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Preschoolers & Kindergartners What a fun time in life! Time to learn 123's and ABC's. At the same time, they're leaving that babyhood we'll miss so much!

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Old 11-03-2002, 05:38 PM
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Question Irrational fear of bathtub.......

My 3 year old daughter has always liked having a bath, except that she had to take all her toys out before draining the tub. If my husband or I would have a shower, she would want to come in too, but the plug had to be in, or she would get upset. About a month ago, she would freak if we let the water out of the tub, even if it was an hour after her bath. then last night, I wasn't feeling well, so I thought that it would be nice if we had a bath together, and because I was in the tub, the water level was higher, and water started going out that drain part that is about 3/4 of the way up (I don't know the name for that). Well, needless to say, she lost it! She wouldn't get in the tub, and she kept telling me to get out of the tub, and she was saying that the water was running away! I think she is scared that she is going to get sucked down the drain. I tried telling her that she is too big to firt in the drain, and only water can go down there! I don't know what else to do, because tonight she doesn't even want to have a bath. Any suggestions???
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Old 11-04-2002, 03:35 AM
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I have searched the internet on this topic and a few people have given these possible solutions. I hope one of them can help.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A fear of the unknown is scary to a child because it is unpredictable. Young children thrive on routine, repetition, and predictability. A fear of the unknown can also come from something that is misunderstood.

Misunderstood Example: -- A child my start to fear things that they have misunderstood. A big one is, young children may develop a fear of the bathtub or toilet. Usually this fear arises because she may fear that she will be rushed down with the water. Now as an adult you might think this is silly. She obviously canít be sucked down the drain. Sheís too big. You know this and I know this, but this might not be a concept your child understands yet.

Fear is not all bad: --- Fear is a necessary part of your childís development. After all, fear provides your child with self-protection. Not all cats are friendly. A dark room can be a dangerous place. Your child showing her fear is a sign of mental development. Known fears require the use of memory. To fear the pediatrician she would have to remember the last visit. Even the fear of the bathtub drain shows she has enough intellect to imagine she might be washed down.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Helping your child with their fears:

Here are a few guidelines to follow when dealing with a fearful child.

1. Reassure your child: ďI know you are afraid of the thunder. It is very loud. But it canít hurt you. It is just a noise.Ē Hold and sooth your child while using reassuring words.

2. Take your childís fears seriously! They are real in her eyes!

3. Look at the situation from your childís viewpoint. Suppose your child is afraid of a walking and talking toy. She doesnít realize the toy is not alive. After all, the toy is moving and talking. Children donít start to understand alive and mechanical till there late preschool years.

4. Be patient with your child. Slowly introduce and re-introduce fearful situations. Be sure to reassure her and provide plenty of comfort and a safety zone if possible.

5. Donít try to jolly her out of a fear by saying ďyouíre not scared.Ē She is scared! Saying she isnít doesnít alleviate the fear. But it can make her feel bad about herself.

6. Donít try to force your child to do something that frightens her. If she is afraid of dogs. Forcing her to pet one will not break her fear. It could intensify it.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


About Our Kids Org has a good article on Childrens Fears



I hope these help you.
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Old 11-04-2002, 09:33 AM
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Fear of bathtub

Thank you for your help, it sounds like the best thing to do is just wait it out. She had a bath last night, although she was hesitant. I didn't drain the tub until after she was asleep. But, as long as I can get her hair washed and get some soap on her, I'm happy.
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Old 11-09-2002, 02:54 PM
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I suggest going to your hardware store...with her...or wal mart...menards etc...and get one of those little plugs that is made out of a screen. It is made to prevent hair etc from getting stuck in a drain. Let her put some of her toys in the sink first. Fill up the sink and then, when it is time to stop...put the screen over the drain. Let her see that her toys will not go down. Just tell her that it is a "toy catcher". Next, move it to the bathroom. You could even attatch a small string to it and tie it around the faucet so that it won't get lost. Maybe this will help her understand that things won't go down the drain.

Sometimes all you need is a hands on approach to the problem. I know that sort of thing works with my children!

Best of luck!
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Old 11-09-2002, 05:09 PM
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Hi!

My daughter's favorite cartoon is the "Rugrats." On one episode, Angelica told the babies (Chucky and Tommy) to be afraid of the tub after their parents had tried to convince them not to be. The babies had to take a bath and so decided to put sand in the tub to stop the water from going down the drain. They also did alot of other silly things. Eventually they figured out they couldn't go down the drain.

Maybe you could find this episode on video. Sometimes the cartoons help.

Maybe she can take a bath with someone her size who isn't afraid. Or even a bubblebath.

I hope this helps.
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Old 11-09-2002, 07:11 PM
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musicmom1
I agree with musicmom1. I would put water in the bath tub and have her compare the size of her toys with the size of her.
Let her sit on the outside of the tub let her play and then have her watch the water go down the drain and have her notice that the toys are to big. ---If that doesn't work, she will out grow it
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Old 11-09-2002, 09:28 PM
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After years of health education experience, and raising 12 and 8 year old daughters, ...I know that at this stage of development ( @3 years old ) ... children have trouble differentiating where their physical bodies actually begin and end...

For example.... Some children while toilet training become VERY upset about flushing away their "product"..because they see it as a "part" of themselves... they feel terrified at the idea that you would flush a "part of their body" down the toilet!

To some kids..the bath water itself becomes an extension of their skin...as they sit naked in it...it becomes an extension of them..and the idea ofit draining away is frightening to them...and yet it's confusing that it frightens them at the same time....

With yet others....it's that favorite shirt or pair of bottoms.... You have to strip it off of them while they sleep to get it washed, and it you don't manage to get it back to them before they are awake...they tantrum and tremble at the machine the entire time in a total panic!

Eventually they get it. They do learn that they are seperate from the shirt and the bath water and the poop....

But it's a huge cognitive leap.

Until then, offer her a bath inside a baby tub again... or allow her to bathe in the sink, or just drain her tub after she is in bed.... Whatever works for you guys.

Just let her choose when to pull the plug.... Empowerment is the key. She will get it eventually. We all do.
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Old 11-11-2002, 09:07 PM
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Thanks for the input everyone, I think that I agree that this is something that I just have to wait out. "This too, shall pass". Now I just have to figure out how to get her to go to bed, and to get her to eat her breakfast in the morning so she isn't so crabby at preschool, but I guess that is another thread! Lol. Again thank you!
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Old 11-12-2002, 05:19 PM
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My grandchild is now in his early teens but as a toddler, he feared the bath tub and like your child, if the plug was in, he felt safer. We eventually learned he was not afraid of being sucked down the drain, what he feared is what would come UP the drain. He was positive creatures from the ocean were going to come up the drain into the bath tub and hurt him. No amount of rationality or logic worked, he was sure of it. We tried something that did work, at least to calm him. We added a little liquid food coloring and shampoo to the water to make bubbles and make the water colored. We told him that if anything came up the drain, the water was colored and wouldn't find him. Okay, silly, but it worked. He is old enough now to understand his fear is illogical but he still thinks about it every now and then.

Mary Ann
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