What do you do with a whining 5-year-old who doesn’t like to take a bath?


What do you do with a whining 5-year-old who doesn't like to take a bath?


Children learn to do things that let them do the things they want to do. The simple answer is that you're the parent and he is the child. Don't let the whining change or delay what needs to be done.

Often a child doesn't want to take a bath because it interrupts what he is currently doing. "Hmm, watch Bugs Bunny or take a bath, ... TV/bath... Oh, mom do I haaaave to take a bath? I don't like baths! ..." Meanwhile, he is continuing to do other things.

Get into a routine, such as playtimes ends at 7:00, toys need to be picked up by 7:15, a bath is next, brush teeth, read a story, and then off to bed. There might be some complaining at first, but if this is always the way things are, they will learn to expect each step. It helps also to make each step fun in and of itself. Don't make bath time only a time to scrub. Given him some time to play in the water so there is something to look forward to in taking a bath.

If your child greets every command to do the next step with a complaint or a groan, put together a ticketing system. Start out with say five "whinny" tickets per day. One ticket is removed each time the child responds to instruction with a complaint. When five tickets are gone, the child spends the remainder of the day in his room (that has no TV, radio, games, etc.). He comes out for bathroom breaks and meals but then returns to his room. The next day, he starts out with a fresh five tickets. Let him also know that if no tickets are used, he can have a special treat that day. Once the habit is set, reduce the number of tickets or increase the time period from five a day to five a week.

Kids learn very quickly that whining costs and obedience pays.

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