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How do I get her to like bath time again?

I have a 18 month old and she had a scare in the bath. She doesn`t like bath time or any other water. How do I get her to like bath time again?
Thanks, Karen

Answer: Hi Karen, Thanks for the email. Children develop a fear of baths (or water) for many reasons. It may be because they slipped, or perhaps the noise of the water draining down the plughole frightened them. In many cases we may never really know how or why it started. In this case you mentioned that she had a scare, so right now she is reluctant to go near any water. To start with, if she appears really terrified or distressed, then do not bath her. A moist flannel and some soap (or whatever product you use to wash her) and a bowl of warm water will do the job. It might be an idea to do this in a "safe" room for her, but preferably in the bathroom (if this room does not cause her distress). Don`t make a big deal of this “phase”, because you do not want her to react to your worries (ie. reinforcing her fear). Maybe let her see you in the bath having fun, and eventually she can hop in with you as a way for her to feel safe. If this is not possible, then move from using water in a bowl to using the water in the bath to wipe her. This whole process does not have to take a long time - maybe a week or two - until you can get her back into the bath without her being incredibly upset. And remember - take care when taking out a plug with the child in the bath or even in the room. The noise can be very loud and scary to a young child! Good luck! All the Best! Sally-Anne
Answered: 29 Nov 2007