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#1 of 35 Old 12-03-2010, 06:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I did a forum search but the threads are all pretty old.  I'm also looking for suggestions for what to do when my toddler has real fears that I can't just completely work around.  I don't want to FORCE him into it.

 

My 2 yo has started being afraid of bathtime.  It is because he hates having water poured over his head (and thus into his eyes).  Tonight it was a complete freak out, wouldn't agree to get in even if we didn't wash hair.  As far as I can tell, he understood, just wouldn't do it.

 

Tell me this will pass.  Tell me it's OK if he gets a little funky.


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#2 of 35 Old 12-03-2010, 08:42 PM
 
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I'm sorry that I don't have advice but wanted to tell you that this has just started happening with my 2 year old as well!  I know the fact that there's someone else with a wee one the same age going through this at least makes me feel like perhaps it's a normal phase. smile.gif  Wishing you much luck!

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#3 of 35 Old 12-04-2010, 05:36 AM
 
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My kids have all gone some phase like this at some point, it is when I start counting a trip to the indoor pool as a bath. And we start going more often. lol.gif

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#4 of 35 Old 12-04-2010, 05:54 AM
 
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Oh man, it's horrible for us right now and has been for a few months now.  She's fine in the bath but hates, hates, hates having her hair washed.  It's a really big problem since she has very curly hair and it needs to be washed with conditioner regularly otherwise it gets so tangled that it takes forever with lots of screaming to get them out.  Honestly? We just force it.  If she had straight hair we probably wouldn't worry about it but since it's worse for us to wait we try and distract her as much as possible and then wash her hair (normally I just use my hand to put the water on her hair so then it's not all at once and it doesn't get in her eyes.  If I use just a bit of shampoo it helps too since I can get it out without dumping water with a cup.  It's not foolproof but sometimes I get away with it without too many complaints!


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#5 of 35 Old 12-04-2010, 02:20 PM
 
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If it's a "water in his face" issue, maybe try a visor?  Or, is he more amenable to the idea if you get in the bath, too?

 

If you don't have curly hair needs like the PP does, why not just skip the bath?  We went through a period like this right around the 2 year mark, where DS seemed to be afraid of the bath after getting water in his eyes once.  We kept his face, diaper area, and hands clean, and we just let the idea of a daily bath go.  After a week or two, he was ready to give it another try (although, it's possible that that new bubble bath was a big motivator!).  He didn't get funky when we went bath-free!  I don't think it's an uncommon phase to go through at that age.  

 

My belief was that forcing a bath would cause more issues.  Now he's back to loving baths on most days.  When he doesn't want a bath, we skip it.  


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#6 of 35 Old 12-04-2010, 03:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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mama2soren, i think these are my thoughts on it too.  it seems right now like it will cause more problems.  he doesn't have curly hair and it hasn't been a long time yet.  maybe i will just give him a bit and see?

 

glad to see this is a common issue though!  i was kind of starting to get concerned the fears were excessive.  i know it's developmentally appropriate, but didn't know how far was too far.


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#7 of 35 Old 12-04-2010, 08:42 PM
 
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My 18 mo daughter has the same fears (hair washing) so this is what I do. I wash her hair oncea week and for that I do a special type of bath. I put her in the big bathtub, get in and sit on the edge and wash her body using a mug. After she is done I hold her close to my body in a hug and tilt her head towards me. With the same mug I then pour water gently down her head behind her back. She gets afraid and clings more tightly, sometimes whimpers too....

 

I then shampoo and again pour the water gently so it falls behind her back and she is still tightly clinging to me. This way isn't so bad. She doesn't get water in her face or eyes and is a bit more tolerant to this method. OF course I get wet too.....

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#8 of 35 Old 12-04-2010, 09:21 PM
 
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our 23 month old is just coming out of a phase similar to this. She has always loved the water but just started hating having her hair washed. We let it go for a while. We'd give her a bath and try it and not stress out about her hair being funky, she's a kid after all. :)

 

What ended up working for us was this.

 

She found this little playmobil man figure and has become totally in love with it. We don't do plastic stuff really but there was no way this was going anywhere. She wants to feed this guy, bathe this guy, brush his teeth, etc. So he comes in the bath with us and we wash his hair first, since then she's fine with it. She's hit a stage of make believe play and it's not just that one guy anymore but all of her toys. When she's freaking out about something we find one of her toys and change it's diaper, get it dressed, or whatever so she sees it and gets into it and then she's cool with it and wants to help.

