In partnership with Suave Kids, I’m really excited to be talking about the down and dirty of getting kids clean when, let’s face it, kids aren’t always on board with that plan.
With four boys of my own, I have 44 years (so far) of experience in the “Why do I have to take a bath” trenches. I’ve totally used the fun characters displayed on Suave’s tear-free products to lure my kids into the water, for years before they asked me to work with them. Now I get to bring you all my best ideas for turning this struggle into the next great adventure in a fun day.
This is actually the fun part! Like most experiences, kids look to us to know if this is a “want to” or a “have to.” These are tips for making bath time into both.
- Ages 3-5: “No!” Don’t you love that answer? One great idea for turning that attitude around is to dive into silliness. “I smell like a gorilla. You smell like a gorilla. Come with to wash away the gorilla!” Make your best gorilla (or stinky lion or smelly pot belly pig) noises and get your child excited to get the whole zoo clean. Laughter is a great way to stop a tantrum before it starts.
- Ages 6-7: “But I’m playing!” Great, keep playing! Bathtime doesn’t end the fun, it just moves the game to a new spot. Instead of encouraging a child to stop playing, let her know she gets to adapt it to play in the tub.
- Ages 8-9: “One more show, please?” Take that show he just watched live and challenge your child to make it into a reenactment in the bath. He gets to be any character he wants, and will like the idea even more if you ask for a role!
Turn a rough day great again! Not every day is awesome. Bath time can teach kids to wash the day away. Along with getting clean, this teaches kids resilience and makes bed time smoother, too.
- Ages 3-5: If your littlest one has had a sour moment in the day that they need to talk about, do it. Ask your child where that bad moment is on his skin, and wash it away!
- Ages 6-7: My boys often get into the tub with new scrapes. We changed these ouches into fun by telling made up stories about how they happened while getting them clean. “I scraped my toe saving a baby mountain lion from the tree in the back yard!”
- Ages 8-9: Play high-low-high during bath time. “Tell me something great, something bad, and something great about your day today.” This will give you great insight into the good and bad of your elementary schooler’s day (without a chance for one word answers), and help her find some optimism by ending on a high note.
Such a big kid! The days adventures have to end in clean, and they can teach great responsibility at the same time. Kids are always looking for a chance to be a little more grown up.
- Ages 3-5: Instead of giving your preschooler a bath, enlist his help in getting those toys (or awesome Suave kids characters!) clean. Those special beings won’t trust a grown up to wash them right, your little one is the person they trust to take care of them.
- Ages 6-7: Promote your kiddo to bath captain. As the assistant, you’ll help by checking to see that all those dirty spots got clean and rinsing anything she can’t quite reach.
- Ages 8-9: It’s time for shower-training. Big kids shower, and your child is probably ready to try that, so make it a big deal that they get to try it out, with you there for the assist.*
Bath time can be great, for kids and parents alike. It’s a ritual for that first 10 years or so of our kids’ lives. What have you tried that has made baths into a time for great memories?
* Extra props to Suave, their pumps make it easy for kids this age to get the right amount of product into their own hands (and prevent spillage for mom and kids!), while offering a 3-in-1 product so one product gets them head-to-toe clean.