Bath time is the perfect opportunity for parents and children to really get to know each other and spend quality time together.
How you view “bath time” is up to you. Some parents choose to treat it as a chore – as do their children. In many homes, bath time is about as boring as brushing teeth. You, however, can choose to turn bath time into something special, which both you and your child will look forward to every day. For a child, bath time should be a transition between the noisy, busy world of daytime and the peaceful, cosy world of their beds.
With very little effort on your part you can make it a magic time for both of you.
How do you inject some magic into bath time? Firstly, by prioritizing it. Fix a time for baths that works around meals, cooking, welcoming home your other half, making evening telephone calls and relaxing – and establish that time for both you and your child. If the phone rings, just ignore it! Maybe try to do a quick tidy-up with your child before bath time, so that you aren’t faced with a horrible mess afterwards – that way it becomes a transition between day and evening for you too. Make sure that you set aside enough time so that you aren’t rushing and nagging your child to hurry up!
Now, to make bath time fun! Here are some suggestions for adding a bit of magic:
Have an assortment of bubble baths suitable for your child. Display your different bottles and make a show of choosing which bubbles you will use each night. Perhaps if your child has been helpful tidying up, they can choose?
Two drops of lavender or chamomile essential oil (no more!) added to the bath and stirred in well can help soothe and calm a fractious child after a long day.
Candle light for special occasions:
This is obviously only suitable for well-supervised bath times – but kids really do love the atmosphere of a candle lit bath. Candles should only be lit once the children are in the bath, and are extinguished before they climb out, just to be completely safe.
Warm towels and pyjamas:
Especially in the winter months! Children love to get out of the bath into a warmed towel and pyjamas! Little touches make all the difference.
Rotate bath toys ruthlessly so that there is always something interesting and new to play with! Every so often you could even raid your kitchen for suitable implements too – children love playing with sieves, whisks, measuring cups and jugs! I remember when I was a child I would play endlessly with a plastic funnel, plastic bottles (some with holes punched in them) and a couple of plastic jugs! If you don’t want to use your own kitchen equipment, you could find these items very cheaply at boot fairs or discount shops.
Fun foam toys:
You could buy fun foam shapes, or you can buy the foam at the local craft shop and cut your own shapes. Perhaps you could change your shapes to match holidays and seasons – flowers for spring and summer, Christmas trees at Christmas, bunnies and eggs at Easter? There are many possible learning activities too: cut pieces to teach shapes, numbers or the alphabet, and practice matching, grouping, sorting, ordering and so on.
Shaving foam sculpture:
Squirt a few large blobs of shaving foam onto the side of bath or into your child’s hands (warn him to keep it away from his eyes) and let his imagination take over!
Music and stories: Bath time is a good opportunity to introduce music of all kinds or to listen to a special story on CD.
For a special treat, take some bubble blowing mixture into the bathroom. Make sure that it doesn’t get into their eyes!
A few drops of food colouring will transform the bath into something exotic! Try orange or green at Halloween, or maybe red or green at Christmas and so on. But be prepared for them to need a second bath though, to remove any colouring from their bodies!
Finally, remember that in a few short years the whole ritual of bath time will be long gone and your children will be old enough to shower or bath on their own – resisting any attempt from you to interfere! Make the most of bath time while you can. Whatever you do now to make bath times magic will be repaid a thousand times in memories for you and your children in the future!