 

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#9 of 35 Old 12-07-2010, 10:49 AM
 
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food coloring in the bath water!  dd likes colored baths to this day. i let her choose the color(s).

 

dd's stint lasted off and on for months.  like the rest of you, i didn't force the issue.  instead, i'd fill the sink with sudsy water and bathe her as i imagined the pioneers may have :)

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#10 of 35 Old 12-07-2010, 11:44 AM
 
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I have no help or suggestions just sympathy. My DS1 (now nearly 4 - march 07), started hating baths around 2 yrs too. And nearly 2 yrs later, he still hates them. Still screams bloody murder anytime you give him a bath. Its horrible. He likes to sit and splash and play in the water, hell he loves to run around in the rain outside, but getting a bath or a shower? Torture. Pure and simple torture. Good luck.

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#11 of 35 Old 12-07-2010, 05:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, no luck so far.  He will not agree to anything yet - no new bath toys, not taking a bath with me, etc.  It's just been a week, I'm willing to give it a few more days.  No smell yet...


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#12 of 35 Old 12-07-2010, 07:22 PM
 
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My ds doesn't always go for a bath, so when theres food in his hair (his hair is SUPER fine, and very thin still, so this may not work if your ds has a full head of hair) I just use a washcloth and get the washcloth decently wet and do some scrubbing.  He doesn't like it, but he doesn't fight it like the bath.

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#13 of 35 Old 12-07-2010, 08:03 PM
 
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Hugs, mama.  His hair will be okay.  honestly, hair does all right not being washed, it kind of works iteself out (oil levels, etc.). 

 

 

But I wanted to say that with anxiety and children, sometimes avoiding what they fear *confirms* in their mind that there is something worthy of being fearful of...

 

So I am not advocating forcing him to  wash his hair, I am saying that he should have a bath of some kind, even if he isn't totally into it.  Maybe a shower, or get the house nice and warm and prefill the bath so it is warm (I don't know where you are but it is cold here!).... and have it be something that occurs with some regularity (once a week on Sundays or something like that). 

 

Otherwise you are kind of reinforcing that there is something scary 'bout the bath.


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#14 of 35 Old 12-08-2010, 05:33 PM
 
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DS1 went through a similar phase between 18mos and 2yo. I actually just "bathed" him with him sitting on a towel in the living room. I used a bucket of water and a washcloth. I don't remember if I used soap...if I did, I probably used a little bit, then got a fresh bucket of water to rinse. I don't think it took too long before he was ok in the tub again. He's now 6yo, and loves bath nights. lol I think it's a good idea to take a break from baths for a bit, then gently try again with no pressure. Maybe get some new bath toys, bath paints, stuff like that.

For hair, a wet washcloth rubbed over the scalp is enough generally. I went a LONG time without giving ds1 a proper hair washing. He's a sensitive type kid, and the water in his eyes was a really big deal to him. Even at 5yo, he'd almost cry if water got in his eyes. He's perfectly fine now at 6.

eta- about reinforcing the fear- I think it's possible to do that, depending in how you deal with the situation. I think at that age that if you start nonchalantly giving sponge baths instead of tub baths (and don't mention it as a sub for a tub bath), that he'll never notice the absense of tub baths.

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#15 of 35 Old 12-08-2010, 07:30 PM
 
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DS hadn't taken a full bath in a couple MONTHS so I was desperate for a solution. I found this Crayola set in the gift section at Walmart (ugh) that contained bath crayons, a vinyl 'coloring page', and a squeegy to clean the coloring page. I had wanted to get him bath crayons but the blue squeegy sealed the deal, I knew he'd LOVE it. The vinyl mat smells horrendous just to warn you though!! (Though not much worse than a kid that won't bathe!) Anyway, I brought it home & showed DS & told him this was a bath toy (didn't let him take it out of the box or look closely at it, I wanted him to understand this was only to be used in the bath, so I guess maybe it was a bribe but I prefer the word 'incentive' lol!) He jumped in the bath & stayed in for a long time & had a blast coloring & squeegying!

