Bath Time Temper Tantrums
by Denise L Tesson
My son is 34 months old and his name is Matthew. The temper tantrums start at night time. About 8 o'clock I get his bath water ready and tell him that it's time for a bath and that's when it happens.
The temper tantrums are really really really bad! Telling me that he doesn't like me, go way and I don't want you to look at me.
He screams, throw things, and it actually takes him about 45 minutes to calm down. I get aggravated too and scream with him.
I don't know how to handle that. Please help me!!
I need advice in what to do!!
Make Bath Time Fun - Part One
My goodness, it sounds like you have got a very stressful night time routine going.
You will both be thinking bath time is going to be a battle, so are starting off each night with negative energy happening, which escalates into a battle. At the end of the day you will be running out of patience, and he will be tired.
That is actually fairly late for a little tike, I am not sure if he gets to sleep in, in the morning, but one of the things that sends kids into melt down, is being over tired and over stimulated at the end of the day.
Funny, because one of the things we often recommend for kids like that is a bath!!
Try moving his bedtime a bit earlier, he may well be over tired. Observe him from about 6pm onwards, and notice when he starts rubbing his eyes, or yawning. You may find his natural biorythym for sleep is quite a bit earlier.
A child his age probably needs around 12 hours per night, some kids still need around 14, specially if he is not having a nap in the day. So he may be chronically tired which will contribute to bathtime drama.
My first thought is you are leaving it too late in the day for him to cope with a major activity, and particularly when he now has a definite aversion to it. So I would forget about trying to get him in the bath at 8pm. Change the bedtime routine. Try bath time before dinner, and not at a time when you are trying to do a million things at once.
Bath time does not have to be before bed. In fact kids don't even need a bath every night, you can top and tail them and they will be fine for a day or two. If it is warm enough where you are, he could have a bucket bath outside! Or he can have a shower in the morning, or bath in the middle of the day.
One thing, has anything happened that could have contributed to his dislike of a bath? Some kids have been frightened by the plughole noises as the water sucks out. Sometimes they have ended up with shampoo in their eyes so associate bath time with fear, pain and drama. Maybe his head has gone under and he is frightened of getting his face under the water. Maybe he associates it with Mama getting mad at him! If he has built up some fear issues, then you getting mad will only make that worse.
Part Two Follows . . .