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#1 of 62 Old 12-18-2007, 09:18 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quite dirty. He hates baths, hates having his hands or face washed. If we aren't going anywhere very special, I don't insist on him being clean. It just isn't worth the battle and the emotional upset it would cause him. He does get his hands washed every night when he brushes his teeth (although he is extremely unhappy about it), and very occasionally when I can get him to wash dishes with me.

He hasn't had a bath for at least 3 weeks, hasn't had his hair washed for longer than that. I won't even describe his ears.

My strategy lately has been to let him have a bath in his own time. He has enjoyed baths with his sister very very much in the past, so I know that someday he will enjoy them again.

Do you force cleanliness? Please, anyone who's had a child like this, tell me it gets better!

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#2 of 62 Old 12-18-2007, 10:34 AM
 
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Well, in our house, there are some things that are just not an option. Brushing teeth, brushing hair and taking a bath every day are some of those things. We view it as partly a health issue(one of our kids has pretty bad allergies/asthma and so it is imperative that he bathes every day especially during pollen season so that he can sleep well) and also as part of the nighttime routine to wind down from the day so that everyone sleeps well. Also, with the hair-brushing, if our girls go a day without brushing their hair, then the knots that happen are worse the second or third day than the first day so staying on top of it and having a few minutes of tears is better than 30-40 minutes of trying to comb out knots and lots of tears.

Does your child just not like water in general? For instance, does he not like to swim, go through the sprinkler, play in puddles, etc? In our house and also in my former life as a nanny, I have observed many times that usually things like bath-time and meal-time struggles have more to do with a power struggle than the actual dislike of the activity. So if someone is having an issue taking a bath for an extended period of time, then we try to provide alternatives and figure out where the real issue is. For instance, maybe they don't want to take a bath because they don't want to miss out on activities happening with the rest of the family. So provide a short shower as an alternative. We have also used Tub Tints, toys and special bubbles as incentives to a reluctant bather. Or maybe they would be willing to take a shower with you or your partner. If it's warm outside and he likes the sprinkler, let him clean up out there. Also letting the child have a say in when the bath is taken. With our almost teenager, the rule is "I don't care when you take the shower as long as you have one per day." Maybe a morning bath makes more sense to him or let him have a late afternoon bath before dinner.

Hope this helps!
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#3 of 62 Old 12-18-2007, 10:45 AM
 
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I just wanted to say I think it's great that you don't force him.

My dd hates having her hair washed and I am ashamed to say that every week to two weeks I force her. She cries and I apologize, but it doesn't feel right to me to force her. My upbringing (strict uberclean household) makes me feel like it's a real need to have them clean.

One thing that helps me get my kiddos into the tub is http://www.californiababy.com/calmin...ath-13-oz.html

Good luck with your ds!
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#4 of 62 Old 12-18-2007, 11:10 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I have forced him in the past (that's why he's had his hair washed in the last month) and I think that is why he's fighting it now. He's very highly sensitive and if the water isn't exactly right he will scream and refuse to go in. That also happened in the last month, so that's probably another reason why he is refusing baths.

I am absolutely positive it's not a power struggle. I'm also sure that forcing the bath is not going to help at all. He'll be clean for a day, but it will only make the issue worse. I don't think the dirt is becoming a health concern.

His hair is curly and honestly, I don't think it looks bad. When it does get washed, it is just a little fluffier and a bit lighter in colour.

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#5 of 62 Old 12-18-2007, 11:13 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the suggestions! Toys, bubble baths, tints, water balloons have all helped make the bath more fun, but will not entice him to go in if he doesn't want to. And showers are a definite no, even with me.

I think one thing that may help is having a bath at a different time of day. I'm going to try it.

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#6 of 62 Old 12-18-2007, 11:32 AM
 
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My dd likes baths and showers. She is also cool with having her hair washed. But she is still "dirty". She has curly hair and washing it messes it up big time. It gets wetted down about once a week. I use baking soda in it maybe three times a year. I do not think curly hair needs to be washed often at all. So if your child has curly hair and you think it looks fine, I would not even worry about hair washing. We are in winter here so that means forced air heat, a cold drafty bathroom, and no extra cash to be using a lot of hot water. No one bathes here daily. I think it is a waste of water. Dd gets a bath or shower once a week and I do not even think that is necessary. She uses wetted wipes for wiping after going to the bathroom and she washes her hands after potty or before meals. I might spot-clean after a messy meal or fun in the dirt, but that is it. So, my opinion is to not sweat it. She if you can get him involved in spot-cleaning himself, maybe have some old washcloths on hand for potty time, and let it go.
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#7 of 62 Old 12-18-2007, 11:49 AM
 
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I'm highly sensitive so I understand his aversion. I still hate baths or showers. Does he like water play? I'm thinking you might be able to fill up a dish tub with warm water and some boats on the kitchen floor, strip him down and let him play. At the end, you could use a soft wash cloth with just water or Cetaphil cleanser (doesn't need to be rinsed). He might not even know he's getting clean.

