15 Fun Bath Ideas for Reluctant Kids

Pebble has hated baths since birth. Actually, that’s a lie. When she was one day old she had a calm bath. I don’t count that one though, I think she was still recovering from being dragged into the outside world! We have had to get creative to lure Pebble into the bath and keep the tears away. Here are some of our favourite bath fun ideas:

15 Fun Bath Ideas for Reluctant Kids

  1. Songs – Pebble likes to stand for as long as possible in the bath, which kind of defeats the purpose of getting in. One needs to get wet in order to be washed! A favourite trick of mine is to sing: “Ring a ring a Rosie, a pocket full of posies, a tissue, a tissue, we all fall DOWN”. I feel SO smug when she sits. We also sing “It’s Raining It’s Pouring” and “The Lady with the Alligator Purse“.
  2. Games – try “can you pretend to be a …. fish, mermaid, whale, crab, boat, dolphin”… basically anything that you find in the water!
  3. Blowing bubbles “show me how you can blow bubbles in the water! Wow, that was a big one! I bet you can’t do one even bigger…”. You get the idea.
  4. Flannels and face washers – Pebble (like most children) really doesn’t like water in her eyes, so we give her a flannel for the hair washing part of the routine. She holds it over her eyes to stop the water going in. I will admit that she’s usually still crying while doing this, but at least she is still and tolerating it. Flannels are also great for pretending to wash baby dolls, which encourages children to wash themselves too.
  5. Goggles – Pebble only tried this a couple of times before deciding it wasn’t for her, but it can be a great way for children to get used to the water without the worry of getting it in their eyes.
  6. Special buckets – we tried a jug with a soft, curved side, which moulds to the shape of the child’s head as you pour. Great idea in theory, but in practice it only works if the child sits still long enough! You can buy these jugs at places like Target. I hope it works better for other people than it did for us!
  7. Cups – we brought some plastic kitchen cups into the bath tub for pouring play, as well as some stacking bath cups with holes (you know the ones?)
  8. Toy watering cans – these are perfect for Pebble to pour a little bit of water at a time of herself, without too much drama. Also great for pretend play in the bath.
  9. Shower hose attachment – this is a short length of hose that attached easily to the bath tap at one end, and sprays water from a shower head at the other. The next step up from the watering can! We found this really useful for rinsing Pebble quickly, especially her hair, which is quite thick.
  10. Plastic people and animal toys – we’ve had Cinderella, Dora, Iggle Piggle and Upsy Daisy, plus the whole population of Little People in the bath. The best thing about these kinds of toys in the bath is that Pebble often gets distracted by them enough to get right into the water.
  11. Bath Textas – we only tried these recently. They create a runny paint texture on the side of the bath or one tiles, that easily wipes off. Also fun to use on the shower screen.
  12. DIY Bath Paint – mix up a little corn flour with some liquid soap, a couple of drops of water and some food colouring.
  13. Shaving Foam Paint – squirt some shaving foam into a container and mix up with a few drops of food colouring. You could also try some yummy smells with essence – peppermint, lavender, strawberry…
  14. Coloured water – adding a few drops of food colouring to the water makes for a fun bath experience. Don’t worry, you won’t dye your kids blue.
  15. Water squirters – you can get all kinds of little squirters for the bath these days, often in the shape of animals.

For more fun bath ideas try this:

{None of the products mentioned in this post are sponsored, they are just things that we have tried}

Do you have a reluctant bather? I’d love to hear about your tricks and tips for getting through the bath time routine without tears.

29 Replies to “15 Fun Bath Ideas for Reluctant Kids”

  1. How does she feel about showers. Goblin quite likes baths but on days when he is having an issue with them he will happily have a shower as long as he gets to hold the shower head. We bought an extra long 2m length of shower attachment so he can’t pull it off the wall. When I say he is happy to have a bath, he does insist I join him 9 times it off 10.
    Have you seen the density baths at growing a jeweled rose? (I won’t link up the html cos my comment will be sucked into spam ville)

    1. We have just got into showers recently – my force! When we went on holiday there was no bath in our hotel room. Showers were the only way to get clean. It took a lot of pursuading, and role modeling from her big cousin and aunty, but she soon got relaxed and happy with the shower. Well, relaxed enough to get in the cubicle and occassionally touch the water :) I haven’t seen the density baths, I’ll go check that out now.

  2. Yes I do! Well at times.

    My now 2 year old will sometimes happily get into the bath, and other times not.

    For a very long time he wouldn’t sit at all (like you described). It took literally months before he would sit in the bath. I even wrote a blog post about the Boy that won’t sit! heheh

    He is happier to get in if one of his brothers get’s in with him though.

    Great tips, I am going to try the pain one, they would all love that!

    (I’m one of your FYBF neighbours!!)

  3. Great ideas! I lucky that my boys love bath time. I’m guessing I’d have to drag them out if I make it too fun! That said, I occasionally give them coloured water shaving cream. It amazes me how long they’ll play with a couple of plastic cups in the bath though!
    Krystle recently posted..12 Days of ChristmasMy Profile

    1. We’re still trying to figure out googles. She’l put them on for a minute, but then complain that they’re too tight. So we loosen them, but then water gets in… and round and round we go :)

  4. Bathtime is relatively easy at the moment. Summer is in a bath seat and Izzy sits in with her. We did go through a time when Izy was hell scared of the noise of the water going down the plug hole, now she wont get out until its finished. We have cups, foam fish that stick to the tiles, bath books and she is getting good with washing with the flannel now.
    Alicia recently posted..Meet Buzz – Open SlatherMy Profile

    1. I’m glad that you have an easy bath time, I hope it stays that way. Pebble doesn’t mind watching the bath water go down when she’s out of the bath, but definitely won’t be IN the bath for that LOL

  5. These are great ideas! My son is a reluctant bather as well. He’s fine once he’s in there, it’s just getting him there in the first place which is the tricky part. I really like your Ring a Rosie trick, er, I mean game. ha! Going to try that one for sure. My only consolation is that because of R’s eczema we are actually under doctor’s orders to not bath him everyday. There’s always a silver lining!
    Ness @ One Perfect Day recently posted..40 Thanksgiving crafts and activities for kidsMy Profile

    1. We definitely don’t bath every day either. Partly because it’s always been so painful LOL and also because Pebble has sensitive skin. We bath on child care days and every other day (or so…. !). Wash hair once or twice a week. We also use QV bath oil in the bath and sorbelene cream after every wash. I think sorbelene isn’t very good for the environment (?) but that’s what our doctor recommended :( What do you use on R’s skin?

  6. Loved reading through your ideas. One of the things I do with my grandkids, is to freeze water with a little food coloring added, and then throw the colored ice cubes into the bath water. Always fun as they chase the ice around the bath.

  7. Bath Time is always fun in our house although sometimes the floor seems to take the brunt with more bubbles and water than there is left in the bath, and I think I might need to invest in scuba gear as the kids get bigger, but a great way to learn and have fun.

  8. I’ve tried 1 through 4 and 6 and they haven’t worked. My little one seems to be afraid more than reluctant. My son won’t take baths no matter how positive we are or how fun we make it; nothing works!

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