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Sudden bath fears in 18 month old

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
My dd is 18 months old (today!) and has this new sudden fear of the bath. She used to LOVE the bath, would play until she was shivering and turning blue if I let her. But now is terrified! What can I do?

A little background: Yesterday, I gave her a bath at my mom's house. She was TERRIFIED! She started crying the second I put her in the bath. My mom held her out of the water (she was sitting on the toilet) with her leaning over the tub while I washed her hair really fast. Normally I would have just stopped bath, but she really needed her hair washed because she was getting smelly. I really thought it was just my mom's tub because her's is the only tub dd has bathed in that had a window in it.

Fast forward to tonight, dd needs another bath because it's just way to hot here and she gets dirty really fast (plus we went to the aquarium and at lunch she decided to paint herself with ketchup, yuck.) Put her in, with me, and she starts freaking out. Tryed climbing out onto daddy (who was helping me) and had to have her hair washed really quickly.

I don't know what's up, but I need a way to fix it. It's too hot and sweaty here for her not to bath every night. Plus she's not so fond of eating food, but really enjoys washing her hair in it.

HELP!
post #2 of 14
Thread Starter 
Bump. I really need help with this.
post #3 of 14
Could it be that she is developing a fear of the drain? There is a set of developmental milestones that leads many kids to fear drains for a period of time. If this is the case, perhaps covering it would help, or facing a different direction during the baths, or showing her how water can go down the drain but not larger things like cups or bath toys or a combination of the above.

Do you have any other clues about what could be causing this?
post #4 of 14
Could she shower with you until she's ok with being in the tub again? Or could you bath with her and see if that makes a difference? I know that lots of kids that age do get afraid of the drain. That could definitley be a possibility.
post #5 of 14
Mine did this. I can't remember exactly when the fear started, but I think it was right around 20 mo. He had loved the bath before and then suddenly, boom, he was not having it, no way.

I didn't push it. I just gave him showers instead. I would take him in the shower with me, in and out, super fast. He didn't love that either, but at least it was over fast. (I almost never wash with soap unless he is really dirty because of his skin issues. So it was usually just rinsing, literally.) It is pretty tricky, and a little dangerous, and I really should have invested in a mesh sling but thank god I never did drop him and it worked out fine. This went on for a long time, over 6 mo. I didn't mind, it saved me a lot of time.

Then suddenly about 2 months ago I decided I really wanted to give him a bath. He had rubbed about a gallon of sand into his hair and I just didn't see how we could deal with this without a bath. So I bought him some new bath toys and talked it up, very very excited, and I think we also watched some tv show where somebody was taking a bath. He was still pretty adamantly opposed, and I had to pick him up and put him in the bath screaming, but I showed him the joy of splashing and in about a minute he decided this was the coolest thing EVER. Now he actually asks to take a bath pretty frequently. Of course these are on the days when I don't have time to give him one. One the days when I actually do want to give him a bath, of course he says NOOOOOOOOOOOO! This is because he's 2. My latest technique was to talk him into helping me give the dog a bath. The poor poor poor poor dog, who hates baths more than anything but just stands there and takes it. What a trooper. He was very excited about having this responsibility, and it was easy to transition him into the tub right after she got out. But I felt really bad for using her like that.

Anyway, geesh this is long, it's because I'm procastinating... My advice is don't push it. Try showers or sponge baths for a while. Do you really need to wash her hair all that often? Have you tried just rinsing, no shampoo? There have been a ton of threads around here on going "no poo." For many people, myself and ds included, shampoo does a lot more harm than good. Just a suggestion.
post #6 of 14
when ds was about 9 or 10 months old he went through a phase of hating the bath. i just tried different things -- we had had a tub (really for washing clothes, i think) for him and i tried that in the big tub. nope, that wasn't cool. then we tried it outside of the tub. he got less and less worked up everytime we changed things. i decided to keep him in his little bath and that had been working for us.

then we went away and he was in a big bath...he wasn't crazy about it but he was mesmerized by the drain thing. not upset, just curious. now he doesn't hate the bath but he doesn't want to sit anymore. so he stands in his tubbie and wash him with a cloth.

for us the important thing was trying different solutions. that said, i'd love for him to sit and have a wee soak...maybe i'll have a bath and ask him to join me.

thanks for the topic and good luck!
post #7 of 14
My 16 mo old has never liked a bath. I mean, I tried everything. Toys, being positive about it, you name it. So, I just would get him in and out within a few minutes and at least he was clean. Last week, he finally decided he kind of liked the bath and spent at least 10 minutes splashing and having a heck of time. Finally!