Don't know about the hair though. Didn't they used to make a spray on dry shampoo? Full of wonderful chemicals I'm sure...
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#8 of 62 Old 12-18-2007, 11:50 AM
 
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We're in a severe drought here, and daily baths are not even an option for us. I agree with Yooper---I wouldn't sweat it

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#9 of 62 Old 12-18-2007, 12:45 PM
 
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Well my kids love baths and showers so I'm not in your position, but yes I insist that they're clean. I think with starting them young having a daily bath that at this point, they don't know any different. I probably wouldn't force it too much if I had a kid who hated a bath. If I were you, I'd just gently encourage any sort of water play. And not make a big deal about it.
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#10 of 62 Old 12-18-2007, 12:51 PM
 
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This reminds me of the book Mrs Piggle - I simply adored the book as a child. Mrs Piggle-Wiggle is a somewhat magical woman who adores children and helps parents when they are having issues. One little girl refuses to bathe and so Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle has them sprinkle seeds all over her and radishes grow out of her arms. It is a VERY cute book - perhaps you could share it with your son as a way to open up a dialogue as to WHY he doesn't want to bathe?
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#11 of 62 Old 12-18-2007, 12:55 PM
 
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My little guy doesn't love the bath either. Doesn't have as much sensitivity as your fellow, I'm guessing, so it's not SO much of a struggle. I bathe him 2x a week, and wash hair - not often. Maybe once a month? If there is food or paint of something in it I just spot clean him lol! In general he's not a super dirty kid, though. If you don't like the wya your son smells, or looks, I'd try to work with him on sponge bathes, or something that will help him ofeel more comforatble with the routine of washing. Ears, for example, are like teeth in a way - build up of dirt can overwhelm the ability of the ears to self clean, so you do have to get a q-tip in there once in a while! I would also offer him some very positive thoughts about the bath, or being clean in general, so that he can re-associate them and not have such a negative attitude about it. Something along the lines of - let's break out the pirates in the bath tub today, and you guys can see if you can find the burried treasure! (you can always bury a little treasure in his towel, so when he's drying off VOILA! There it is!) or Let's do bath time to music today - and bring in a boom box and play his favorite music. Or story time, or even have a special snack in the bathtub? Just to change it up for him. I hope he swaps attitudes soon, for your sake lol!

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#12 of 62 Old 12-18-2007, 01:07 PM
 
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I wonder if it's a sensory issue?

At that age I mostly just stuck the kids in a bubble bath and let them play. They weren't really all that dirty and didn't require scrubbing, but I think I should have washed their hair more often.
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#13 of 62 Old 12-18-2007, 01:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yeah, I'm pretty sure it is a sensory issue. And all of his sensory issues have been more pronounced lately--he's going through a rough stage, and everything is difficult right now. So that's another reason why I don't want to push it. Usually he is not quite so sensitive, and there were times when he loved baths and would have one everyday.

mambeca, those are great ideas. I think I will hide a treasure in his towel. He also loves massages, so he always gets one after his bath.

Mrs. Priggle looks like a cute book! But right now the idea of radishes growing out of him would terrify him more than make him laugh!

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#14 of 62 Old 12-18-2007, 02:00 PM
 
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Mrs. Priggle looks like a cute book! But right now the idea of radishes growing out of him would terrify him more than make him laugh!
Ah - then definitely not a good idea to read the book!

I just know it works for my DS who despised getting his ears washed out (he produces LOTS of wax and they get absolutely disgusting). So I tease him and tell him if he doesn't let me clean them he'll have radishes growing out of them!
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#15 of 62 Old 12-18-2007, 02:08 PM
 
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Possibly, if you let him play in the tub without actually trying to soap him up, he'll grow to enjoy baths again. With my ds, it was more that he didn't like getting his head wet (that awful feeling of water trickling around near the face and in the ears) and he didn't like me messing with him, in general. Once your ds is happy in the bath, again, maybe you can do his ears just by wiping with a washcloth that only has one corner dampened so there isn't a wet washcloth dangling on his shoulders. My ds will let me use q-tips now (didn't used to) but hates water in his ears. He has super waxy ears, too. It's what bothers me the most because it eventually gets all over his outer ears and hair sticks to it. His hair is fine not being washed for a couple months. Anyway, just splashing and soaking in the water without soap gets him very clean. I use wet wipes on him when cleaning him up after pottying (he is very adverse to the idea of self wiping, lol) so that area is fine w/o soaping, too.

