The bath-time drama

There used to be the time when I dreaded the bath-time drama, or rather the hair washing bit. Nothing would help. The methods from baby swimming classes, that I had used since she was 3 month, would suddenly freak out my little Master of Stubbornness. No toy, no amount of foam, bubbles, or coloured water would calm her down. No-more-tears my ass.

But we made it through!

To end the hair washing battle you don’t have to buy any special hat, or any special whale jug (though super cute), or install a special shower, or invent a special shampoo. You don’t have to hire a specialist or apply to for help of the Supernanny.

bath time drama

photo: L. Biernacki ©

I am quite an anti-gadget person, focused on de-cluttering my house, rather than adding new stuff. After initial baby-stuff flood, I started choosing carefully, and choosing only what would work for us for sure, and what we really need.

This is why all the bath hats, no matter the colour were out of the question: there was no way of knowing if it would solve anything. I also wanted a solution that would help my Drama Queen cope (yep, a big word, for a big problem), and not just postpone the problem – how and when do we drop the hat?

The first thing we did that helped A LOT, was giving her a small towel that she could use to cover her eyes. So, just before pouring the water on her head, I would give her a towel. She still has a habit of reaching for my robe when there’s too much water in her eyes/on her face, or when her hands are “too wet” (whatever that means in the bath). That also was a temporary fix, that I wasn’t crazy about but at least it was costless.

And than I thought about how we teach her to eat with a spoon, and a fork, to drink from a regular cup, to walk, and wear shoes. Same with brushing teeth, combing her I thought about how she’s learning to talk listening to us, and imitating us, and I thought: why should it be different with the bath?

So, unless you have the adult size of that cute bath/shower hat, don’t complicate your life, and don’t clutter your house.

We would have baths together very often but I wasn’t sure how much attention she pays to what I do when I wash myself. So, I started talking about what I’m doing – especially about how I TILT MY HEAD BACKWARDS when I wash my hair. Each time I took a bath without her in it but beside the bathtub, I would show her how fun it is to lie down in the tub on my back.

So now, instead of simply giving her a towel I would ask her to tilt her head backwards. Initially, she needed my help to get the concept, stop being afraid, and eventually she mastered the trick. It took us just 3 weeks.

I bang my head against the wall when I think about how much fun bath-time (or at least hysteria-free bath-time) we had lost. Why haven’t I thought about that sooner?

Is your child hysterical in the bath?
How old is he/she?
How do you deal with it?
Am I wrong about the gadgets?



One thought on “The bath-time drama

  1. i went the same way (making sure she sees me washing my hair everytime I would do it, and showing her how i tilt my head, and how nothing happens even if you get your face iny-tiny wet), it took us much more than 3 wks, but it worked at the end. For us, it was getting better with little step-by-step pace. First, she got the concept of tilting the head (backwards or to the front), then she was lying on her back, but still flushing the hair with shower was a drama. Then, we figured out it is not only about her eyes, but also her ears. She hated the moment water was getting into them (and I don’t mean lots of water. I mean 1 drop). So we made a deal, that i would pay a loooot of attention to her eyes, and she would help me with closing her ears with her fingers. She would still cry and shout during the process, but once the thing was done – she would admit that nothing really happened, and there was no reason to shout at all. This was i guess the breaking moment for us, and from then on – it was getting slowly slowly better. She would cry less and less, every-time agreeing more and more that actually, it is pleasant thing. Now, she starts would even ask me, if we could wash her hair a bit more often.
    On the gadget thing – I didn’t use the hat, as I saw it is more the habit of crying than anything else. But I have many friends, who would use the hat. They quit them at the age of ~4, and it was totally drama-free change. Maybe that is the age, when rational explanations start to work a bit better?

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