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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Why is my child (age 2) scared of bathtime?

    Our child is frightened when we try to give her a bath. Is this normal? How can we help her overcome this fear or will it go away over time?
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • Anonymous

    I can assure you that it a very common thing with many toddlers, especially that dont attend swimming classes. Some dont like water on their hair or water in their eyes. Some outgrow it some dont. My toddler was fine with water until we stopped swimming classes where he was dunked, swam under water etc. Over time, as he got older he was more ok about it - he still doesnt like it and still cries but at least he let me wash his hair and we are about to start swimming classes.

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  • Alysha Casey

    Clinical Psychologist, Counsellor, Psychologist

    Alysha is the Primary Clinical Psychologist and Director of The Institute for Healthy Living, a clinical psychology practice in Bondi Junction. Alysha has worked with ... View Profile
    • Bondi Junction, NSW (02) 8937 0667

    A toddler views the world very differently to the way we as adults see things. We know that the bath is only shallow and we have control over how far we submerge ourselves.  Unless they have lots of experience swimming, it is likely that most toddlers will develop a wariness of water. If you think your child hates bathtime due to fear, I would recommend spending time playing with the water and learning about it. Help your child see that the water is only shallow and can be a fun experience. If your child still resists, It is best to seek help from a qualified health professional with experience working with children.

  • Maria Nguyen

    Healthshare Member

    My toddler son loves taking bath, but hates when I wash his hair. I think he just does not like water in his face. May be your daughter does not like water in her face as well. Try to show her that bath time can be fun as well and she should do just fine. 

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  • Moushami Kadkol

    Occupational Therapist (OT)

    Although some children have fear for water that may outgrow with age; if there are persistent concerns about having hair washed, having water flow from head on the face and this is routine, it would be worthwhile to rule out any underlying Sensory Processing Disorder in children. Look out for other difficulties like cutting nails, difficulty tolerating different textures, difficulties in self regulation, sleeping and eating concerns.

    Sensory Processing disorders happen when the one or more sensory systems like touch, vision, hearing, taste, smell, balance and movement have difficulties processing information and making sense of it for the brain to understand and react. This may turn many pleasurable experiences in to nightmares.

    It would be advisable to get an assessment done from a qualified Occupational Therapist certified in assessing and managing Sensory Processing Difficulties. If diagnosed these concerns can be overcome with therapy.

    Mre resources and useful information cn be found on:

    www.spdaustralia.com.au

    www.sydneypaediatrictherapycentre.com

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