Most children and adults don’t like getting water and shampoo on their face and in their eyes when they bathe, so you can imagine how uncomfortable it is for a baby with no defenses. Getting water, soap, and shampoo in a baby’s eyes can lead to pain, discomfort, and even infection. Learn how to wash a baby’s hair without getting water in his or her eyes.
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Here are several ways to make bath time more enjoyable for you and your baby.
Make bath time fun!
- Bath toys are perfect for keeping little ones entertained while they bathe. Choose waterproof toys that you know your child likes. Some popular toys are boats, ducks, and characters that squeak and squirt water.
- Bubbles are always a fun addition to bath time. Bubbles might be the biggest draw to the bathtub.
- Sing songs to promote playing with the water. Get the baby used to splashing and getting water on his or her face. You can choose to sing old favorites, nursery rhymes, or the ABCs. One of my favorite songs is “If You’re Happy and You Know It” with actions involving playing with the water.
- Check the water temperature. No one likes a bath that is too hot or too cold but just right.
Use shampoo made for babies
Adult shampoos and even children’s shampoos can have ingredients that make the eyes sting. Find a mild baby shampoo by checking reviews and ingredients. You may have to try a few to see which one is best for your baby.
You can even choose to use only water. Babies don’t get dirty the way older children and adults do, at least not on their heads. They’re not sweating or playing in dirt and sand. So if a baby has eczema or sensitive skin, you may want to skip shampoo altogether.
Find alternatives to keep the eyes clear of water and soap
Lots of babies and children enjoy playing in the bath but don’t like getting their face and eyes wet, so finding ways to keep them dry is key.
- Use several washcloths. Put a washcloth on the forehead and press it gently to keep it in place to catch the water that would otherwise pour down that baby’s face. Switch the washcloth each time it gets wet. Washing the hair shouldn’t require too many washcloths because the baby’s hair needs only a light shampooing and rinse.
- Use swim goggles. This might be fun for the small child who likes to swim or pretend to swim.
- Use a baby shower cap. These baby shower caps come in a variety of designs so read the reviews to see which might be best for your baby.
- Use a baby bathtub. These bathtubs are made with an incline so the baby can lay comfortably with the head above the feet. When you put water on the baby’s head, it can drip to the sides of the head and avoid the baby’s eyes.
- Use a baby bath rinse cup. This lets the water come out in multiple ways and gives you control of the amount and speed. This is a great tool when you’re bathing the baby with a detachable shower head available.
- Use a detachable shower head. Use a circular detachable shower head or a shower wand to provide more control over the direction of the water. Rinse the baby’s hair while holding the wand or the nozzle away from the face so that the water flows all around without touching any part of the head near the eyes. These are so handy for washing other items and the dog too!
Tips for older toddlers and young children
- Have your child close his or her eyes. You may have to combine the tight eye squeeze with using a dry towel or another method, but it will keep most of the water and shampoo out of your child’s eyes.
- Teach your child to tilt his or her head back. Combine closing the eyes with tilting the head back. If you do this while using a detachable shower head or shower wand, you can avoid most of the water getting into the eyes and onto the face.
- Put fun things on the wall or ceiling. Have your child look upward toward the top of the wall or at the ceiling while getting his or her hair washed.
- Give your child options. Try different shampoos and the different methods to keep water out of the eyes and face mentioned above. What shampoo does your child want to use? What would he or she like to do to keep water off of the face?
- Wash hair less often. Take care of hair outside of shower time such as tying up hair and using dry shampoo to keep it cleaner between washes. If you’re feeling bold, you could try a stint without shampoo altogether. You may need to use products after the bath though to keep hair tangle-free.
- Take a shower instead of a bath. Some children tolerate showers better than baths because they don’t have to tilt backward to wash their hair. They can just stand still and a parent can use a detachable shower head to avoid their face during hair-washing time.
- Have your child wash a doll’s hair. Your child can wash a doll’s hair to feel more comfortable and in control of the hair-washing process. After all, the doll is going to be a great sport about having her hair washed. The doll can’t cry.
- Make hair washing a game. Pretend you’re doing different hairstyles. While styling the hair, get in some swishing and rinsing. You’ll be done washing hair by the time the game is over.
- Start taking swimming lessons. Swimming lessons will desensitize your child to getting water in the face. Who knows? It could even become fun!
- Hop in the bath too. Children love spending time with their parents. That doesn’t end once they get in the bathtub. It may be more fun and less scary to wash when mom and dad are getting wet too.
Bathtime doesn’t have to be all struggles and tears. With some toys and techniques to keep water out away from your baby’s face, bathtime can be fun again. Use the above tips to make bathtime fun again.