For some children, transitioning from the bath to the shower will be exciting. A bold, thrilling step to becoming a real Big Kid! But other little splash monkeys might resist the change. So, here’s what you need to know about swapping the bathtub for a shower.
Consider why you’re transitioning.
There are lots of reasons why families decide to make the switch from bath to shower. Maybe you’ve moved and your new place has no tub. Or you’re looking to shorten the bedtime routine. Or maybe you can see that your kid’s ready to be more independent when it comes to hygiene and self care.
How to know if they’re ready.
What’s the magic age to start your kid showering? Six! Kidding. (It’s obviously 37. No!) There’s no magic age, because every kid is different. Readiness can depend on lots of things – your child’s development, their exposure to the shower (maybe they showered with you as a baby or got familiar with rinsing off at the pool), and their sensitivity to water and products. But if they’re expressing interest in washing themselves, they're probably ready to try!
Start with supervised showers.
If your toddler is young, you can ease them into showering by holding them in your arms – the support and security you offer will go a long way to making the transition smoother. If they’re a bit older, and happy to stand on their own (and can tolerate the feeling of water falling on them from above), then guide them through their first few showers. Teach them about the hot and cold taps and show them where to wash – you might jump in with them, or just sit close by in the bathroom to offer support, if they need it. Because routine helps kids to feel secure, it can be helpful to stick up a laminated showering guide with step-by-step instructions: Wet head! Scrub with shampoo! Rinse out shampoo! Wave to Sud Bud. (He’ll love it.)
Give them ownership over the experience.
If transitioning from the tub to a shower seems like a lot for your kid, try making it fun for them. Give them their own shower caddy or shelf space to keep their belongings, and bring in a few fun showering treats – some old favourites (like their shampoo, body wash and bath toy) and some new special things (like a grown-up shower cap or new wash cloth). Stuff that they’ll use and adore, and can clearly identify as theirs.
Make the shower safe for little people.
The biggest safety concerns when it comes to showering are: water temperature and slips! Putting down a non-slip bath/shower mat can help to avoid any slips or falls – or, if they need to, your kid can sit on a sturdy plastic chair. If you’re worried about the hot tap scalding your mini showerer, turn the water on for them at the start – then, no touching. For those that can’t be trusted/are intent on doing it ALL by themselves, you may want to consider lowering the maximum water temperature on your bathroom taps, so it never gets too hot.
If you can, don’t rush it.
If your kid doesn’t love the shower, don’t push it. Some kids are ready by age six or seven, but others will take a bit longer – they might be worried about products getting in their eyes and ears, or just be hyper-sensitive to the sound and sensation of the water. Whatever the reason, if there’s no need to rush, let them keep splashing around in the bath for now. They’ll make it into the shower in their own time. (Or, they’ll insist on relaxing nighttime soaks forever. Either way.)