17/08/2009 18:49 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Ask Joanne - My Toddler Hates Having A Bath

What's your parenting question or dilemma for Ask Joanne? Send it in for our life coach Joanne Mallon to answer at this address. Say if you'd like your name changed.

Harriet asks:

Our toddler used to love having a bath and would spend hours splashing about. For the last few months, though, she hates getting in the water and when she settles down she refuses to sit in the water. She'll stand in it and allows us to wash her (although she hates having her hair washed) but how can we encourage her to enjoy bathtime again?

Bathtime used to be huge fun but we now dread it. Heeelp!

Here's life coach Joanne's reply

Dear Harriet

The issue here probably isn't about the bath at all. It's about her exerting her own will and testing your boundaries. You can never "make" someone enjoy something if they just don't want to. In fact if your daughter is the stubborn type (as most toddlers are), the fact that you're pushing her in one direction may be the very thing that makes her kick out against it.

And at the end of the day, you say that she does stand up and allow you to wash her, so if she does end up clean, does it really matter so much that she's not as keen on baths as she was? I think it's important to pick your battles, and this one may fall into the category of "not worth fighting about". What's the worst thing that can happen if her hair doesn't get washed so often? In fact, too much shampooing is said to strip hair of its natural oils and make it easier for head lice to get a grip.

I have written a post here about how to get your child interested in bathtime again. There are lots of practical things you can try, from soap crayons to sculpting bath foam. Try not to get so stressed about bathtime - once your daughter sees that she can't get a rise out of you on this one, she'll probably also recognise that it's a battle not worth fighting.

Best wishes


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