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#16 of 62 Old 12-18-2007, 02:13 PM
 
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Bathing is not an option in our house. 3 days is about as long as I let dd go without being cleaned. SHe gets dandruff if we don't wash her hair more than that and she stinks. If she is insistent that a bath is not going to happen, a fun shower with mommy usually works for her. Another strategy is a bit of food coloring in the bath water to make it more fun. And, we bring out bath crayons on special occasions to entice her to get clean.

We also tell her that being clean is not an option. I would never put her in the bath kicking and screaming but there are ways to get her in there, even when she starts out reluctant.

It is not about forcing but about finding strategies that work to get your child to be clean.
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#17 of 62 Old 12-18-2007, 02:48 PM
 
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I know this isn't what you wanted to hear, exactly, but this thread is such a reassurance to me! I'd always bathed my son every day or two because I though I was "supposed" to. Then, we moved here to the desert and he developed severe excema. The first thing his doctor told us was to stop giving baths unless absolutely necessary! At first (and still not, at times) I felt horribly guilty if he doesn't get a bath every couple of days, like I was doing him some kind of disservice. I'm starting to get more used to letting him go without the bath (which he loves so we've replaced with playing in the sink) and this thread has been so super reassuring that I'm not doing something horrible to him and that bathing every day is a modern American thing and not at all necessary. Now if only I could get him on board with the teeth brushing...
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#18 of 62 Old 12-18-2007, 02:51 PM
 
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We're going through a similar stage here too. We're down to about every 2-3 weeks for a bath with dd. And I do it only when she really stinks (and she can truly stink!).

One thing that does help is to make sure she gets baths where I don't wash her hair. I'll tell her up front -- I just want your body to get clean, we don't need to wash your hair today, and then she'll get in. (And no, I don't wash her hair.)

You might also try some sensory activities to get his body 'warmed up' before the bath. There are a couple of threads around describing some really nice sensory stuff to do that calms kids down.

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#19 of 62 Old 12-18-2007, 03:52 PM
 
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My ds had a period of bath fear-after seeing his younger brother's waterbirth!
We also didn't force it, but after a few weeks he was a mess! We enticed with toys- mostly household buckets, measuring cups, etc and he would play with the tub water while kneeling next to the tub and after a few days he just hopped in and has been fine since.
I don't get too upset about dirt, we handwash way less than anyone else I know and my ds's are way healthier than most, I figure all the dirt has build immunity!
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#20 of 62 Old 12-18-2007, 03:54 PM
 
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Originally Posted by delphiniumpansy View Post
Bathing is not an option in our house. 3 days is about as long as I let dd go without being cleaned. SHe gets dandruff if we don't wash her hair more than that and she stinks. If she is insistent that a bath is not going to happen, a fun shower with mommy usually works for her. Another strategy is a bit of food coloring in the bath water to make it more fun. And, we bring out bath crayons on special occasions to entice her to get clean.

We also tell her that being clean is not an option. I would never put her in the bath kicking and screaming but there are ways to get her in there, even when she starts out reluctant.

It is not about forcing but about finding strategies that work to get your child to be clean.
This is us too.

My 5 year old is not a big fan of getting in the bath, butonce he is in, he stays in for over an hour. I tell him bath is not an option, but when he gets in and how long he stays in is an option. I don't force him in because that just wouldn't be right to me and he is way too heavy. I just wait for him to be ready to get in. It helps that he sees his sister in there having a blast and he wants to get in too. Plus, we do the food coloring, bubbles, picnic in the bath, etc. to make it more fun.
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#21 of 62 Old 12-18-2007, 04:37 PM
 
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At this time of year the kids get a bath once a week. Last night they had a soaking bath so they didn't actually get cleaned, though that was mostly becuase my brother called during bathtime.lol

I can tell if the kids have gone too long because their heads stink.

You can do a sponge bath to wash the body.

My middle dd had tight curly hair & hated having her hair washed so I only washed it every couple of weeks. She is why the soaking baths started.

3 weeks would be beyond my limit. They may not be dirt-dirty, but they are body sweat/dead skin dirty.

