water, but we'll see...

post #27 of 35

Just some untried ideas here since 19mo DS loves his bath, but maybe just have a bath "around" for a few times where you have him help you get it ready, turn water on, toss toys in, etc, and maybe even wash a doll and have him help you. Do all the motions of the bath. Maybe do that a couple times and then get him back in the bath, no hair washing, and if he'll do that, do baths for a while with no hair washing.


DS is lucky to get a back once a week lol because I just don't think of it. His hair actually looks softer a cuter today (more than a week since his last bath) than when it's just washed.


Just an idea, maybe it would work, maybe not. He might also like to get in the shower with you or DH and you could at least wash his body that way. DS DOES start to smell like a belly button if he goes too long without a bath :).


ETA: I just saw your more recent post about already helping brother and hating the shower.


Have you ever tried having him hold a folded dry wash cloth over his eyes while you rinse?


ETA again, I just saw someone else suggested that lol.

post #28 of 35

Perhaps try laying him down to wash the hair.  If your child is sitting up, it can get into the eyes as he fears.  Might work!  Maybe find out creative ways to make it more enjoyable/fun!

post #29 of 35

I really wonder about why we think we need to use soap to wash a kid's hair!  Somehow, I think I know - the shampoo industry wants us to buy shampoo, conditioner, etc. etc. etc.  We grew up with all the commercials telling us to buy, buy, buy.


I have a 5 yr. old and I have not put shampoo in her hair ever!  I used soap in the bath once when she was really, really young and a friend of mine pointed out that it would just dry her skin and then require added lotion to moisturize it.  After that I thought about it and realized that just rinsing with water really does most of the cleaning.  We use hand soap for dirty hands (or before cooking or eating).


When she was young I just brushed her hair and barely rinsed it as much as she would tolerate (I stopped before it became an issue).  She had cradle cap for years until she finally really got into brushing her hair on her own (only within the last year).  I felt worried that someone would judge me for the cradle cap but fortunately no one noticed or commented.  As for her hair, it looks great for having no shampoo!  Her hair does not go through the cycles that "clean" and "dirty" hair go through because it is always in it's own balance.  

She now likes laying down with the back of her head (not her face) under the water and it really gets a good rinse that way.  And I offer her a little head massage under the water and she loves that.


Do we really need to put shampoo in their hair?


For myself, I have now converted to baking soda and cider vinegar rinse.  I'm looking forward to adding more and more days between this cleaning but, for now, I clean my hair every other day this way in the shower.


Lot's of good posts about "no-poo" in the Natural Family Living forums!

post #30 of 35

Yeah we don't do shampoo either (for ourselves or DS) but he still developed the bath fear anyway. But yeah, his hair is great with no shampoo, I do very very occasionally (once every other month maybe?) use ACV &/or baking soda if it seems grimy but he has nice long healthy hair and it rarely needs anything but water & combing.

post #31 of 35

I've always laid DS down in the bath to rinse his hair, so that he almost never gets any water in his eyes.  Obviously, you're son won't go for that yet, but I might try telling him that you won't try to wash his hair at all and see if he'll at least play in the bath with very little water, or have him get in an empty bath and turn the water on on his own.  That way he's in control.  If he'll get in a pool that would be a great too.  I would just use a wet washcloth to "wash" his hair for now until he gets comfortable with it. 

post #32 of 35
Originally Posted by WriterMom2be View Post

Up until 2 and a half my DS loved the bath so much we'd use it as a bribe. Then one day he completely freaked out when we put him in and wouldn't stop crying. It was worse if he got water in his eyes. He became so scared of bathing that I wondered if something was seriously wrong -- then I googled and found out this was common at this age. What helped was this: I got in a bathing suit and  lined up a bunch of new little frog toys on the edge of the tub. I asked him if the frogs wanted to jump in the pond. He said yes and plopped them in, then I asked, should mommy jump in the pond? After I got in I asked him if he wanted to jump in. He did but would not let me take off his clothes...so I let him get in fully clothed. After a little bit I was able to then get him undressed and wash him while we played with the toys. Now I can just sit on the edge with my feet in, though he occasionally asks for me to get in so he can sit on my lap. I'm hoping he'll get back to enjoying the bath like he used to. We only do it once a week now and have to use a washcloth on his diaper area so he doesn't smell funky.

I love it. This is what i have heard and tried on my DS. Not exactly the same as this very creative mom did,  but making a game out of it. When he started to get freaked out about getting water poured over his head i made up a funny song about it and sang it as we washed his hair. All of a sudden it was fun!! I have also heard of making a big deal of pouring water over your own head first and then singing a song and making a big deal about pouring water over your child's hair. I think as long as we continue to "validate" our children's fears we make them more real and are not helping them get over them and realize that there is nothing to be afraid of. What this mom did is very creative and any variation that would be fun for your child and helps them realize that it is not really that bad is great. I also like what crunchy_mommy did also, very creative and fun.  

post #33 of 35

I think a lot of kids go through this.  Another fun thing to do in the shower is to use shaving cream.  The cheap barbsol works great.  You can use food coloring too.  Today my DS started putting it on his body too.  So then he got clean (he just smelled like an old man).  He hates getting water in his face too but, honestly, he just has to scream for like 30 seconds and then I distract him with something else.

post #34 of 35
My daughter is almost three and has always hated baths. She's ok now with bubble baths as long as I don't wash her hair, although I never do it once a day...more like once a week or even every 10 days. She doesn't smell, but her hair is really fine and gets really badly tangled pretty much every night. I have definitely taken her out with really bad bed head more than once! But then my mom suggested washing her hair in the sink--with the sprayer--and it works great. I put a towel on the counter for her to lie on and I give her a piece of candy sometimes to distract her while I wash her hair. She loves it! I have to be really careful not to let any water in her face or ears, but it's not too difficult with the sprayer. The hard part is that I end up washing her hair separately from her body, but hey, whatever works. I generally wait till her hair is such a mess that I can't stand it anymore. smile.gif

I have also given her sponge baths in a bucket in the living room with a movie on to distract her. LOL. But that's just to wash her body, not her hair.
post #35 of 35
Thread Starter 
So just wanted to post an update. We waited him out, took a couple of months. He never really came around to asking for a bath on his own, but he would sometimes want to get in the tub during his brother's bath. Eventually we got to where we could slowly talk him through it (see, you are in the water, and you are ok. How are you now? And on and on). The problem is entirely about getting water in his eyes. Now we have a dry washcloth he holds over his eyes when we wash his hair and that does seem to help.

Thanks for the ideas, encouragement, and reminder that phases don't last forever.
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