Alisa asked: How do I clean an annoying little kid?
Whether it’s your own child or a babysitting charge, a water-repellent kid can be a disaster waiting to happen. Locking him out of the house is unwise (and illegal) and letting him through the door in a filthy state might be just as disastrous. Worse, a partial clean can often do little more than make the dirt “run” so it spreads easily to every surface in the room. The more expensive and harder to clean the surface, the more likely he is to make contact with it. If you don’t think you can survive another bath time, or a near miss with one, give these tips a try. (At any rate, it’s easier than negotiating a trade in.)
You Will Need:
- Lots and lots of patience
- Bath toys
- Bath crayons
- Wash cloths
- More patience
- Tear free shampoo/soap
- Bubble bath
- Shaving cream
Steps to Remove the Dirt:
- Put the child in the bath tub. If you’re a sitter and he or she is squeamish about being naked, turn it into “pool time” by allowing a swimming suit. The “pool time” method also allows you to bath two children at once, particularly if they’re of different genders and past the age of toddlerhood.
- If the pool idea went over well, introduce the “car wash” concept. Allow the child to stand (if it can be done safely) while you douse him. Go easy on the soap so it doesn’t get too slippery.
- In the spirit of a theme bath, now’s the time to break out the squirt gun. Take aim at the dirtiest parts. The worst part is usually the feet, and they’ll end up clean by virtue of gravity. If you can put some tear free shampoo in the water gun, all the better. Before you fire the weapon, inform the child that “this is a hold up” and order them to sit. Squealing and dodging a stream of water is dangerous while standing in a soapy tub! Bonus: If they have their hands in the air, you can aim for the armpits. Just don’t ever aim for the face!
- Whether the water is filling the tub by now is negotiable, but it should be running. Sticking with the car wash theme, swing a soapy wash cloth back and forth (gently!) against the child. Aim for the dirtiest spots first so when the game gets old you’ve gotten the worst of it.
- Getting the hair washed can be one of the most difficult of tasks, but if you plan ahead and put something interesting on the ceiling you can get them to look up and that’s half the battle. For younger kids, it often works to put up a few cartoon characters for them to identify. While they are looking up, you can easily wash and rinse hair without it running into their eyes.
- Finish the car wash up with a rinse. If the child will allow a quick run of the shower, go for it. If not, a couple of cups full of water will do wonders.
- Skip the wax and go for the polish. A towel makes a great buffer!
Additional Tips and Advice
- A can of shaving cream from the dollar store makes a fascinating bath toy. Use it to bribe preschoolers into cooperating by telling them they can have it once the bulk of the dirt is gone. They’ll empty the can in no time, so you won’t be stuck in the bathroom all day. Always supervise kids with shaving cream. It is great fun on tub walls, but stings if it gets into eyes.
- Drop a few sea creatures or other plastic toys in the tub for toddlers. They can hunt for treasure in a bubble bath, and they’ll be clean before they find the last stingray. Don’t use anything small enough to go down the drain. The plumber will have a good laugh at all the Legos he pulls out at $100/hour.
- Bath water coloring is loads of fun for kids of all ages. Bathtub crayons will both coax them into the tub and distract them from your attempts at cleaning.
- When all else fails, a babysitter can wait for mom and dad to come home, and Mom and dad can always call grandma.