Bathtime Meditations

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Bathtime is an important part of our evening ritual.  For both of my daughters, time in the tub signals the end of the day, and they know the pouring and splashing and washing and rinsing will soon give way to pajamas, storytime, and lights out.

Now that my girls are older, I bathe them together every night.  This works nicely for me because they love to play together in the tub, and I find I can bring a magazine, book, or my daily docket for the following day to keep me occupied as I sit closeby to supervise the bathtime play.  While this does offer some much-needed wind-down time for me, it occurred to me a few weeks ago that bathing the girls could also provide me with just a few minutes to be mindful in my end-of-the-day connection with my girls

What does a bathtime meditation look like?  Here are three ideas to get you started:

1. Prayer
As I bathe each daughter, I might say a simple prayer like, “Thank you, God, for these sweet little feet.  May they carry her to exciting places to do life-changing things someday,” or “What a blessing this chubby cheeks are to me.  May her smile be an encouragement to everyone she encounters.”

Even if you aren’t a participant in organized religion, you might think of ways to speak positive thoughts over your children as you spend a few mindful minutes bathing them.

2. Gratitude
Whether your child is six weeks or six years old, I think it is important to model gratitude.  You might say something like, “I’m so thankful we got to go to the library today!  We have so many new books to read!” or “I am so thankful for the visit from Grandma and Grandpa.  They love you so much.”

As your children get older, encourage them to offer their own words of gratitude and appreciate for the day.  The things my four year old comes up with to be thankful for always bring a smile to me.

3. Affirmation
This is particularly important to me at the end of the of a day that has been filled with more tears than giggles and more correction than encouragement.  My oldest daughter when through a phase where one hundred was absolutely the biggest thing she could imagine, so I might say something like, “You know, I love you ONE HUNDRED!”  Or I might tell my toddler, “Even if you marked on every wall in every house on every street, I would still love you so very, very much.”

Sometimes we get silly and say things like, “I’d love you even if your elbows looked like your knees and you had horsey breath!” and “If your hair looked like a rainbow and your nose looked like a blueberry, you’d be my most favorite rainbow-haired, blueberry-nosed person in the whole world!”

Now certainly, there are evenings when I really do just lose myself in the glossy, perfectly put-together pages of Martha Stewart Living or enjoy a few precious minutes with pen and paper and no one trying to grab them from my hands.  And yet some evenings, it really works for me to turn the time spent kneeling beside the tub into a mindful, intentional, reflective celebration of my daughters and our day.

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photo courtesy of Ernst Moeksis

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Comments

  1. Our bathtub has a hole in it at the moment, so we can only fill it up a couple inches. And no splashing. :(

    I don’t know where in the world the time went, because 2 of my 3 girls take showers now. I’ve never been a huge fan of bathtime, but I’m sad that it’s almost a part of my past. :(

    Marla Taviano’s last blog post..wasted

    • @Marla Taviano, as you know, Dacey can shower pretty much by herself now – at only four! I know what you mean – it will be bittersweet when sitting by the bath time of life is over.

  2. I often read to my kids while they take a bath, long classic read alouds like Pooh Bear. I love the idea of using it as a gratitude/affirmation time – what a lovely way to end the day!

    Casey’s last blog post..Things that are making me happy right now

    • @Casey, oh, what a lovely idea! I’m not sure how much my toddler would get from the story (although I am a huge fan of reading aloud as a necessary pre-verbal experience for babies and toddlers!), but I know my preschooler would love being read to in the bath. For that matter, so would I! :)

  3. for AGES bathtime has been pretty special at our house. I still bathe with my girl. She is four now, but I still love our evenings in the tub. It is a built in totally “US” time. I can’t get distracted from her by the phone, the computer, the housework. We are there in that tiny little place together and it is GOOD!
    I will start using some of your ideas though. I think it will be wonderful to reflect on our day and be thankful.

    Corey~ living and loving’s last blog post..Worldess Wednesday~ Make a Wish

    • @Corey~ living and loving, it’s true. Bathtime can be SUCH great uninterrupted focus time. Great conversation time, too!

  4. My two little ones, aged 5 and almost 2 like to bathe together. They don’t get to do every night, but they have a BLAST when they do. I like this idea of taking something so secular and making it sacred. It puts bathtime in a while new perspective for me. Blessings!

    Rabia’s last blog post..Not Me Mondays are back!!!

    • @Rabia, I think most anything can be worshipful if we have the right mindset! Now, if only I can let that really sink in to my own thoughts!

