Sudden extreme fear of the tub? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 18 Old 06-21-2013, 11:16 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My almost two year old suddenly became fearful of the tub. This came out of nowhere and for seemingly no reason. Has anyone been there? What can I do?

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#2 of 18 Old 06-21-2013, 11:32 AM
 
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Same with my almost 1-year-old.  She used to love baths, and now she cries and won't sit down - only stands up clinging to the side.  The only thing I can tie is to is that one time she slipped and her head went under very briefly.  But I swear that the fear of the bath didn't show up for a few days after that shrug.gif  So I don't know.  Did anything unusual happen in the bath that your dd/ds didn't like?  Or has he/she been given a bath by anyone else and maybe something happened then?


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#3 of 18 Old 06-21-2013, 01:11 PM
 
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It sounds as though it could be the start of he 'fear and phobia' phase. It is a normal part of development as baby sorts out the world. It lasts through about three years of age, each issue may last weeks to months. Sometimes children fear that they will go down the drain of the bath tub and explaining that only water....not baby or toys...goes down drains. It is hard for them though to comprehend. Time seems to resolve a lot of it. Some children fear hand dryers, flushing toilets, vacuums, insects, dogs, even people. It is a lot to sort out the big world especially with growing knowledge of what may or may be a danger.
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#4 of 18 Old 06-21-2013, 01:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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inkandpaper, nothing has ever happened in the tub that I know of. She LOVES the pool, puddles and anything else to do with water.

 

Anyone have any ideas of how to bathe her in the meantime? I was thinking of getting in with her, but that seems to be a bad habit in the making...

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#5 of 18 Old 06-21-2013, 02:29 PM
 
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I'm going through this right now with my DS. I have been giving him sponge baths, though he still protests.

In our case, the bath fear seemed to happen when we moved. I've asked him why he doesn't like baths anymore and he says, "because it's yellow (our tub)."  There is nothing we can do about the yellow tub, as we rent, but I imagine this will go away with time.

I try to only actually bathe him (or have him shower with DH, which is also scary in the yellow tub) when he has been playing in the dirt outside or has filthy hair.

 

I'm sorry I don't have any really sound advice, hopefully someone else will jump on board here.


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#6 of 18 Old 06-21-2013, 05:55 PM
 
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My DD had a run of a few months in her second year (probably 15-18 months) where she wouldn't sit in the tub for anything. She didn't seem scared per se but would NOT sit. Period. We washed her down standing up for a while, then I tried bubble bath. Well she thought the bubbles were just the coolest thing ever, sat with my help and never looked back. She's been a devoted bubble junkie ever since. It may be worth trying.
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#7 of 18 Old 06-22-2013, 01:08 PM
 
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Hi there,

if it were me, I'd get in the bath with your LO. I understand that you are afraid that it will become a permanent habit, but hopefully as this phase passes, you could then gradually wean yourself out of joining her.

Also, just remembered that a friend of mine had a very similiar experience with her child and she added some sort of coloured bath water dye to the bath water which made it more fun/distracting for her child and the fear subsided. It's random... I know.

Best of luck!
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#8 of 18 Old 06-22-2013, 01:10 PM
 
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Just read the pp and bubbles sound great too.
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#9 of 18 Old 06-22-2013, 04:57 PM
 
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All species go through a fear period and there doesn't need to be a trigger for the fear to occur.  I would start with her in the bathroom, just play with her a few seconds, or call her in to see something fun, and then walk out. increase the duration your in there and slowly move things towards the tub.  It's about making it a positive experience.  You can google some diy water color paints and have her play in the tub (with no water) painting the walls and have her help rinse the paint away after. You could plug it ahead of time if possible so when you are rinsing the paint th water collects in the tub before she realizes anything is happening.

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#10 of 18 Old 06-24-2013, 08:18 PM
 
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DD went through this at about 18 m.o. It coincided with a trip and it might have been a weird tub or something in one of the hotels we stayed at. Still not sure what set her off (if anything). I could get her to bathe sort-of but not wash her hair. I ended up bringing her in the shower with me, which seemed different enough. Plus to wash her hair I could pick her up, make a big game of putting her head under water complete with lots of giggling, let her wash my hair, etc. And one day just like that it passed.

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#11 of 18 Old 06-29-2013, 04:57 PM
 
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Just wanted to say we've been through this and it ended on its own. My son was dreadfully afraid of bathing for about nine months. It started when he was 18 months old, while we were on vacation and he witnessed me getting into a cold shower accidentally and screaming. He refused to bathe after that, and would scream bloody murder when I did bathe him. It was terrible, and I was at my wit's end.