Will he stand in the water & let you wash him that way? Even though it does sound like a sensory issue it is something that they can learn to adapt to but they need to be exposed to it(and even forced sometimes) in order to adapt.
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#22 of 62 Old 12-18-2007, 08:10 PM
 
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I'd probably just throw some bubbles and toys in the tub and let him play, and not try to wash him at all for a while, just let him have fun.
Then once he's more comfortable you can gradually phase in some washing.
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#23 of 62 Old 12-18-2007, 08:39 PM
 
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DD has only had a few actual baths in her life :. We have taken her in the shower a few times but it is horrible. She has been TERRIFIED of water since she emerged into this world. From the moment the nurse tried to help me give DD her first bath, I knew it wasn't going to work. Now she's at an age where she can articulate why and I respect her feelings. What we do instead are "facecloth baths". She gets clean enough and I know that some day she will be ready to hop in the tub or shower, but it will do no good to force her.
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#24 of 62 Old 12-18-2007, 09:00 PM
 
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When DS was a baby we lived in a big house with a huge tub, we all bathed together. We had a strange out of state and back move and ended up renting for a year while we built a house with another big tub, and iin that time DS took a bath maybe once every two weeks.

I kid you not I put water in a big bowl and let him watch TV while dipping his feet in to it at night and I would dry them. BTW this is not a bribe we allow TV....just did it while he was watching something so that he wouldn't mind. Now they love the bath because the bathroom is bigger again, and DS said the old bathroom was cold and smelled funny (older house)

My point being maybe soemthing happened that you knwo about or not that made him afraid?

Perhaps you could get some of those crayon things or some way to make a "mess" in the tub with?

ETA: we don't actually purposely wash them either as some have mentioned. We do have a huge jetted tub and that is daddy/kid time so they splash and get wet all over, and I figure that is good enough. I've only washed DS (3.5) hair once in the last couple months
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#25 of 62 Old 12-18-2007, 09:05 PM
 
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Yes. I do. I feel that hygiene is part of health, and also a practice that makes it tolerable for all of us to live together in this house.

For baths for our kids, sometimes we skip a night, sometimes even two nights, and usually there is little or no soap involved due to dry skin, so we're not into super-hygeine or anything....but getting the layers of grime off every day or so is required.

As they get older and may begin to resist regular bathing....anyone who begins to smell like a farm animal, here are the option: bathe, or I will throw some hay down in the Rubbermaid shed in our back yard and you may live out there. :

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Do you force cleanliness?

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#26 of 62 Old 12-18-2007, 09:13 PM
 
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I personally insist on DS getting a bath at least once a week, preferably twice, and hair washed once. I try to get DD2 to bathe once or twice a week, but sometimes it's been up to 2 weeks between baths. DD1 bathes more often than that without any prompting from me.

We washed more often in the warmer weather when he'd play outside and come inside all muddy (even if he gets muddy playing outside now, it will only get his clothes dirty! )

I'm glad I never had to deal with a child who truly hated baths- I'm honestly not sure how I would handle it. But they've all gone through phases where they didn't particularly enjoy baths or showers, and I've bathed them less frequently (ie once a week instead of several times that week) when they went through that.

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#27 of 62 Old 12-18-2007, 09:28 PM
 
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My son is 4 and hates water and being undressed. It is a sensory thing and I respect it. I think a parent knows when it is a power struggle, and when it just feels so horrible to the child. I "clean" my son in parts. We do "stomping" baths with clothes on but pants rolled up, and so feet get clean. (I soap them during the stomping bath, and I do the stomping with him.) For hair, I lie a towell down in the tub and lie him down backwards, and wash his hair with water from a play bucket and soap, while I tell him a story. I do wash hands and face almost every night - he got used to that with story telling as well. For the rest of him I do washcloth and soap baths while he lies on a comfy towell. Big PITA but I do get a sense of peace as I wash him in this way and he actually relaxes, rather than having him cry in terror.
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#28 of 62 Old 12-18-2007, 09:48 PM
 
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If you ever do get him back into the bath and don't want to scrub him down- one of the things we do with the kids is use hair-and-body wash as the bubble bath. it makes great bubbles, and that way they play and get a little clean. we only do that once a week though. we have skin issues to that is the most soap we use on them.
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#29 of 62 Old 12-18-2007, 09:52 PM
 
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If you ever do get him back into the bath and don't want to scrub him down- one of the things we do with the kids is use hair-and-body wash as the bubble bath. it makes great bubbles, and that way they play and get a little clean. we only do that once a week though. we have skin issues to that is the most soap we use on them.
This is what I did. I gave them lots of toys and that kind of thing. I didn't even call it a bath. My kids think they are swimming

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#30 of 62 Old 12-18-2007, 10:05 PM
 
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Bathing isnt an option in my house. Dirty people stink. People who are allowed to remain dirty do not develop proper hygiene habits.
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