A MoM recently asked:
My twin boys just turned three in January and one of them is suddenly terrified of taking a bath. This seemingly came out of nowhere and I worry I’ll make it worse if I try to force him. Anyone else experience this?
Here’s some advice our Twiniversity community had to offer when one twin fears bathtime:
- I never force my girls who just turned three and eventually they come back around. We use bubbles to coax my ASD twin in and my other girl loves mini glow stick baths in the dark like a little rave. –marthanmcc
- Ask him what he’d like. When he’s calm and it’s not bathtime, get down on his level and calmly say, ‘ hey, I know you don’t like having a bath and you don’t have to have one.’ Let that sink in for a moment and then say ‘but you know, bodies get a bit dirty and we do have to clean the dirt away sometimes. How do you think we could do that?’ And then just see what happens. If he says nothing or doesn’t volunteer suggestions, just wait until bathtime and see what he chooses. You could ask him if he wants to come into the bathroom and keep you company while his brother has a bath but be ok with it if he doesn’t want to. Sometimes just having the choice and knowing you’re not going to force him is enough to help him relax about it and work out what he wants to do. –thebookbasketco
- You could try introducing a really high reward play item in the bath without water, fully clothed (like slime or something else he loves)- do that a few times either 1:1 if you can or incorporate the twin of that would help. Of the tubs a no go then just get him playing in the bathroom first. Once he’s comfortable back in the tub then offer a really fun sensory toy that has water involved but not like a full bath – maybe a toy “car wash.” Up the ante each time or every other time adding more water or less clothes/ swim suit until he likes it again! –maggie___g__
- It happened this winter with one of my boys. I took him to the indoor kiddie splash pool a few times (different context), and he reconnected with the fun part. That same week he had way more fun in the tub and mellowed back out. Hang in there! And hope he can get comfortable in due time. –juliannachamba
- This happened with one of my girls and she still has to agree to a bath on her terms. We got through the major fear by having her stand outside and washing her babies or other toys with her sister while her sister was in the bath… No pushing her to get in… And then she eventually decided to get in herself again after a week or two. Now we’re doing the same game with potty training. 🙃 –thebigdipp3r
- My son and my niece went through this phase. They both love music and dance so we made a pre-bath dance party in the bathroom before getting in the bath. We would dance for a couple of minutes and then the anxiety seemed to go away. I’m still not sure why they were afraid, but my mom’s brilliant idea worked for both kids at different times and I am so thankful for that! –gidoune
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- One of my girls did this too. We did sponge baths for almost a month, until she felt more at ease with taking baths again. You have to make the bath tub fun and safe for him again. Have them do things inside the bathtub that is NOT taking a bath. We filled our tub with blankets and stuffed animals and then let our girls use their tablets in there for a little bit. Another time we filled the tub with balls from our ball pit and let them eat popsicles or ice cream in there. We also put bubble bath and the balls in the tub at bath time, and that really helped her have fun with taking a bath. Find fun, silly things they can do (safely) in an empty bath tub. –always_autumnal
- Ya it’s so funny how they develop these sudden fears. My one twin was fearless was climbing every jungle gym in the park and suddenly one day he just did not want to. I guess it’s a phase. Let one twin have a bath sit in the bucket(my twins love it). Introduce things like a nail brush, bath toys so he wants to come back and have a bath. 😊 –taariqaaraj
- Dad here….Make the showers more fun. We graduated from baths to showers early and found our 2 boys had a lot more fun in “mom and dad’s big shower”. Bring in their toys, let them draw in the steam. We played music…whatever it takes. Eventually they couldn’t wait for the shower party and we haven’t looked back (they’re 7 now). –chriscaram33
- Could you try food colouring or bath crayons to write on the tub and walls? They are usually a hit. –lyndahaddon
- Same issue at 18 months. Sponge baths until they are ready to get back in. It took like three weeks then he was asking to get back in! –blaireedavis
- This happened to one of my twins too and they are also 3 (as of November). My daughter became scared of the drain itself. It took me a bit to figure it out, but essentially, she was worried her, and her toys, would be sucked down the drain. It took a LOT to show her that wouldn’t happen, she didn’t believe me for quite a while. But eventually she was just fine and now they just hate getting their hair washed, they don’t like water on their face. I have a towel ready to dry their face anytime it gets even a little wet. –miranda4ya
- My twins had something similar, but it was due to their dad showering them a bit roughly (washed their hair with the showerhead which they hate). I tried a couple things, but what helped is getting in the tub with them and play/wash together. Just with me being there in the water they felt much safer and after 2-3 times they were okay with me staying next to the tub. Now they love baths again…still hate washing their hair with a passion, but we are working on it 😅 –neko_kurosaki
- We took ours swimming and then he was fine! –tanaraet
- One of my twins would scream and hit me at bath time until I realized he didn’t want to take a bath with his brother. He’s back to being fine on his own. I would try to find what’s causing the aversion and go from there. –sophiaamaliarose
- That happened with my twin’s. My daughter was absolutely fine in the bath but was son screamed bloody murder. Turns out he has Sensory Processing Disorder and the bath was overloading his senses. We had to do spongebaths for awhile and slowly ease him back into bathing. He’s 6 now and does fine with bath’s or showers but still has issues with other things. –shannonbrady_aka_evans
- I’d try to evaluate what exactly is going on…is this a control thing?? is this a phobia that developed from something?? best to find out what’s going on so you can act accordingly if you’ve tried making the baths more fun clearly it’s not a boredom problem it kinda sounds like a control thing to where id give him the option to select what bath toys and what time he bathes (give him two acceptable choices) often times children with siblings find themselves wanting more attention its perfectly normal :)) but if its something else id actually recommend you take a closer look this is a phobia in kiddos I’ve only heard of a couple times. –aimyrae59
Do you have some tips for helping one (or both) twins overcome their fear of bathtime? Please share and let us know what we’re missing.
Question posted February 14, 2023