Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Works-For-Me Wednesday: Toddler Bathtime

My little fellow (19 months) loves his bath. He has a lot of fun, but he splashes too hard. I have been working with him on not making big splashes. He has several toys to play with in the tub, but he would rather slap the surface of the water and send splashes everywhere. (I keep the water depth very low, but it seems that the splashes go a really long way when he is excited. This gets to be a problem, and the older kids have a fit when he splashes the roll of toilet paper!)

Here are the couple of things that have worked to help him. First, when we get in the tub, we touch the water very gently and say, “Soft, soft.” He gets that. He will very gently slosh the water. Each time he lifts his arms to splash, I say, “Soft, soft.” Still, the temptation is too great. He will sooner or later try and splash really hard.

One other thing is helping us. When I first put him in the tub, I wash him quickly, including his hair. Then the rest of the tub time is “his” time. I show him his toys and remind him that we touch the water “Soft, soft.” He plays around for a while, then that urge to splash gets too strong. I try to catch him before he splashes and cue him not to splash, but when he does, he immediately gets pulled out of the tub. He does not appreciate that at all. I think he is getting it, though. He is getting longer bathtimes lately because he is able to hold off on the splashing for longer.


  1. What a great idea. I was working with my 15 month old otday on touching my face "Easy, easy" since he has a thing for slapping right now.

  2. Great tip. I will have to keep that in mind if my 5 month old transitions back to a tub. He loves showers. Odd I know, but that has been the case for both of my kids so far.

  3. Oh mine could give him a run for his money- he loves to splash. We've been washing him quickly at the beginning and then letting him play as well. We're blessed with a shower door though so if the splashing begins we just close the door and let him go to town.

  4. That's a really good idea. My daughter, who just turned three, LOVES to make huge splashes and get everything wet. My 5 year old son, who used to like splashing too, now doesn't like to be splashed.

    Since I have a 6 month old, I have the chance to retrain a toddler to not splash. I will certainly try your method on him.

    My WFMW is up, too. Please stop by.

  5. My kids average about three bath's a day!!

    Good idea on not reinforcing splashing. I think it is a thrill to every kid to splash, hard on the mama's though!

  6. Ah, toddler bathtime. You'd think I'd have it down by now with number 4 being a toddler. I always told my older kids when they would splash, "Soft, little splashes are okay. But if the water leaves the tub, so do you." And then Grandmas came to visit. And Grandmas (that's right, both my hubby's mom and my own) let the kids splash. They would just close the curtain and let them go to town. There rule was only if one kid was in the tub though.

    But I still end up with a drenched bathroom. So, I started telling my kids that they could splash all they want to in the pool. Which reminds me, we had a problem with kids blowing bubbles in their glass of milk. I told them, they could do that in the tub.