  5. Thank you so much for this reminder. I used to be so much more involved at bathtime, sitting by the tub the entire time and playing with toys. Lately, I’ve just been reading. Thanks for the wake-up!

    Heather’s last blog post..Lilac Time

  6. oh, I really like this ritual. my son is 22 months and we chat up a storm during bath time. we have been talking to LL about prayer and gratitude a lot and bath time seems like the perfect time to continue the “discussion”!

    courtney from mommie blogs’s last blog post..jillian michaels is my new best friend!

  7. What an absolutely great idea! Thanks so much for sharing this!

    Erin @ Closing Time’s last blog post.."I’ve got it all together"

    • @Erin @ Closing Time, @courtney, @heather – This is something that only takes a few minutes, but can be so meaningful. And like I said in the post, I don’t do it every night (maybe I should?) but there are some evenings where it just feels like a good night to be more focused.

  8. What a lovely idea! My children have been bathing together for some time now and I find it a really nice time for them to chat and connect as one is at home with me and the other at school. I used to get in a lot with them too so we could all talk about the day and relax but as they have rathered me not go in lately I’ve found myslef cleaning the rest of the bathroom and folding washing while they bath. This is a good reminder to get the connection back and reflect together while they are having a nice soothing bath. Trickling water down little backs and kissing wet noses is one of my favourite things to do!

    Sandra @ {mum space}’s last blog post..The view from here

    • @Sandra @ {mum space}, tickly, trickling water and kisses – what a beautiful way to connect! It’s easy to get distracted by the chores of the day, but it really only takes a minute or two to connect.

  9. For the last 13 days, we have been doing a “Soak and Seal” routine with the kids…My son (5) has mild eczema (itchy dry skin) and my daughter (3) has a different dry skin condition. The doctor recommended a 15 minute bath each night, promptly followed by patting them dry, and then covering their entire bodies with Eucerin.

    Although my initial reaction was “Agh — this is going to take so long every night!!”, I was still committed to doing it to help my kids’ skin heal. After 2 or 3 days of doing it, I began to enjoy the process — the process of massaging my dear children’s bodies with lotion. What an amazing way to show how much I love them.

    My son (5) has always responded well to massage, so he totally digs the one-on-one attention. My daughter (3) is so ticklish, it’s hilarious for anyone around! The poor girl can’t control her hearty laughter as I rub her chunky thighs and torso.

    These are memories I will cherish forever.

    kirwin’s last blog post..Focusing on Body & Wellness

    • @kirwin, oh, this is so wonderful! I used to do infant massage with my babies when they were little as part of our bedtime routine, but I guess I stopped at some point. I know the circumstances of re-instituting massage for your kids aren’t all that fun, but this is another great way to make the evening ritual more intentional. Fantastic idea, kirwin! Thanks for sharing!

  10. Great post. We usually do this sort of reflection after bath time, but I love the idea of incorporating it into touching and cleaning. It seems like the tangible feel of the clean water and cleaning is almost symbolic of looking at both the dirt and the beauty of the day and wiping the slate clean for the next day.

    I should think this way in my own shower/bath time, actually.

    Thanks so much for the post!

    Nicole’s last blog post..UTurn-How is Your Mom Like Jesus?

  11. Great ideas, Megan! I usually take the time to straighten up the bathroom, but you’ve reminded me of the importance of this connection ritual. Thanks for reminding me.

  12. What a beautiful post. All three ideas are such a wonderful, non-fussy way to connect and be spiritual with your kids. I also appreciate the distinction between bathing your child “mindfully” vs. just watching them in the tub. I often find that it is easier for me to truly relax after my little one is in bed if I spent some “mindful” time with him while going through the nighttime routine. If I just went through the motions with him, sometimes there is a lingering feeling of something missing.

    Love this post, and my 26 month old will get some lovin’ in the bath tonight!

  13. I have a colleague that spent every evenings (or most anyway) in this way that you described. She made a special focus to teach her daughter that her body was beautiful. Years later, after her daughter turned down Harvard in favor of Stanford, she received a letter that said something to the effect, “remember all those times you told me I was beautiful and worthwhile? So many women I have met at college don’t know that. They give themselves away for nothing. They do not know their own self worth. Thank you so much for teaching me my own value.”

    My friend carried that letter with her for at least a year. I have seen it many times. It’s been read and folded so many times it’s already brittle. Hopefully your message here will empower so many youngsters!

    Jane’s last blog post..School’s Out for Summer! ( My Track Anyway!)

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