Bathtime in our household is firmly embedded into the evening routine. The kids love it BUT, to say it's a calm moment in the routine as they wind down for bed, would be a complete LIE! Here's why I don't mind the chaos and why I still believe it's so important as part of the routine despite the craziness!
After we've eaten, tidied up and played for a little longer, I only have to say the word.....'Right'....and there's shouts of "BATHTIME" as the reply. It's not a calm walk up the stairs but a mad dash as they charge up, wanting to be the 'winner' into the bathroom. A manic undressing session then unfolds and if the bath is still running they'll be arguments as to who gets to sit under the warm tap. The next 15mins generally involves mad splashing, throwing buckets of water over each other, covering my face in bubbles and 'swimming' as the kids kick their legs to send the water sploshing out of the bath -soaking me and the floor. It's LOUD and MESSY.
But there's also plenty of laughter and that's why I love it as part of the bedtime routine. Generally, if there have been any struggles in the day, by evening it's time to move on and if we can play it fair with the 'winning' into the bathroom and get in the bath tub without any tears then it tends to be a great wind down for them both and generally leads to lots of giggles - that real belly laughter - and it gets us all in a great mood to end the day on. Whilst it's tempting to repeatedly tell them to calm down, I often let them get on with it as there's still time with their milk and stories to cuddle and enjoy the calmer moments before bed.
So, don't worry if bathtime is chaos in your household - go with it, let the kids use up that last bit of energy and just make sure that you bring them back down to earth with a story to calm those emotions before it's time to sleep.