Why Bath Time Is A Struggle for Your Kids - How to Fix It?

Luckybudmall Dec 29, 2022


My kid hates bath time from 2 years old, and this situation last until she is already 3 years old. Bath time is a struggle between us every day.

Do Your Kids Love or Hate Bath Time?

Besides me, I heard from some of my friends that they also meet the same problem. Some kids have suddenly gone from loving baths to hating them and becoming very distressed when their parents attempt to bath them (running to front door, screaming hysterically, yelling no no no no.) These kids used to enjoy taking baths, but for the past month or so, they just act like it’s torture.

Although bath time may be relaxing for some of your children — there are many kids who go running in the opposite direction when they hear the word “bath.” When my little one has to be chased down for her bath, I realize that it is possible there is something behind her opposition. And I have to find some solution to handle this problem.

Why it Happens? — What’s the Special Reason Your Child Hates Bath

I searched lots of information about why kids suddenly hate bath and those comment from parents who face the same problem, and found that kids fight bath time for many different reason, but each child may have his/her own special reason that you as his/her parents should discover it.

For my kid, her special reason is that she hates the smell of shampoo. When she grow up to 2 years old, she can express her idea and emotion well, each time I wash her hair and body with shampoo, she acts just like vomiting, and yelling “No, no, no shampoo, mommy, today we just bath with water only, no need shampoo, is that ok?” As a mommy, I just wanner keep her clean enough after a bath, so I refused her requirement each time. That is why relaxing bath time turned to a struggle between us.

Since this struggle has last for almost one year, I realized that it is a serious parenting problem, I need to find some solution to help my child to love and enjoy the bath time.

First, I reduce the times to use shampoo, just bath her with water only;

Second, I bought some special creative to attract her attention to bathroom;

Third, I make her bath time less about the routine, but more about fun, always ask her to take a bath after a mess or just come back from her kindergarten, not just require her to bath only before bed. I interact with her a lot with those and singing bath songs during the bath time to make her exciting.

Fourth, I teach her to wash her body and brush her teeth by herself, or ask her to help wash my arms & hands. She is proud that she is independent enough because she can do something by herself and also do something for her mommy.

After a month “training”, everything changed. My little girl now loves bath time just like a little mermaid.

What Are Those Common Reasons that Make Your Kids Hate a Bath?

According to my own parenting experience, I think a lot of kids go through this phase and it could be for a variety of reasons. The main one is usually kids tend to feel like they’re missing out on something fun during bath time. Interrupting play time to make a child take a bath can make them dislike bathing. Another reason would be that they don’t like the cold feeling they get after exiting the bath or something of that nature. Or they just feel not safe in the bathtub.

Many toddlers love splashing about at bath time. But even those who enjoy the water sometimes don’t like having their hair and body washed. It can be very stressful if your little one gets upset at bath time, especially as it’s meant to be a relaxing end to the day. Working out what’s bothering your kids can take some detective work.

  1. Has your kid got a sore bottom or a rash?
  2. Is your kid overtired?
  3. Is your kid hungry?
  4. Is your kid cold?
  5. Is the water at the right temperature?
  6. Does your kid feel safe?
  7. Is he/she afraid of getting soap in his/her eyes?
  8. Does your baby want company?
  9. “I am doing something and I don’t want to take a bath!”
  10. Afraid of bed time — which often occurs right after bath time

What Should We Do to Help Our Kids Love Bath Time?

Below are some approaches to help get your kids back to loving bath time:

#1 Is the water at the right temperature? — Test it first

Use your elbow rather than your hand to test it, as your elbow will be more sensitive. If you’re still unsure, use a bath thermometer. The ideal temparture for your baby’s bath is between 37 degrees C and 38 degrees C, which is around body temperature. Some kids hates bath just because they are afraid of the hot water, so first test the water temperature before bathing.

#2 Make it less about the routine, more about fun

If bath time normally takes place in the evening, before bed, your child might be more receptive to a daytime bath. I once pictured that I’d give my kid a bath every single day, right before bed. But it turned out bath time riled her up more than it calmed her down! It started making bedtime harder, not easier.

Because my kid realizes that if it is time to take a bath, then after that it is time to go to bed. She hates sleeping (it seems no time to play if sleeping), so she also hates bathing. She asks me everyday the same question like that “Mommy, why you require me to bath every day, and sleep every day? For that, I have no time to play.”

So I switched up the routine. I’d pull out “bath time” at random parts of the day– after a mess had been made, when we needed something to do, if we just felt like splashing, or just after she coming back home from her kindergarten. Eliminating the “routine” part of the ritual instantly made it more fun.

#3 Fill the tub with exclusive and special cool toys

Nowadays, each child owns tons of toys at home. That’s why we need fill the tub with exclusive and special cool bath toys- the toys are only placed with during baths and cool enough to attract kids’ attention. This makes them infinitely more exciting. For my daughter who just thinks that taking a bath will interrupter what she is playing, I bought her some special cool bath toys to play during the bath time.

#4 Give plenty of warnings about when bath time will start and finish

When my little girl in the phase of hating bath time, she also refuses to get out of the bath. This isn’t really that big of a surprise. Many kids don’t do well with transitions. Also, once your children are having fun in a warm, soapy oasis — who can blame them for not wanting to get out!

Before bath time is going to begin, give your children a ten minute warning. For younger kids, anchor your warning around an activity not a time. For my daughter, I just tell her like that “After you finish that snack, or after you finish one episode of Peppa Pig, or after you are done building that house, it will be bath time.”

When bath time is going to be ended, I also give her a ten seconds warning. I will ask her to wash the bath toys and dry them first, after that, it is time for her to get out and dry herself. Just let your children know what is coming before it comes. Have a fuzzy towel ready for your little ones so you can wrap them up as soon as they hit that cool air.

#5 Do you wash her hair as often?

Almost all toddlers go through a stage of not wanting to have their hair washed.

You don’t need to wash your toddler’s hair at every bathtime. Once or twice a week is fine, as her hair is unlikely to get that dirty. If you give it a bit longer between each wash, she may forget whatever was bothering her and be open to trying it again.

When it’s not a hair-washing night, let your toddler know. That way, you can both relax and enjoy the special closeness of bathtime.


This is not an exhaustive list, but it addresses the most common reasons why kids may want to avoid bath time. With that being said, how do you get your little ones from being scared to loving their bath? Try to find out the special reason why your little ones are afraid of a bath, that will help you handle the problem.

As with many kid issues, it is not effective to get into a power struggle and out-power your child. Getting to the source of your child’s fear will get you much farther in the long run!

Does your child hate baths? What has been your experience? Leave a comment and share.

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