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Scared of the bath?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Two nights ago my ds, who is 2 years and 2 months, became frightened of the bath. Typically he LOVES his bath, but the other night, he started crying hysterically when I put him in. I thought maybe it was the temperature of the water b/c it did feel a little warm (though definitely not that warm or hot to elicit such a strong response), but I thought maybe he was overly tired and just having a weird night or whatever. Then he did the very same thing again last night when I made the water cooler than I usually would. Later while I was putting on his pajamas, he told me that he was scared that he'd go down the drain. I tried to explain to him that he is too big to go down the drain and showed him that his toys that are smaller than him never go down the drain, etc., but I don't think he gets it. Has anyone ever heard of this before? Any ideas, tips to share?

post #2 of 12
Hmm...maybe that's what's wrong with my dd! She used to be okay with baths, but in the past two weeks she has cried through every one of them. I figured it's just a phase she's going through and I will try to accomodate her by making baths as quick as possible, but she does need to bath at some point so...at least your ds can tell you what's wrong! My dd is only 15 months, so she just cries.

COuld you give you ds a sponge bath instead?
post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 
I'll do whatever it takes for the short term, but at some point I'm going to have to find a solution, right? DS went through a similar phase at about 14/15 months too, but it was very short lived -- like less than a week. I never knew then what the problem was because he didn't talk then, but I don't think it was the drain because it never came up again until now?
post #4 of 12
My son went through a phase like that around a year old. My pediatrician suggested that he might have had a bad dream about a bath. It was very puzzling and frustrating. The way we got him back into the bath was, we bought some bubble solution & a wand and blew bubbles at him while he was in the tub. He loved that so much that he forgot about being scared.

I would just keep reinforcing the fact that he is too big to go down the drain. Maybe give examples of things that could go down the drain, such as a grain of salt, a pea, etc., then show him a grain of salt on your finger and say, "See how much smaller this is than you? You couldn't fit down that drain, even if you wanted to."

I think it is VERY important not to force him to get in the tub if he is truly afraid of it. I'd resort to sponge baths or even using a big washtub, since those don't have drains. Forcing him to do something he is terrified of will only cause more problems, in my opinion.
post #5 of 12
This exact same thing happened to me! I was just as puzzled too.
My toddler was almost identical in age also, but he didn't talk yet, so I couldn't figure out what was going on.
Get in the tub with him, this is what I did. The crying lessened, but it took a few weeks for it to subside. I just concentrated on making him feel safe , had some fun, and took a few baths!
I love the bubbles idea, very creative.
Now, why is he afraid to take his diaper off in the bath? We have to wear a swim diaper, or he truly won't get in he is so distressed.
post #6 of 12
That had happened with my DD when she was younger. I found out about these bath beads that change the water color and I bought those (they sell them everywhere now) and she loved the water turning color that she forgot to be scared. Just a suggestion. They are made of baking soda and are non-toxic and not harmful in any way. She even ate a few by accident and nothing happened.
post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the feedback and suggestions ladies.
post #8 of 12
Hmm, what about showers? I've been taking my little guy (20 mos) into the shower with me since he could sit up independantly.

I find it to be easier and more convient that way, not to mention water saving!
post #9 of 12
My ds became hysterical w/ bath time also at about 18 mo's... he isn't as terrified now but strongly dislikes them...
he will get in the shower w/ us though. We never pushed the issue. I just gave him good wipe downs/sponge baths when he became afraid and he eventually joined in showering on his own.
post #10 of 12
Too funny!! I posted this EXACT post a couple months ago. All of a sudden my son for NO apparent reason became hysterical in the bath tub. A couple months later, he just "snapped" back in to getting in the tub for no apparnt reason!! Just hang in there, it will pass!! Go swimming!!
post #11 of 12
We just cleared that hurdle here, too. We resorted to screaming sponge baths for a few weeks until it suddenly passed. We have the bubblebath and wand from california baby. He really likes those, and I also bathe him with his big sister, which is a big distraction. It wasn't until I read the post about swim diapers that I remembered my dd (she is 6 now) had a fear of bath time for awhile and would only get in while wearing socks That lasted quite a while as I remember...........I just had to tell you about it because remembering made me smile (I don't think I smiled at the time, though...

post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks again ladies. I appreciate you all taking the time to share your experiences.

We're making some progress. He is no longer screaming, but insists on standing up in the tub. As long as he's not crying, I say we're headed in the right direction. Hopefully he will be back to his water loving self soon. It would be a shame for him to hate the water with summer coming.

The only thing that concerns me is that I think his diapered area needs a good twenty minute soak at least every other night. He's getting a little rash even though I am washing his diapered area well. It doesn't seem to bother him and it's not a bad rash, so I guess that's as good as it gets for now.
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