Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Bath Time Bliss : Fuss-Free Bath Time for Toddlers

Welcome to the April 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Kids and Personal Care
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared stories, tips, and struggles relating to their children's personal care choices.
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Jesse at 4 Weeks Old
Bath time is hands down one of our favourite times of the day, I get to relax in the tub and Jesse gets to play with water, toys and sometimes even bubbles. Pure bliss for both of us. Alas, bath time hasn't always been this fun, it took me a long time to figure out a routine that suits the both of us, so I thought I should share it with you in the hope that it helps you save time. Keep in mind that I only have one child, but I could see this routine working well with two or more children, it just depends on how large your bath tub is!



Bath with your toddler,  this has been a lifesaver in terms of time management. In the early days, when Jess was a needy newborn, (as opposed to the totally chilled toddler he is now ;)) I hardly ever had time to shower never mind wash my hair, soon I realised that we would have to combine our bath times if we were ever going to both get a bath in a day. We bath in the evening as part of Jesse's bed time routine. I find the best time for a bath is straight after supper, and before he gets too tired. It calms him right down, and sets the relaxed mood for the evening after the hustle and bustle of the afternoon.


How to make it work:

Get all your clothes ready before you jump in the bath, as well as your toddlers' clothes, all laid out. Make sure you have a clean nappy ready, a hairbrush and anything else you may need. You don't want to be running around looking for their slippers in a towel with wet hair.I stopped using a changing table when Jesse was just a couple of months old, and now just lay everything out on the bed. In fact, a changing table is a waste of space and money, next time round I won't even bother with one. I find it easier to plop Jess on the bed, dry him off and then give him a toy to keep him occupied whilst I quickly get dressed. Thereafter I can take my time in dressing him, giving him a massage and brushing his hair.

Run the bath at a temperature that is comfortable for both of you. I like a super hot bath, but have learnt to tone it down a bit, plus Jesse usually sits on my tummy, dangling his feet in the water for a while until the water temperature cools to his liking.

Jesse at 11 Weeks Old

Use products on yourself that you are happy to use on your toddler. If you are going to soak in a bubble bath, make sure the bubbles are natural and chemical free. If you are going to wash your hair, don't use commercial shampoos and conditioners that are laden with chemicals, as these chemicals fill the tub and leach into your toddlers skin (never mind your own). None of the products you use should contain any of these contentious ingredients:
  • SLS – sodium laurel/laureth sulphate
  • Parabens
  • Minerals oils like propolyne glycol or petrolatum
  • Diethanolamine (DEA), Triethanolamine (TEA), Monoethanolamine (MEA)
  • Diazolidinyl Urea, Imidazolidinyl Urea
  • Talc
  • Synthetic colours & Fragrances
  • Diazolidinyl Urea, Imidazolidinyl Urea
  • Jesse at 26 Weeks
  • Lead
Give up your preconceived ideals on cleanliness. Toddlers definitely do not agree with your ideals, and spend most of their first years rather grubby, regardless of how much soap you use and how hard you scrub. Toddlers are busy little things, and if yours is anything like Jesse by the time the get into the bath they are covered in mud, sand, whatever dinner they ate, with a bit saved in their hair for good measure. I consider water play sufficient as a wash. I have discovered that when a toddler stews in a warm bath for long enough, the dirt simply falls off by itself. Hair rinsed with water only is sufficient to make it shine again, it only really needs a shampoo around once a month to clean the scalp. If nails are not coming clean without scrubbing them, they possibly need a cut. I cut Jesse's nails in the bath with nail scissors, otherwise find they come clean easily with a soak. Any stubborn dirt such as ingrained mud on his feet comes off with a wipe of a wash cloth.

I will repeat that, a wash cloth and pure water is sufficient for cleaning grubby faces and bodies. Don't forget to wipe their ears. I find that if I do my face first, then Jesse's and so on he is much more obliging. If it is a special occasion, or we just feel like a treat we do use a bit of all-natural chemical free body wash with pure essential oils which leave us smelling delicious, but not too often as we do not want to strip our skin of their natural oils. 

Jesse at 29 Weeks
Make your bathroom toddler friendly by filling it with clutter. Your bathroom needs to be well stocked with plastic toys (there are great options that are BPA free such as this Boon 4 Pack Odd Ducks) and an assortment of plastic bottles, cups, bowls and spoons. There is no better place to practice scooping, pouring, mixing and shaking than in the bath with mom. Jesse has become a master 'pour-er', emptying one container into another and then into a cup, and so on.

After bath, the best moisturiser is coconut oil. Plus it makes Jesse smell like a little island boy. Coconut oil is great stuff, as well as hydrating the skin it is also anti-bacterial and anti-fungal so it takes care of any bites, scrapes etc that Jess may have and wards off infection. Its also a great oil to work with as you give your toddler a full body massage to rid their bodies of aches and pains and relax their muscles for bed.

