Bath time seems like it’s supposed to be this beautiful, calm moment of bonding between parent and child. Popular culture and the media portrays this as a heart-achingly wonderful time at the end of the day when the family unites in intimacy and trust, created by soft and loving support in a gently splashing bath. Maybe a few playful squirts from a toy rubber ducky, a quick stress-free hair wash and out of the bath onto a clean, fluffy, white towel. Perfect.
If you do actually have real children, not fictional ones, you’ll know that this is often the furthest thing possible from the actual truth of bathing small children. The wrestling, the arguments and the tears – and that’s just you and your partner arguing over who’s on bath duty. Bath time can be absolute fraught with difficulty so, in the interests of helping fellow parents, here are some key bath activities you can try to make this time of day slightly less awful.
Bath Time Activities for Small Children
Please note – we’re deliberately leaving older children and teenagers out of this listing. Those groups will either love the shower and stay in there for hours or completely loathe it and refuse bathing altogether. There is no in between.
It sounds deceptively simple, doesn’t it? But sometimes the simplest things are the easiest. Apply a few drops of food colouring into a full bath and watch how your child’s attitude towards water changes. A coloured bath can make all the difference, at least for a few nights before you come up with the next fix.
This can be expensive or cheap, depending on where you buy your bath bombs from. Kmart generally has them quite cheap (and who doesn’t love shopping there!). Allow your little one to be in charge of dropping the bomb into the water and marvel with them at the colours, shapes and bubbles that ensue! This isn’t a permanent fix (unless you’re made of money) but it can be a great way to get past the more severe ‘I don’t want a bath’ tears and tantrums.
Ice Cube Mayhem
Freeze toys and items into ice cubes. You can do this by filling take away containers with ice (coloured water to be extra creative) and then plopping a toy in the night or the morning before. Allow your child to not only have fun watching the ice melt but allow early years STEM learning to take place in your very own bathroom! This is a great way to soothe tears and tantrums and build up a regular series of bath time activities that can make the process to bed a smoother one.
Bath Time Artistry
There are a number of products on the market that are washable pens or crayons that your little ones can use in the bathtub to make artistic creations on the walls and the sides of the tub. You can also mimic the effect by using products like shaving cream (being careful of getting in mouth or eyes, of course) or simple water colour paints. Add some paintbrushes and sponges and you’re off and away!
Here’s a cute activity that also promotes dexterity and hand-eye coordination. Give your child a small net and then allow them to ‘go fishing’ in the bathtub. You can use rubber ducks or any toy that floats. Make it a game to see how many they can get or just let them dictate their own bath time play.
Bath Time Bubbles
Everything’s more fun with bubbles! This is a great bath time activity because it’s just so easy. A little child-safe bubble bath (or a lot if you’re feeling silly) and you’re ready for a splashing good time. You can turn your child into a mini Santa Claus, too, which always goes down a treat. Ho ho ho!
The Importance of Realistic Expectations
As parents, comparison can often be the thief of joy. We often believe that others are doing things better or that we are failing somehow when compared to media versions of parenting. The truth is that bath time can be very tricky for many of us for a wide variety of reasons. Some children absolutely hate the water. Some have skin conditions that make bathing painful or make it difficult for parents to find the right soaps. Some kids don’t want to get in the bath and some don’t want to get out! Regardless of your situation, know that you are not alone. Hopefully, some of these bath time activities have given you a few good ideas as to how you can make this part of parenting a little more fun.
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