Karen Deerwester, Ed.S. - Parent Educator and Early Childhood
founder and CEO of Family Time, Inc., and consultant. In 17 years of
seminars, and one-on-one coaching, Karen has supported thousands of
in their efforts to build great foundations for children. Karen is
committed to helping parents become problem solvers in the large and
questions that arise "living with children."
Question: Since the day my 4 month old's umblical cord fell off and he has been ready to bathe. He screams the entire time, he hasn't had a bad experience at home during any bathing sessions, any suggestions as to what to do, and an explanation on why?
You must just dread bath time coming everyday. This is one of those
situations when the images of a happy baby enjoying and splashing through
bath time does not match your baby's reality. Not all babies enjoy bath
time. You know there weren't any specific situations that created feelings
of distrust or anxiety. So, you can only assume that it's his personality or
Here comes your first lesson in creative parenting - trying to work around a
problem with flexibility and resourcefulness. Don't give up on baths
completely but experiment with other alternatives. The best parenting
solutions come from the tried-and-true process of trial-and-error.
1. Think of this as an adventure in curiosity not in a frantic search for
"the right way". You want your son to enjoy this as much as possible and not
feel like you have any specific expectations for him. In other words, relax
(always easier said than done). It is perfectly alright that this is
difficult for him and you remain loving and calm.
2. Have you tried bathing him at different times of day? Maybe he is
over-tired at bath time.
3. Is it soothing for him to have you talking or singing through his bath
time? Try picking up Joanie Bartels' CD "Bathtime Magic" and practice those
fun bath songs. (Even if they don't work now, you'll build a great repertoire
4. Being naked and in water can be stressful and a little shocking to a baby
who likes the warmth and comfort of being clothed. You may want to try
sponge baths instead of bathing on alternate nights. And on bath nights,
play in the bath water before laying him in it - play splashy toes or let him
watch you pouring the water in a cup for a few minutes.
5. Get a bath-seat to try in your big bathtub and climb into to the tub with
your baby. He may like the company and the feel of the bath-seat around him.
6. Experiment with other "water adventures". Can you sit with him in your
lap with a light shower spray over you (not on his head, of course)? How
about going into a wading pool together and kicking his legs?
There may not be a quick answer to happy bath times. But I assure you - one
day he will just decide that getting a bath is not a bad idea at all! You'll
never look back again.
Karen Deerwester, Ed.S.
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