Bathtime with Older Children

We're thrilled to be sharing another guest post from Alexa, The London Baby Coach- this time on bathtime with older children. Alexa has experience in nursery settings and has worked as a private nanny and midwife. Today, she works as a sleep consultant, supporting parents and working with children aged from 6 weeks right through to adolescence. 

In her last post, Alexa gave us her top tips on helping younger babies relax at bathtime. This time, we asked her to share her thoughts on making bathtime more relaxing and calm with older babies- including during hair wash night!

Last time we talked about helping babies who weren't keen on bathtime... how do you deal with older children who just don't want to get out?

Adopting a similar stance to the resistance of getting in the bath, you can use a reward chart system, or go out and chose a special bedtime toy- something like a new book or soft toy that will always be waiting for them when they get out. This way they can become excited about the bathtime coming to an end, rather than distraught at having to get out!

It's also a great idea to give older children countdowns in the bath. Giving them time frames and reminders can help them to understand that bathtime has to come to an end, and it won't come as an unpleasant shock when you tell them it's time to get out

You could introduce songs to this idea too, perhaps have a particular song that is the 'get out time' tune, so when that begins playing your little one knows it's time to begin putting the toys away and so on. Also get them involved in this process- they can help you put things away and take the bath plug out. They'll find this super fun and grown up. Factor in a little extra time for them to be able to do this though as they tend to be a tad slower than us at it!

What are your tips for helping ease the stress of hair wash night?

Ah yes hair wash night! This is always a tough one when your little ones don't enjoy it. The two tactics I always use and tend to be successful with are independence and songs

I truly find that getting your little one involved in these processes of applying shampoo really takes away the stress of those shampoo moments. You can do this in either of two ways:

  • you pour it the shampoo onto their hair then get them to rub it in. Don't worry if it's not as thorough, you can always say at the end, 'okay-now my go'.
  • put it into their hands and onto their head, then follow the same process as above. 

The hair wash song! I've used this with several toddlers and even enjoy it myself. Using this is the way we go around the mulberry bush tune, it goes..

"This is the way we wash our hair, wash our hair, wash our hair, 

This is way we wash our hair when we have our bathtime"

If it's the washing the bubbles out your little one doesn't enjoy, get them to have a go at tipping the water over their heads or use a shampoo rinser that has a protective bit to stop it going in their eyes, places such as John Lewis, Jojo Maman Bebe and Nuby have them. 

Any extra tips to share with us?

Teeth brushing! If you find this becoming a battle at the end of the day too, carry this out during bathtime and use the same song but replace hair wash with 'brush our teeth'.