But, one day he said "I'm not going to cry in the bath today"....and lo and behold he didn't! And that was that, it was over! It lasted nine months total. It was easier in winter ~I could just get a wet washcloth and clean his diaper area, but in summer he got really sweaty and dirty and not bathing wasn't an option. It was really hard on everyone.

 

Anyway one thing that did sort of help was letting him get in the tub with clothes on, and then gradually remove them piece by piece. Kind of silly, but it did help to actually get him in the tub, as he was also resistant to getting naked during this time. Or, we'd get him in the empty tub and then fill it with water once he was in there. Other than that, maybe our story can reassure you that this phase should pass on its own, and when your chid is dirty a very wet washcloth can help a lot thumb.gif  If she still likes going to the pool then just rinse her off there; it's better than nothing. And I wouldn't worry about building a bad habit of bathing with her. If it gets you through this then I say go for it!

 

Good luck!


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#12 of 18 Old 06-30-2013, 02:57 PM
 
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My son went through this, too! I can't remember exactly when, probably around 18 months, but it lasted a couple of months. I just didn't worry too much about bathing him, luckily it was over the winter so he wasn't outside playing in mud puddles or anything like that. Someone has already suggested sponge baths, and I find that works great if they'll sit still for it. 

 

It ended when I started talking up the bath more, rather than just plunking him in. We'd be getting dinner ready and I'd mention a few times that we were going to have a bath afterwards. Then during dinner, same thing. I filled the tub and started playing in the water with a cup until he showed some interest, and voluntarily got in to play, too! We haven't had a problem since. It sounds like a normal stage of development, though. Hope you find something that works for you!

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#13 of 18 Old 07-04-2013, 05:00 PM
 
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One of the things we did when we were dealing with this is fill the bathroom sink with warm water and sit DD on the edge (our sink has a bit of a counter around it). She would have her feet in the water and I would wash her face then dry, followed by each hand and each foot. I'd take her clothes off beforehand so they wouldn't get soaked and this also gave me the opportunity to clean anything else that needed it except for the diaper area. If her hair had gotten messy I could sort of wipe it down with very wet hands followed by drying with a towel and combing it. Then after I'd change her diaper and put her in PJs so her bum could get a good wipedown too.

 

Not the same as a bath of course, but better than nothing (and it helped DD learn names of body parts since we talked about what we were washing while doing it). It was especially helpful in the summertime when she would wear sandals and get all dusty. We still do it on non-bath days except it's much less thorough since baths are not an issue anymore.

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#14 of 18 Old 07-04-2013, 11:16 PM
 
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My daughter did this for a few months before she turned 2, and we just didn't pressure her or make a big deal out of it. She wouldn't even sit in the bath tub with either of us to start, so we just did sponge/sink baths every other day. We also left the door open when we showered, and when she expressed interest we'd let her sit in the tub while we showered. Eventually I'd put the plug in the bottom to let it fill with a couple of inches of water while we showered, then transitioned to taking regular baths with her, then letting her bathe alone again. 

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#15 of 18 Old 07-05-2013, 11:03 AM
 
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We've been through this too. DS1 was probably around 18 mos, and it lasted a few months. I was completely baffled because nothing had happened in the bath that I thought could lead to this fear, and I or DH were always in with him. Very suddenly, he would only stand up in the tub, and even that was reluctant. Also he wouldn't allow any toys in the water. He'd only play with them along the edge of the tub and absolutely freaked if anything was in the water, including washcloths and bubbles. Gradually he started to sit down again and let toys in. DS2 also went through this though it was far more mild and short lived - I probably wouldn't have even noticed except that I recognized that it was the same as what DS1 had gone through - perhaps because he was motivated to get over it in order to keep playing with DS1. Baffling but common apparently!


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#16 of 18 Old 07-21-2013, 06:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I just wanted to give an update in case anyone is having this problem. I was the original poster of this problem. It lasted about two months, but has gone away on its own completely. I just followed her lead and got into the tub with her when she needed me to. Bath time is fun again. And without Mommy in the tub. Thank goodness.
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#17 of 18 Old 07-22-2013, 05:18 AM
 
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Great update!
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#18 of 18 Old 07-22-2013, 01:37 PM
 
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That's great! :-D
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