3 yr olds do not stink like grown men. He doesn't smell. I'm pretty sure that by the time he is 4 or 5, he will be ok with having a bath again. He'll probably shower twice a day when he's 15. Right now he just doesn't have any motivation.
I'm going to slowly get him used to baths again, and leave off hair washing for a while. That's the worst for him.
Thanks for all the understanding and been-there stories!
My DS has sensory issues, much of them with water. He has is terrified of his face getting wet so washing his face is difficult. Washing his hair is next to impossible.
Here are some creative ideas that have helped us:
Calling it "playing in the bubbles" instead of a bath
secretly washing them in the kiddie pool during the summer (love this one!)
Offerning a shower or "wipe down" and other options
letting them play with the hose outside
"swimming" with daddy in the big pool
When DS is *very* resistant, I'm willing to let it go a day or two if he isn't filthy. However, if he is truly filthy, then I coax him in, make it fast, and get him out. Being vaguely clean is not negotiable, just like being in a car seat while in the car is non-negotiable.
I have to agree with MPJJ on a many of the points she states. Also, how do YOU feel when you are dirty for long periods of time? Gross! I don't want my children growing up feeling comfortable with being dirty. Also, at this age, they are not capable of cleaning themselves thoroughly after toileting so this too is a health and hygiene issue.
Last, but not least, consistently dirty children become cause for concern to others and I do not want anyone calling CPS on me for neglect because my kids are dirty and don't want to bathe.
I feel this is an issue where some common sense needs to prevail. It can be handled gently and with respect, but at some point it has to happen, and on a regular basis.