 

Everything else I tried before that didn't work (marginal success with me getting in the bath with him, but he still was really anxious) but the crayons did the trick!


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#16 of 35 Old 12-09-2010, 08:48 AM
 
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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.


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#17 of 35 Old 12-09-2010, 10:45 AM
 
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I haven't read all the posts yet, but it is probably just a phase.  My dd went through it; I can't exactly remember what age or for how many months, but I just washed her with a wash cloth in the mean time.  Eventually she wanted to get in the bath, but it took a while.  I just completely dropped it for a while, and then started asking her from time to time if she wanted a bath.  I also took baths and allowed her to play in the bathroom while I was in there and eventually she wanted to get in with me.

 

The most important thing, imo, is not to push it.  We did eventually get back to hair-washing, but it was a gradual process.  For a long time I washed her hair with a washcloth in the tub.  I'd wash the shampoo out a bit at a time with the washcloth, rinsing it between in the tub.  It took a long time, but I wasn't willing to force her.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by physmom View Post

Oh man, it's horrible for us right now and has been for a few months now.  She's fine in the bath but hates, hates, hates having her hair washed.  It's a really big problem since she has very curly hair and it needs to be washed with conditioner regularly otherwise it gets so tangled that it takes forever with lots of screaming to get them out.  Honestly? We just force it.  If she had straight hair we probably wouldn't worry about it but since it's worse for us to wait we try and distract her as much as possible and then wash her hair (normally I just use my hand to put the water on her hair so then it's not all at once and it doesn't get in her eyes.  If I use just a bit of shampoo it helps too since I can get it out without dumping water with a cup.  It's not foolproof but sometimes I get away with it without too many complaints!



That sounds horrible.  Maybe you should consider cutting her hair short for a while to avoid the hair-washing ordeal and the hair-brushing ordeal.

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#19 of 35 Old 12-11-2010, 02:28 PM
 
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I've thought about it (and I realize now why I had short hair for so long as a kid!) but I just can't bring myself to do it because we already get so many comments about her being a boy... :( Plus, I love the curls when I can actually get them washed.  One thing I've been trying to do now, though, is braid her hair at night (if she lets me) then it doesn't get as insane and doesn't need to be washed as much. 

Quote:
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Quote:
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Oh man, it's horrible for us right now and has been for a few months now.  She's fine in the bath but hates, hates, hates having her hair washed.  It's a really big problem since she has very curly hair and it needs to be washed with conditioner regularly otherwise it gets so tangled that it takes forever with lots of screaming to get them out.  Honestly? We just force it.  If she had straight hair we probably wouldn't worry about it but since it's worse for us to wait we try and distract her as much as possible and then wash her hair (normally I just use my hand to put the water on her hair so then it's not all at once and it doesn't get in her eyes.  If I use just a bit of shampoo it helps too since I can get it out without dumping water with a cup.  It's not foolproof but sometimes I get away with it without too many complaints!



That sounds horrible.  Maybe you should consider cutting her hair short for a while to avoid the hair-washing ordeal and the hair-brushing ordeal.



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#20 of 35 Old 12-12-2010, 01:11 PM
 
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Have you ever tried getting bath bomb, food coloring in the bath, etc?  My kids love bath bombs, and that will get them in the bath.  Baking soda makes a decent shampoo, so if you can get her to lay all the way down in the bath with a bath bomb, it should be good for awhile, as far as "cleaning" goes. 

 

I think if you make it fun, it might be more attractive? 

 

Maybe try at different times, like in the AM or afternoon?


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#21 of 35 Old 12-12-2010, 01:36 PM
 
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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!

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#22 of 35 Old 12-12-2010, 01:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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.


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#23 of 35 Old 12-12-2010, 02:08 PM
 
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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.

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#24 of 35 Old 12-16-2010, 05:01 PM
 
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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.

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#25 of 35 Old 12-16-2010, 05:19 PM
 
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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.

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#26 of 35 Old 12-16-2010, 05:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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...


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#27 of 35 Old 12-17-2010, 10:08 PM
 
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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.


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#28 of 35 Old 12-19-2010, 02:17 AM
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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!

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#29 of 35 Old 12-28-2010, 09:35 AM
 
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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!

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#30 of 35 Old 12-28-2010, 09:52 AM
 
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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.


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