And just like that, bathing turned into a battle. Mr P&P and I have never felt comfortable forcing the Bean into something that he doesn’t want to do. It’s therefore not unheard of (not at all, actually) for the Bean’s hair not to see a drop of shampoo for weeks. As long as it gets rinsed, right!?
When he also went through a bath-hating phase, however, we decided to step up our game and try a few different tactics. A few weeks on bathing is back on the menu most days - hurray! Hair washing still not so much, but you can’t win them all, eh.
I might think he’s still my baby, but what the Bean wanted was space to be Bean-ish. To ‘swim’, to splash, to have room for ALL the toys at once and then a few more too. The baby bath was demoted to washing basket, into the big tub he jumped, and suddenly it all became an adventure (make it safe by sticking down non-slip bath mats).
Switch it up
Instead of making bathing always be about the bath, why not try the shower too? If the shower head is scary, just detach it and give them to hose. And teach them to point it INTO the shower, obviously.
During the worst of the no-bath phase, the only way to get the Bean to have a wash was to have a bath or shower with him. These were lovely moments, actually, especially on bleary, cuddly mornings.
Don’t pile on the pressure
As with so many typical toddler sticking points - eating vegetables, bedtimes, getting dressed - it’s best not to show just how much you care! If they are adamant they won’t bathe, let it go as much as possible - a little dirt doesn’t hurt anyway. Explain why it’d be best if they did have a wash, then leave it up to them to decide.
Give them as much autonomy as possible
I think the biggest issue with bathing, and washing hair in particular, is a fear of water. The Bean hates having water go in his eyes and still immediately breathes in rather than holding his breath when water runs down his face. Unsurprisingly, the sight of the shower head fills him with terror, and he cottoned on pretty quickly to a gently approaching cup too. These days, the best way to get water on his head is to let him do it himself in whatever way he chooses.
Give them a mirror
This, in combination with allowing M to take control, is what made the biggest difference. Being able to see what was happening on his head took away the fear, and in any case what kid doesn't like to make shampoo mohawks?? The one pictured below is from IKEA and attaches to the wall with a very sturdy sucker cup.
REVIEW: Paddy's Bathroom toiletries from Babipur
The colourful packaging - each product has its own bright and distinctive colour scheme, which meant that the Bean quickly learned which product was to be used for what.
The scents - all of Paddy’s bathroom toiletries have fruity scents which are lovely and subtle. The tangerine bubble bath in particular smells great!
The gentleness - I'm always nervous when trying new toiletries with the Bean, because as a baby most commonly available brands made him come out in a rash. Previously I only bought a hypoallergenic, super-gentle and fragrance-free body wash from my local pharmacy, but it was very expensive. It's great that he can now use these fun and scented products without any skin issues.
The squirtiness - although both the hand wash and the body wash come out as a foam, which is itself quite fun for kids, the body wash shoots out! Just remember to lift the cap on the top first, or you’ll be fighting with it like I was…
The value for money - at first glance these products seem expensive, with prices ranging from £4.49 to £5.50. However, the squirty products last for ages - after nearly two months’ daily use the hand and body washes are only half empty. We’re going through the bubble bath a bit faster as the Bean loves it, but even then you only need a small amount for lots of bubbles.
The toddler appeal - I wouldn't normally go out of my way to buy specific kiddie products, but you have to pick your battles: there is no denying that the Bean having his very own toiletries makes it easier to persuade him into the bath. He even liked washing his hair for a while - I have proof!
The chummy language on the packaging - I KNOW I sound like an old git by objecting to the wording “glug this lovely stuff into the bath”, but it gets to me. Ho hum.
The pineapple scent of the squirty hand and body wash- for some reason none of us got on with that one! this product comes with a mango scent too, so perhaps that one is nicer.
The gloopiness of the shampoo - it makes it quite hard to rinse out, which is not what you need when washing hair is already a battle. Just remember to use only a tiny amount.