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Sudden fear of baths

My son is 16 months old within the past week has developed a sudden fear of baths. He so scard that all he does is stand at the edge of the tub, tears streaming down his red face and holds his arms out for me. If I get close enough he wraps his arms around my neck and tries to drag himself out.
I wash as quickly as I can but he is absolutely beside himself by the time we are done. He won't let go of me for a good 10-15 min.
How do I ease his fears or at least make bathtime less stressful?

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Asked by irishmama1007 at 7:56 AM on Mar. 5, 2009 in Toddlers (1-2)

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Answers (4)
  • My son went through a stage of hating baths around the same age, maybe a little younger. He would do exactly what your son is doing. Since it was colder outside, I just gave him baths less often, maybe every twice a week instead of every other day, I also bought him new toys for the tub! He is now 2 and he loves his baths again!

    Answer by austinsmama1106 at 8:00 AM on Mar. 5, 2009

  • He probably is learning more about the world outside of himself and has just realized that the water and bubbles go away down that scary looking hole. Do you have a basin that you can bathe him in- something without a drain hole? Although even that might take a while before he notices no drain hole. Try covering up the drain with a plastic dish or something, and don't let the water empty while he is still in the tub. You can also bathe him while he is standing there. Or put him in the tub without water, have a bowl of water, and sponge bathe him while he is standing in the tub. We have one of those hose things that is attached to the faucet and can be used to bathe or shower- kind of like the spray/hose thing on a kitchen sink. At some point you can show him that big things don't go down the drain- such as toys, hands, and so forth.

    Answer by Bmat at 8:31 AM on Mar. 5, 2009

  • my son went through the same thing. a few times i went in the bath with him to show him it wont hurt him, i let him take a few toys in, and i would put very little water in the tub, i would splash at the wall like fun, and i have let the faucet run instead of a bath and i would just take a cup and use that and wash him. within 2-3 weeks he wasnt afraid of the bath anymore. good luck

    Answer by melissa197829 at 9:15 AM on Mar. 5, 2009

  • Thanks for the suggestions! He only gets a bath every other night anyways because of his dry skin and the drain has always been covered.
    I will try the bowl and sponge bath him and see if that works. I most likely will have either myself or husband show him that it is safe in the tub. The whole thing has just been confusing because he has his toys and has always enjoyed splashing the water with his hands and feet.

    Answer by irishmama1007 at 9:07 PM on Mar. 5, 2009

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