We all know the wisdom and know-how that tends to come along with being a more experienced parent versus a first-time mom or dad. In some cases, the differences can be downright scary. Where experienced parents have likely been there and done that, new parents are constantly learning and figuring out as they go. And yes, that applies to figuring out how to give a bath to your newborn or just bath time hacks in general for new parents.
Obviously, there is no one right way to do things, since everyone from your helicopter parents to your free range parents will tell you something different, but it doesn't hurt to look for shortcuts or hacks where you can. This is especially true now, in a world of Pinterest shortcuts and GIF recipes to get you through life.
These bath time hacks are pretty perfect for new parents but honestly, even the more seasoned moms and dads can learn a few things from these pretty genius ideas.
You know those hard, plastic, rectangular laundry baskets your kid probably loves to climb into once you have all of that laundry arranged in neatly folded piles? Yeah, that's the one. When you find it empty, place it in the bathtub and run the water and bubbles as you normally would. Then bathe your little one as you typically would, only add their toys to the basket that is now submerged in the bathtub water. This gives your kid space to enjoy the tub without losing any of their toys. Obviously, you should still be there with them for the duration of their bath, but having them in the basket in the bathtub makes things a little easier all around.
These plastic ruffled visors are amazing if you are having a hard time keeping water out of your baby's face or eyes while bathing them. The caps sit on top of their head like a hat, only there is no covering up top, enabling you to wash their hair, and the brim that goes all the way around acts as a sort of awning to keep the water out of their little face.
By the time your kid is around two, you are likely finally running low on all of those baby shampoos and soaps you'd been gifted at your baby shower more than two years ago. But instead of throwing away that empty pump bottle of baby shampoo, keep it to refill over and over without having to splurge for the name brand stuff out of pocket. It may seem like a small benefit, but when you're keeping one hand on your squirmy toddler, it's nice to use that free hand to pump liquid soap onto the washcloth in one smooth move.
This one is probably one of the best bath time hacks for parents of all calibers to adopt right now. Basically, all you need is a tension rod, some shower curtain hooks, and a few plastic baskets with holes in them. Position the tension rod against the wall of your shower, but low enough to the tub for your child to reach it. Hand the baskets from the shower curtain rings and keep all of your little one's toys in those baskets. This also means no more almost killing yourself when you take a shower and nearly slip on that rubber ducky that was left behind.
Although part of the fun of bath time for your kid is all of the water play involved, sometimes less is more. Their toys which can be filled with water and act as squirters also tend to build up the most mold and bacteria due to waterlogged crevices inside of them. So, take a glue gun and plug up any holes before the toys have a chance to build up any unsightly gunk on the inside. Maybe you can leave a few free to be filled with water before eventually being thrown out, but trust us, your kid will be totally fine not squirting you in the face.
Crazy, right? But it's true. Most bath toys are able to be cleaned in the top rack of the dishwasher. The most recommended ways to wash bath toys in the dishwasher entail putting them in a lingerie bag or in a plastic box meant for the dishwasher in order to keep them all together and not run the risk of some stray toys falling into the bottom rack during the cycle. Then, make sure the dishwasher is set to a heated dry cycle and you're good to go.
Again, there should never be a time you aren't in the room with your kid during bath time, but it never hurts to help them get used to running water, especially for some younger toddlers who tend to be a little wary of the speed and sound of the running water of the bath. So, if you want to fill it up while your kid is actually already in the tub, cut an old shampoo bottle in half so it fits around the bathtub spout and allows the water to flow down the length of the bottle and into the bathtub.
Seriously, there is something to be said for the simplicity of the kitchen sink. It makes a perfect bathtub for your kids when they are too small for a makeshift bath. It's also a great way to graduate from the sponge baths you typically give to newborns, allowing your babies to get used to the idea of a bath without the enormity of the actual bathtub staring them in the face just yet.
Of course, this depends on your comfort level, so even if you prefer to wear a bathing suit, don't be afraid to get into the bath with your baby or toddler if they're just a bit intimidated by the huge mass of water suddenly surrounding them. If nothing else, doing so will make them so comfortable with bathing in the tub that sharing the space just won't do for them.
It might sound silly but a good towel can go a long way. So, if you have to find a particularly fluffy or extremely soft towel or one with an adorable hood, then so be it. It can do a lot in making your little one excited to take a bath if there is the promise of a special towel just for them waiting for them afterward. Don't be afraid to play up the bunny-eared towel hanging on the bathroom door or the terry cloth towel robe that fits them just right. They'll kind of love you for it.
Instead of investing in bath time markers that you'll probably worry will just promote drawing on the walls with real markers, opt to make some bath time paint for your kid to enjoy. Just take some foam shaving cream, add in some food coloring of your choice. Then, watch your kid create some masterpieces on the bathtub walls that will wash right off. The downside? You won't be able to keep these amazing pieces of kid art. The upside? They'll probably be asking you to give them a bath instead of fighting with you about it.
Instead of spending a small fortune on bath toys for your toddler that will inevitably get broken or worn out before you know it, try to make some of your own. While it could be a seriously daunting task, think more about discovery play than rubber duckies. Take a PVC pipe corner and drill holes to attach suction cups. Then, attach it to the bathtub wall and let your little one have fun pouring water down the small tube.
Any parent who regularly gives their kid a bath (and hopefully that means every parent) knows the struggles of kneeling in front of the tub and resting their elbows on the hard edge of the bathtub. In most cases, they have the smooth porcelain to contend with, which isn't a huge deal in the grand scheme of a 15-minute bath. But for those who have a sliding glass door attached to their bathtub, there is the metal track where their elbows go. To avoid this discomfort every single time, take a foam pool noodle, cut a small chunk out of it, and position it directly over the track. More comfort for you and less of a chance of your kid stubbing their toe on the way out of the bath.
As a parent, one of the big worries of cleaning products is how harsh the chemicals are for both the noses and hands of your kids. Since the bathtub will undoubtedly get scummy and dirty, it's one of the areas of your home where you could definitely use all-natural cleaners. So, to get the grime and annoying water spots off the bathtub faucet and shower head, use one-half of a sliced lemon and baking soda.
It all depends on the age you see your kid fit to help you start pumping soap onto their washcloth or loofah, but once you figure that out, it's kind of great to watch them gain some more independence. But once they realize they're allowed to press the pump on the body wash bottle, they're probably going to give it several good pumps too many. So take a hair tie and wrap it around right at the base of the pump several times. This will prevent your kid from pushing the pump top down too low and at the same time, allow them to help.
Figuring out bath time hacks for kids is fun on its own and something all parents come to do at some point or another. But it's also fun to adopt into your kid's bath time routine the sorts of hacks that have been tried and recommended twice over.