Bath-time Blues

Day15: an ordinary moment (turned extraordinary!)

Max has never enjoyed bath time.

In fact, I’ve got a photo of him at about 6 months old, desperately trying to climb out of the bath, screaming, crying, thrashing.

Over the years, it’s not got any easier, and Max has grown and become stronger and louder.

As you can see, he’s not happy to be there!


About a month ago, the nursery brought in a small traffic lights style count down timer.

Something visual, something easy for Max to understand, even if he’s under stress.

And I now have one at home.

And bath times have gone from being a battle of wills, with Max lashing out, screeching and punching and lashing out in a MAJOR fight or flight moment, the kind where he’s trying to get away, but because he NEEDS to be washed, I’m forcing him to fight.

It’s not fun for any of us.

Zack tends to hide downstairs and put some music on high.

I try my best to keep my voice calm and do the bare minimum as quickly as possible.

Max is usually distraught for up to two hours afterwards.

This evening…

It was different.

He saw me running the bath and did get upset, but he knew it was coming, so he didn’t run away.

I brought his timer in with us, and set it.

He saw it, and his whole body just stopped.

Stopped fighting, stopped crying.

Just stopped.

He let me take off his clothes with nothing more than a wee whine.

He put his arms up for me to lift him into the bath.

He sat down, albeit in the “I’m not happy with this” way, but he did it.

And he waited.

He cried a bit, and wasn’t exactly enjoying being in there, but he let me bathe him.

He let me wash him without fighting me, keeping his eyes on the timer.

He even (with persuasion), let me lay him down so I could wash his hair, all the time, watching the timer.

I actually had the chance to take this photo before time ran out.

And as soon as it went off, he stood up, he put his arms up, I wrapped him in his towel,

and he was out, he was calm.

No crying and throwing himself at me, at furniture, at walls.

No trying to grab anything in sight to launch across the room.

No screaming and crying and freaking out for over an hour.

He let me put his lotion on him, get him dressed for bed, and then off he went to play on the computer.

Not a peep.

Maybe our bath-time blues are on their way out after all!

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  1. January 16, 2013 / 7:48 am

    i’m sorry, but that picture *is* funny. glad you seem to have solved the tub-time woes – yay for things getting easier/quieter/less fighty!

    • January 17, 2013 / 9:15 pm

      It is, isn’t it? Taken 5 years for it to get to this stage! Hopefully once he’s used to the bath (and maybe even enjoying it??) we can maybe start toilet training him. Fingers crossed anyway. 🙂

  2. January 19, 2013 / 4:37 pm

    thats great that the timer is helping I am sure ti will get better and better now – fingers crossed x

    • January 20, 2013 / 12:11 am

      We’ll find out tomorrow afternoon if it was a fluke or not, lol! 🙂 x

  3. Cheryl
    March 8, 2013 / 11:41 am

    I have the exact same problem with my son who is 3 (almost 4) years old. He physically shakes with fear. Didn’t like water on him anywhere but we had a breakthrough recently when he washed his hands! No baby wipes! Put his hands under the tap!

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