If you cannot do the shower, I say getting them in and out fast, if you cannot calm them down in the tub, is the best thing. Or if they are not that dirty, just a sponge bath.

My boy is needing baths a LOT more now, so I am glad he finally decided the bath was ok. LOL
post #8 of 14
When my dd had her fear of baths, we did these things...

- take her in the shower with us
- sponge baths
- bath in the kitchen sink

Then one day after a couple months of avoiding the bath, she saw me taking a bubble bath and wanted in. She took a bath with me and hasn't been scared since. She takes a bath almost every evening.

However, she absolutely hates getting her hair wet in the shower and bath so a few times a week she gets her hair washed in the kitchen sink. We play "beauty salon" on those days and she gets her hair washed and blow-dried, nails clipped, and gets to put on make-up. So far that's the ONLY way to get her hair clean.
post #9 of 14
My DD is 14 months and wont go in the bath alone 98% of the time, so i just hop in there with her. Sometimes I can get away with just sitting on the edge with my feet in, but I still have to be nek-kid
I would jsut get in w/ DC or into the shower you both go LOL
post #10 of 14
My son hated baths from the very beginning. I counteracted it by bathing with him until he hit about 12 months, when he really seemed more independent and interested in bath toys. By that time, he really didn't seem to need me in the tub, anymore. Now, 17 months, he just loves the bath and plays in the tub the entire time. In fact, now he hollers when it's time to get out.

OH!! We did have a problem, about 2 months ago, when my husband gave him a bath, and didn't check the water well enough. The water was just a touch too hot and startled him when his feet hit the water.

He was afraid of baths for a few days after that, but, as we slowly showed him (by touching his hand to the water before he got in) that the water wasn't too hot, he got over his fear.
post #11 of 14
I have a few suggestions that have helped us as we have had similar problems.

When this first happened we thought his fear might be the big tub so we got out the Ikea tub that we used when he was smaller and set it on the bath mat outside the tub. A friend of mine suggested we get a new and very exciting bath toy and if necessary let him play in the tub with the new toy without any water or naked even. So we let him play in the Ikea tub with the toy and that did it. I filled the tub at bath time and stripped him down and he was totally fine since he was entertained with the new hoop and balls tub toy. He protested a few times after that but we would just go get the balls and he would then follow up into the bathroom.

He has again started saying no when we ask him if he is ready for his bath, but we have been able to get past it recently by having him throw the toys, washcloth, etc. into the tub as the water is running. I think it is a transition thing. He needs something to smooth over the transition from not bathing to bathing. (He likes the bath once in but it is hard to stop all the exciting activity going on outside the bath) So we hang out in the bathroom for a bit before we get in, throwing things in the water and just generally getting ready.

Oh and we are of course just generally very playful in the bathroom and we sing bath related songs. All the bath toys have funny sounds and voices, and we make them do tricks, etc. Hope this helps and good luck.
post #12 of 14
If the weather is warm enough you could also try an outdoor "shower" with the hose, soap, shampoo, the works. Or bathing in an inflatable pool outside. We used to love this as kids! (of course, could be done in swimsuits if the back porch isn't private enough to be nekkid on!)
post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dancindoula
If the weather is warm enough you could also try an outdoor "shower" with the hose, soap, shampoo, the works. Or bathing in an inflatable pool outside. We used to love this as kids! (of course, could be done in swimsuits if the back porch isn't private enough to be nekkid on!)
We tired this a couple weeks ago. She is terrified of the kid pool we have. That started way before the bath scare. I'll have to ask dh to move the hose to the backyard. She loves the hose and I wonder if she would be okay with that. It's worth a try.
post #14 of 14
Try taking her in the shower or just doing a stand-up bath in the tub with water running, but no standing water. Try to figure out what she's afraid of...the sound of the water running into the tub? Water on her face? Fear of going down the drain? If you can't reasure her, try filling and draining the tub while she's out of the room for a while, and cover the drain with something so she can't see it.
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