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Easing Back Into Bathtime

Even if your child loved the tub as a baby, every bath can become a battle just about now. What would make her do a 180 on H2O?
  • Is she scared to test the waters? "Try to find out what's freaking her out," says Brett Kuhn, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist and coauthor of The Toddler Owner's Manual. Did she slip a little in the tub recently, or was the water a bit chilly? Let her watch you test the water, and hold her hand as she sits down and gets settled.

  • Does she associate splashing with snoozing? If your child always scrubs down at night, she may link bathtime with bedtime -- and getting separated from you. She figures: Why get that ball rolling? Try shaking things up with a morning or afternoon bath if you're an at-home mom (or try the new schedule on the weekends if you work).

  • Is she stuck in a tub rut? Bathtime might just be old hat these days. Introduce some new bath toys or other hands-on fun, like bubbles or plastic utensils she can empty and fill. One more tip: Let her step out of the tub as you drain it while watching a large toy circle the drain. She'll learn that big things (like her) can't get sucked down -- another possible reason behind bath aversion.