Bath time can be a joyous interlude in a long day of parenting toddlers. The number of times I’ve called it at two in the afternoon, knowing that 30 minutes splashing about will reset the moods of all of us instead of battling on through one of ‘those’ days.
But it can descend into a dull routine as part of the daily bedtime thing, and hairwashing can often cause stress and anxiety that leads to bath time being avoided as long as possible.
So here’s my top 5 ways of making bath time fun again…
And no, it’s not as horrifically bathroom-ruining as it sounds! Make your own bath paint with shaving cream and food coloring (squirt the shaving cream into a plastic bowl, add a few drops of colouring and mix). I like to have at least two ‘paints’ mixed, but make as many as you like! They can paint the walls, the bath, themselves – two kids sharing will ALWAYS paint each other. And it all rinses straight off.
Cups and Bowls
ALWAYS have these at hand – my eldest is 17 now, and I still have a set of stacking cups in the bathroom. Toddler’s stacking cups are perfect, of course – but don’t limit yourself. Hit up the kitchen cupboards – plastic cups and bowls, tupperware pots, spoons, a colander, measuring cups… The amount of play value there is in pouring from one thing to another is astonishing to see.
Okay this one’s a bonus cheat. If you’ve got the space and are looking a new family bath, go for a whirlpool. Seriously – we’re loving this Yang Single Ended 8 Jet whirlpool Bath. Masses of bubble fun for the toddler bath time – and then the heavenly bubbles with a few candles for Mummy’s grown up quiet time after they’re in bed. Oh my yes please.
You can buy ready-made foam shapes at most craft stores and supermarkets and pound stores. They’re literally everywhere – and you can even double up with a craft activity, buy some sheets of foam and have your child draw and cut out their own designs. When the foam is wet is sticks to walls and the bath like magic – instant play scene that will keep an imaginative child absorbed until the water grows cold!
Crank up the music outside the bathroom, and have your own foam party! Every child loves to dance; throw in some foamy bubbles and splashing water and you’ve got guaranteed fun. Of course you’ll need to choose between Topsy & Tim’s latest hits or a little Taylor Swift – but that’s not for me to decide.
Small and cheap wind-up water toys are again available all over the place – stock up when you see them and tuck them away. Whether it’s madly paddling turtles, spinning submarines or a flipping frog, they’re fun on their own of course, but you need to Think Bigger. Races are where the big fun is at! Set two or more off at the same time, get competitive, provide cheering and encouragement as they paddle frantically for the taps (there’s always one that just rotates in ever-slowing circles to the left). It’s rowdy and raucous, and it’s a lot of fun.
And when the fun is done? Nothing beats stepping out of the bath to be wrapped head to foot in a cosy warm towel. So make sure those big fluffy towels are on the towel rail before you start running the water – you want them good and warm for the best effect on that all-funned-out little body.
(if you’ve not got one, heated towel rails come in all shapes and sizes for every bathroom possible. Personally I’m a bit in love with the traditional look of the Salzburg Victorian Chrome and White below…