Until the age comes in which a child starts becoming aware of her surroundings, all is well. But as soon as they begin to realize the possibilities of ‘danger,’ it’s a different story.
When a child becomes aware of mom or dad not always being around, they respond accordingly, usually by hitting the panic button. And any ‘panic’ situation they encounter becomes a bad memory.
It can be something as simple as mom leaving the room, or not getting a response when mom is needed. Those are easy fixes.
The more complicated issues involve more complex fears. Afraid of the dog. He’s too loud. Afraid of the vacuum cleaner. It’s a monster. Afraid of the dark. It’s too quiet, and there are monsters.
Then there’s water. A child’s fear of water is among the most complicated to overcome. And quite frankly, some may never totally be okay with anything about water. Water fears can be very traumatic. Water fears have also been associated with night terrors—extreme nightmares, which can cause fears into adulthood.
Some children are okay with water; Some require a bit of time to overcome. And our subject today will examine such fears and some ideas. Let’s look at the issue of your toddler hates water on her face.
The Face is Just the Beginning
So it’s bath time. I remember an issue I had with my little golden-haired princess. It wasn’t water. It was the fact she loved running through the house naked. Not the issue here.
Everything is going according to plan. Then you wash your toddler’s face. And then you wished you hadn’t. Toddlers, by nature, don’t particularly like water on their face. But you have managed to overcome the displeasure over time.
About the time she gets okay with water on her face, you get soap in her eyes. The fear is back—tenfold. The mishap bothers you as much as the child. And the whole bath issue becomes a time to retaliate instead of becoming squeaky clean.
Their water fear is now combined with the fear of pain. And also, mom allowing the pain to happen to me. Mom should be able to re-establish the child-parent bond quickly. A consoling mom goes a long way. But the water didn’t apologize the way mom did.
Now you have a child who hates water on her face. Try these ideas to overcome fear:
- Give the child a washcloth and tell them to wash your face. Tell them how fun it is.
- Blow a bath toy towards them and dunk your face in the water during the process.
- Take handfuls of water and blow water kisses to each other
These ideas can be a starting point. Be creative. Come up with ways to ‘safely’ get there face wet, bit by bit. Be the awesome, creative parent you are!
Other Water Fears
Remember the soapy eye problem? It may indicate the child is more concerned with what is happening in the water than the water itself. The child may need to feel ‘in control’ to solve all fears. After all, they are sitting in a watery abyss. In their eyes, there is a lot of water. Try using one of the many bath boosters available. Your child will then feel ‘in control’ of what’s going on in the water.
Give the child a small travel-sized bottle of shampoo and encourage them to wash their hair. When the hair is good and soapy, keep the suds away from the eyes by making silly sudsy hair-do’s.
Maybe she is okay with tub water and possibly had a bad experience on a lake or beach. A sudden backfire from a motorboat, the waves crashing into her, the crowds itself. These can all lead to water phobias.
Keeping the Waters Calm
Some parents who have say more than one toddler may save time by washing two at a time. Think about it. What if one toddler is docile and timid of the water, and the other is a wild-child.
Too much loud behavior may frighten the more timid child. Be very mindful of each child’s personality, and try not to let them cross in these types of situations. You don’t want the child too afraid of both her sibling and the water.
Also, be aware of any extremely active bath toys. A simple rubber ducky is a much better bath-mate than the toy squirting water and making noise. There are plenty of calm toys for bath time.
Get in The Tub
Everything is better when mom is around. No matter what it is, mom makes it okay. Perhaps you have been forgiven for soaping their eyes by now. But the water fear is still present.
Ease their fear by bathing with them. When they see you having fun in the water, they will follow. If your child is a boy and you are concerned about it being appropriate, throw on a swimsuit. Better yet throw them into a swimsuit. Anything you can do to make bath time fun-time goes a long way in eliminating water phobias.
Perhaps Take a Shower
Often a child who is afraid of the tub experience is totally fine with the shower. It could be there is no large amount of water present in the shower. Whatever the reason, try taking a shower and see if it does the trick.
On the other hand, a shower may present further problems. After all, the water is going down the drain, and it scares the child. Children are either fascinated or terrified of a drain. React accordingly.
If the child takes to the shower better, offer up plenty of praise for being so independent.
A fear of water, whether on the face or otherwise, is a big deal to a child. But also remember you as a parent can calm those fears.
Just use your super-powers of love and affection.