From the Archives: Bathtime Meditations

Today I’m revisiting the Simple Kids archives to share one of the first articles I wrote after taking over Simple Kids last spring.  We have added so many new readers to our community since that time!  Now that the summer season has drawn to a close and many families have settled into familiar rhythms and routines, I thought it would be timely to revisit a universal aspect of parenting: bathtime.

bathtubfunphoto courtesy of Ernst Moeksis

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 went 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 Real Simple or enjoy a few precious minutes with pen and paper and no one trying to grab them from my hands.  But every now and again, I pause and remember to turn the time spent kneeling beside the tub into a mindful, intentional, reflective celebration of my daughters and our day.

What makes bathtime special for you and your children?

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  1. I love these concepts. I have 3 kids (7, 5, and 2) so bath time can be kind of crazy some days. I try and use it as an unwinding time for the kids. We talk about “highs and lows” of the day and also what we are thankful for in life. Having a bath verses a shower has become a bit of a treat for my older 2 kids so I take advantage of that time when they are excited and contained!
    .-= Catherine Bernard´s last blog ..Summer of… =-.

  2. Just found your blog and am glad that you’re re-posting some older posts. I love to read to my children while they’re in the bathtub. They’re a captive audience and I get to choose the book. My daughter is older now (she’ll be 8 tomorrow!) and prefers showers, but every once in a while I can convince her to take a bath so I can enjoy that relaxed time with her.
    .-= Nikki´s last blog ..Labor Day in Big Canoe with the YaYas – Boat Ride =-.

  3. Great thoughts! My husband is the one that bathes our girls. He’s gone at work all day and they love this time with him to talk, play, giggle, and get some “dad time.” It gives me a chance to clean the kitchen after dinner and feel ready for the next day. Plus I love to sneak in and watch the fun every now and then!
    .-= Erin Long´s last blog ..Emery Dancing =-.

  4. That’s so funny about the “I love you even if … ” we do the same thing too. “I love you even if you don’t brush your teeth” and stuff like that. We also say “I love you all day and all night even when your stinky” or other assorted phrases and sometimes for bedtime just – “I love you all day and all night even when your sleeping”!

  5. great post! It is so hard to stay present and mindful for me when I’m going through the bedtime routine so thanks for the reminder.
    .-= Erin´s last blog ..30 Days of Happiness: Home Again =-.

  6. Or you can use bath time for catching up on blog reading! (she says, feeling a little guilty while Jonathan is splashing away on his own a few rooms away… =)

    .-= steadymom´s last blog ..An Announcement and A Delay =-.

  7. I love this. What a great way to distract from the craziness of boys in water. But when I have the energy we do love the bath for science discovery – pouring, measuring, floating etc, particularly with my 4 year old who doesn’t seem able to switch his brain off!
    .-= Bonnie´s last blog ..Card making =-.

  8. Love your thoughts on praying as you bath. Very inspirational.

  9. I love this post. A nice (and needed) reminder for take advantage of the short amount of time I have with my children.
    .-= wesleyjeanne´s last blog ..Wordless Wednesday =-.

  10. My older kids–10 and nearly 12-take showers now. I miss the bath days, especially when they would bathe together. Easy, and fun! These days, our youngest loves her bath. The ideas you have for daily affirmation of love during bathtime are definitely something to try.
    .-= Visty´s last blog ..I need a change =-.