Getting dirty is a childhood right; for some, the dirtier the better. Add outdoor play into the mix and you have childhood nirvana! Remember what it was like to get dirty outside? Between outdoor sports, gardening with your grandparents, and digging for worms, the possibilities for getting dirty were endless. Then there was eating dirt – actual dirt. Who didn’t fall for the ol’ mud pie is totally a food you could eat trick? The point is: getting dirty was fun for you and most likely is fun for your child. In addition to the fun factor, studies have shown that getting down with dirt is actually good for you! It provides children unique tactile experiences, builds their immune systems, and makes them happy among other benefits.
So we know getting dirty is awesome; what’s not awesome (at least for you) is your child staying that way. But how can you get your kiddo to understand getting clean can be just as much fun as getting dirty? That can be a hard sell for kids. They might think of bath or shower time as too structured, they may not like putting their heads under water, or they might be scared to get soap in their eyes. They don’t have to think about any of that stuff when they’re getting dirty. So what is a parent to do? Check out our list of tips and tools designed to help you get bath time just right, show your child how bath time can be fun, and explain why it’s important.
- Set the temperature of your hot water heater no higher than 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Turn on hot water yourself to avoid accidents. Before your child gets in the tub or shower, check the temperature with the inside of your wrist or elbow.
- Teach your child how to wash each part of the body well, and to rinse well.
- Let your child take the lead in washing but be there to help them out when needed.
- As a safety precaution, never leave the room when your young child is in the bath.
- Provide your child with natural and easy-to-use body washes and shampoos like those in the Kandoo family of products so kids can learn to wash on their own and enjoy getting clean.
- If your child doesn’t like getting their face wet, help them wash and rinse so as to avoid putting their face directly into the water.
- To avoid arguments, make bath time happen at regular times — on a schedule that you set. Don’t ask kids if they want a bath unless it’s a real question.
- Let them know if they get clean, they can get dirty all over again tomorrow!
Tub Time Merriment
Making tub time fun and interesting is a great way to get your kids to want to get clean. In fact, as difficult as it may be to get your kiddo into the tub or shower, once there, they may not want to get out when using these tried and true tactics.
- Give your child a mirror in the shower or tub so they can see the soapy faux-hawks and white fluffy beards they’ve created.
- Create water walls using various vessels like empty water bottles (with openings at each end) and removable tape strips to connect the bottles to the bath or shower wall. Pour water in using a cup and watch the water stream from one vessel to the next.
- Skip the usual bath toys and opt instead for waterproof toys like large Legos, pirate figurines or other “regular” toys that can withstand soapy water.
- Create soapy science experiments with your child (add food coloring to bubble towers, swirl with a wooden spoon and watch the rainbows form).
- Put a few blown up balloons in the tub for kids to safely bat around.
- Make a glow-in-the-dark tub by throwing in a few glow sticks or putting up glow decals on the shower wall.
- Bring in kitchen strainers and watch the water cascade out when lifted out of the water.
- Turn bath time into book time by reading favorite stories to your children while they are in the tub.
The Super Power of a Bath or Shower
Now that you’ve shown your child how bath time can be good clean fun, the next step is to explain why bath time is important. Let your child know that humans aren’t the only animals that take baths. Elephants, rhinos, rabbits, dogs, cats, giraffes, birds and frogs among others types of animals all take the time to get clean and for good reason … to help keep skin and hair healthy and in tip top shape.
Tell your child the thing about skin is that it is constantly protecting us. In addition to keeping our insides nicely packaged, it helps keep our body temperatures regulated. Healthy skin also keeps infections out of our bodies (from say scrapes or cuts). If we keep the wound clean, our healthy skin will heal itself, the wound will close and infections will stay out. By taking care of our skin, we are helping it take care of us! And one really great way of taking care of our skin is keeping it clean.
Explain to your kiddo that during bath time we use warm, soapy water to get our skin clean and while it might be fun or even relaxing to simply soak in the tub or stand in a warm shower, getting clean actually requires some work. Lathering up and doing a little gentle scrubbing with a washcloth or bath sponge will ensure skin gets the attention it needs. Show your kiddo how to wash off the dirt they can see and why it’s important to wash the “dirt” they can’t see (e.g. to stop the spread of germs). They should practice washing all their parts from nose to toes, rinse well, and dry thoroughly with a clean towel.
At the end of the day, explain to your child that having a clean body and clean hair can make them feel great, smell great, and people will want to be around them because they look and smell clean and fresh!