Bath-Time Battles with School-Age Children

Babies and toddlers aren’t the only ones who may have trouble with bath-time. Even school age kids can give you a hard time when you try to get them to have a bath. Though some children may not like getting wet, purchase or worry about getting soap in their eyes, decease often the biggest issue with school age kids and bath-time is the fact that it’s just feels like a waste of time to them: they’d rather be playing.

If your child is “bath-time challenged” consider the following tips:

Use Emotional Coaching
Let your child know that you hear and understand his feelings about bath-time. Whether he considers it a waste of time or he has some other reason for this aversion to baths, capsule show that you care. Say things like “I know you find baths boring.” or “I know you’d rather be on your computer instead of having a bath.” Your child will still have to have a bath, but he’ll be able to release some of his feelings towards bath-time when you use emotional coaching. Emotional Coaching tends to increase a child’s willingness to cooperate and decrease his tendency to fight and argue, because he experiences the friendly, compassionate attitude of the parent.

Use the CLeaR method
The CLeaR method’s system of commenting, labeling and rewarding appropriate behavior can be helpful in getting your child to take baths routinely. (Learn the details about The Clear Method in Raise Your Kids without Raising Your Voice).When your child has a bath without giving you trouble, say something like, “You got ready for your bath right away.” (Comment), “That’s very cooperative of you!” (Label), “I think there’s an extra piece of cake in the fridge, why don’t you go and have it for your snack tonight? (Reward). This system helps to reinforce your child’s positive behavior and can make the behavior continue in the future.

Make it Interesting
If your child finds baths boring, try making them more enjoyable or interesting. Get colored or fragranced soaps and bubbles for your child’s baths. Or maybe get a special bathrobe or something similar that can be special for bathtime. (Bathrobes may be designed like comic book heroes or movie characters.  You may be able to find one that your child can’t wait to wear!).

Make Sure it’s Routine
If you tell your child to have a bath at different times or days of the week, it can be disruptive to whatever he or she is doing. Instead, consider developing a regular bath schedule (i.e. baths on Mondays and Thursdays) so that your child is psychologically prepared for his or her bath. This can help the child plan for baths and get ready more easily.

Use “Grandma’s Rule.” Avoid bribes like, “If you have a bath you can have a cookie.” Instead, use Grandma’s Rule which is constructed with “When” and “Then”  or “As soon as,” and “Then.” For instance you might say something like “As soon as you’ve finished your bath, then can have your cookie.” Grandma’s Rule puts the parent in charge of the situation rather than the child. It also prevents the child from “black-mailing” the parent with sentences like “what will you give me if I listen to you?”

Use the 2X Rule
If your child refuses to have a bath, warn him or her that continued refusal will result in a negative consequence like losing computer time or some other privilege.

Consider Bach Flower Remedies
Bach Flower Therapy is a harmless water-based naturopathic treatment that can improve behavior in addition to other things. For children who are defiant or strong willed, tending not to cooperate with anything, including their baths, the flower remedy Vine can help. For children who complain about everything (i.e. “Why do I have to take a bath now, I don’t like baths!”) the remedy Beech can help. You can mix several remedies together in one treatment bottle. To do so, you fill a one-ounce Bach Mixing Bottle with water (a mixing bottle is an empty bottle with a glass dropper, sold in health food stores along with Bach Flower Remedies). Next, add two drops of each remedy that you want to use. Finally, add one teaspoon of brandy. The bottle is now ready to use. Give your child 4 drops of the mixture in any liquid (juice, water, milk, tea, etc.) four times a day (morning, mid-day, afternoon and evening). Remedies can be taken with or without food. Continue this treatment until the behavior improves and bath-time becomes easier. Start treatment again, if the behavior degrades. Eventually, the behavior will improve permanently.

Consider Professional Help
If hating the bath is part of a larger picture of negativity or defiance, and your interventions have not helped sufficiently, consider seeking out the help or assessment of a mental health practitioner.

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