Jesse at 10 Months Old
As with washing faces, I find the easiest way to get a toddler to be enthusiastic about brushing their teeth is to brush yours with them. Once I start brushing, Jesse invariably wants my toothbrush and so we do a bit of toothbrush swapping, but in the end I do feel that his six and a half little teeth get a thorough brush. He even imitates me flossing, which is super cute.

This routine takes up a good hour in our evening, leaving us both relaxed and ready to start the bed time routine of books, nursing and story-telling.

Does your child enjoy bath time? How do you make sure its relaxing and enjoyable for both mom and child? 



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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
(This list will be live and updated by afternoon April 10 with all the carnival links.)

16 comments:

  1. These are fantastic tips - and it was great fun to see some photos of a wee Jesse. His angelic face has changed very little!

    Now that A is bigger and wigglier and my belly is taking up a lot of space, I seldom bathe with her, but it worked like a charm when she was small! I'm with you on considering a good splash in the bath perfectly sufficient for producing a clean toddler.

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    1. It was great fun to get all these pictures together and see how much he has changed, and how much he has stayed the same :)

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  2. How do you wash your hair when you bathe with littles? That is always the hardest part for me - I either don't get to wash my hair (and my hair really needs to be washed every few days), or I have to make sure another adult is present to take the littles out of the tub so I can wash my hair at the end.

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    1. Yeah, its not ideal, but I simply wash it with Jess playing at the bottom of the tub near my feet, or sometimes he lie's on top of me and watches me rinse etc. I suppose it is testament to how much he enjoys bathing, as my hair is really long and thick so it takes forever to shampoo and then work the conditioner in, but he plays happily most of the time with his bottles and cups and rubber ducks. I do delay it as much as possible, where as I should wash it every three days, I only end up washing it every 5,6 sometimes 7 days :/

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  3. First of all, your baby is so adorable, those pics couldn't have been any cuter! We love bath time around here. We have a giant, garden tub. So often we all just pile in the tub together. :-)

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    1. That sounds like fun, Jesse would love that, combining two of his favourite things, bath time and the outdoors :)

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  4. These are great tips! We just do water and communal bathtime, too, and it works out great.

    I like the tip to have everything you need laid out in advance, because I'm always freezing and dripping by the time we collect it all afterwards!

    I'm glad I never realized my dream of having a changing table, because I'm sure I would never have actually used it.

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    1. Yip, I've done the running around freezing thing looking for clean nappies etc whilst my child is cold and ready for bed. Learnt the hard way ;)

      Thanks for hosting :)

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  5. coconut is so amazing-I use a coconut-based non-soap face cleanser myself, but sadly my son is allergic :(

    Dionna-I'll be interested to see what strategies others had, but for me, I'd just lay down while my son played to get my hair wet, then I'd suds my hair up with baby shampoo, then at the very end of the bath I'd run some fresh water to rinse my hair with. I just stick my head under the faucet, lol. And then we both get out!

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    1. That's a pity, what do you use instead as a moisturiser for your son? I use Jojoba oil myself on my face :)

      Yeah, that's pretty much how I do it too! :)

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  6. It was hard to focus on reading with those gorgeous baby in the tub photos!!!!
    I got so lucky with this because bathing became a Daddy job (kind of the only one- har har.)
    I agree about grubby toddlers and water.
    Ours went through a sudden and intense reversal and screamed bloody murder at bath time. I admit she skipped a few baths during those days.
    But it passed. It just was gone one day and she was back to loving tub time.

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    1. Glad she's back to loving bath time again, but yeah, I agree that skipping a few baths is no biggie :)

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  7. Christine, I LOVE this post! It is so simple and yet I have never thought about hopping into the tub with my little guys! While we shower together at times, it just never occurred to me to enjoy a relaxing bath with them too! Thanks for the idea and tips!

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    1. Im a bather, so this came naturally to me. I don't enjoy showering, but if I did, I would probably take Jess with me in there :) He seems to have the same aversion to showers, so bathing works well for us for now, it is literally my little piece of relaxation in a chaotic day ;)

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  8. What a beautiful post along with that lovely happy face! Your bathtime routine is similar to ours and a great way to end the busy day. I used to change little one on a school desk padded with many towels and had the baby bath sitting on my bed (my room was warmer then the shower and I didn't have to break my back bending down)and now she gets changed on the bed and bathed on the dining table - the only room with a wood heater!

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    1. I can relate, last winter I bathed Jess in my room too, which was much warmer than a cold bathroom, but this winter he is bigger, and tougher :)

      Thanks for stopping by!

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