All By Myself: Let your child take the lead at bath time. "Even though you have washed your child countless times, you might not have actually demonstrated how to wash," writes Dr. Lawrence Cohen, author of Playful Parenting. He suggests showing your child how to wash and rinse her body and hair and explain why it is important to do so. This activity is not only fun for your child, but empowering as well.
ABCs and 123s: Cut out letters and numbers from craft foam or sponges (or invest in a pre-made set from your local children's store) and play school in the tub. Or engage your child in a game of I Spy with the numbers and letters hidden among the bath bubbles.
Deep Sea Diver: Does your little one get squeamish when you mention shampoo? To help your toddler feel more comfortable when washing his hair, purchase a pair of swimming goggles or a child's snorkel mask and let your child wear it in the tub. This trick prevents your little one from getting soap in his eyes. You can also fill the tub with lots of bubbles and hide toys and treasures for your toddler under the water. Let her pretend she's a deep sea diver and help her "explore" underwater for trinkets and treasures.
Soap-Sculpted Hairdos: Grab your camera before bath time if you want to try this artistic adventure in hair washing—the results can be amusing enough to photograph. After wetting your child's hair, create loads of lather with shampoo and sculpt your toddler's hair into funny shapes. Have a bath mirror handy so she can admire her lovely hairstyle!
At the Races: Launch wind-up toys into the tub for a race and cheer on your favorite one. Teach your little one how to create waves by moving her hand underwater and see who can propel their boat the furthest. Or race toy cars around the edge of the tub over imaginary or drawn race tracks.
Rain Showers: Turn an ordinary bath into something unique by showering your toddler with fun. Try plugging the bathtub so your child is taking a bath and a shower at the same time. If you think the regular shower may be overwhelming, try using a hand-held shower head on your little one—you may even want to croon Singing in the Rain to him. As a bonus, the hand-held shower heads make rinsing hair a lot easier too, since you can easily control the spray of water. Just be careful if your toddler gets a handle on the attachment—you're likely to be drenched!
Bath time provides a wonderful opportunity to connect with your toddler and give her lots of love and attention. Cover the bathroom floor with towels, roll up your sleeves, sing songs, wash each other's faces, and enjoy splashing in the tub.