Hi Dear Readers,
This post comes from a conversation I had with my Ongoing Membership group, available for folks who have taken my Tele-Class, Joyful Days with Toddler & Preschoolers (next session starts tomorrow!). In a recent call, a mom asked for some advice on how to bring Bath Time to a close in a more enjoyable way. Her 2.5 yo son loves being in the bathtub, but the bath ending often results in a too-tired meltdown, running away and refusing to put on pajamas, etc. Here were my thoughts for her:
My main thought is to make the ending of Bath Time into an experience that’s enjoyable all on its own, and to let it wind down to the point where it’s clearly over (not just because you’re saying that it’s over). Make it enjoyable by starting out with a little imagination: perhaps he has a little fish toy (or a shark, duckie, whatever). You can start swimming that little fishie around, telling a story:
“Once upon a time, there was a little fishie who was SO HUNGRY! He was looking for food all over the ocean. ‘Ah, this looks yummy!’ (take the fish and have it eat an imaginary piece of food off the bottom of that bathtub.) ‘Ah, so does this! And this!’ (Have the fish start to find ‘food’ in funny places: the wash cloth, your child’s knee, your child’s toe.) ‘Oh, what’s THIS piece of food? This is so big, it’s going to be DELICIOUS!’ (The fishie starts to pull on the drain.) “Uh, uh, uh…this is so hard! Uh, uh, UH!!!!!’ (The drain pops out and the fishie gobbles it up.)
Then, let your child sit in the bathtub the entire time that the water is flowing out. If he tries to cover the drain with his hands or his feet, perhaps that little fishie comes back and nibbles on his toes or fingers. A nibble in the ribs might make those fingers come back! But give it some time, and let it be fun. Even when the water’s all gone, let him stay in the tub for a little while longer, so that he’s already half dry before he even starts to get out. When we resist announcing “OK, this activity you love is coming to an end,” but instead let events come to their natural ending point, kids are often ready to move on to the next thing much more evenly.
One more thought: If he’s running away when it’s time to get pajamas on, why not bring those jammies into the bathroom, so that he stands up to get out of the bath and dry off, and then steps directly into his pajamas. Rolling those activities together may help things go more smoothly and you can move on to the next part of your bedtime routine: reading a story, or getting a back-rub in bed, or whatever happens next.
Warmly, ~Faith Collins
Looking for new ideas and ways to approach things for your family? Sign up for the Tele-Class Joyful Days with Toddlers & Preschoolers, and be able to ask Faith Collins all the questions you can think of for six whole weeks! Next class is starting tomorrow, October 13th.