A toddler bath is wonderful! As much as we adults just love to soak in warm water, so do our little ones! Aside from the (often colossal) task of cleaning their little bodies at the end of an active day, toddlers use their bath time much in the same way we do: To ease away muscular tension and stress. Of course toddlers have stress to release; they just learned to walk, to run, to throw a ball! They are growing and learning and tumbling around all day long, and a warm bath can work miracles in calming and soothing their bodies and minds.
Prior to getting to our list of fun toddler bath activities, here are a few tips on how to keep your bath time routine a safe and happy one:
Always Supervise Bath Time
It is important to be present and attentive during the entire bath. Toddlers are often active and standing in the tub, and they are still top-heavy (their heads are not yet in proportion to the rest of their body and they can tip forward easily).
Many bathroom surfaces are slippery and hard, and a bump on the head followed by a fall into water can lead to drowning. It is never worth the risk of leaving a child unattended in the bath for even a instant. Consider your situation and environment, and you may find it worth investing in some non-slip treads for the bottom of the bath, and a cushioned spout cover.
Bath for Two?
If you have more than one child and you are up for the challenge, you can consider bathing them both at the same time. Keep in mind, however, that some siblings are not a good mix in the tub; getting each other all riled up and encouraging each other in dangerous behaviour (like climbing in and out of the tub!). If your little duo does bathe well together, don't assume that they can watch each other and keep each other safe. Children don't think like adults, and they are not ready to assume such a responsibility until at least well into middle school age (thirteen or so), and they are no longer bathing together at that age anyway. : )
Out of Routine Baths
To Soap or Not To Soap
Some people like to get the cleaning out of the way first and then just relax and play; others like to let the play happen first and then use soap at the end of the toddler bath. Either way is fine, but try to be consistent, so that your little one can predict what is going to happen next. If you are in the habit of trying to clean them while they are playing that is fine too, but many toddlers do not like to be surprised with water on their heads or in their eyes, so talk about what you are about to do first. If your child develops a fear of a certain part of the bath routine, try to respect their limits as much as you can. It is okay if no soap touches them for a few days, or if their hair goes unwashed for a time. Many soaps and shampoos have a drying effect on the skin, so you may want to consider using a little moisturizing lotion on your little one after the bath. Many toddlers love this and you can even turn it into a little relaxing massage session!
It is worth the time to prepare everything you will need for the bath before actually getting your toddler ready. Have a towel, washcloth, soap/shampoo, diapers, pyjamas, toys, and anything else you like to have at the ready near the tub. Once you have gathered all of your toddler bath items, start filling the tub. This is a good time to undress your toddler, and even let him have a little bare time. Older toddlers might be showing interest in the potty or toilet; this would be a great time to encourage them to sit and try it out (no pressure though). Always test the water temperature one last time before placing your toddler into the tub. And remember,
a SUPERVISED toddler bath is a SAFE toddler bath!
Now for the fun! Here are some great ideas to keep bath time interesting: