Bath time with my 10 month old has become quite a chore. With #4 we forwent a baby bath tub, we have simply (and cautiously) bathed her in our bath tub. She loves her bath and it is extra special the nights her sisters join her. Here is the problem, she just will not stay on her bottom! Standing up simply is not an option, and I am forced to communicate this-over, and over-and over...
How do I do it? Well I simply say "No, no. Sit on your bottom." and gently sit her back down. No sooner do I sit her down and up again she goes. She stands up. I sit her down. Repeat scenario about 15 times and then I take her out. This has been going on about a week. At this point I could say, "I give up! There is no way she is going to stop." and then proceed to shop for a both seat or other restraint. But I believe she will "get it" and she will stop. Right now she is trying to understand what it is I am telling her. (I do use the word "no" with her, with the other three girls I have always used "stop" followed by a positive. This means I let know what I DO want from her- "sit in your bottom.") What ever word you use the infant has to learn what it means. You say "no" in a firm voice, the child looks at you and repeats the action.
I have heard people say the child is looking at you to "test" you, trying to wear you down. Not so. The child simply is experimenting to understand what makes you say "no." Here is an important tip: physically remove the child from the situation. For example Dot grabs an electrical cord at the outlet. I say "no, no" she stops to look at me, then smiles and grabs it again. I say "no, no" and pick her up and set her away from the outlet. Just like the bath we do this over and over. Sometimes I am pretty sure she thinks we are playing a game. Please do not view this as disobedience. To disobey the child must have a clear understanding of what you are asking her not to do and make a conscious decision to do it anyway. I assure you raising your voice or being overly firm when moving the child will not get better results, just a frightened baby.
I have seen this be successful many times in the Montessori class room. So here's to being patient and soon having a baby who will "stay on your bottom" during bath time.