More Bath Fun. An old egg beater and some liquid bubbles bath, baby bath or dish soap combine for a fun sensory exercise. Whip up a bowl of bubbles, a towering tub of suds, a wading pool full of froth and a ferocious shark (or mermaid in case we get scared). Sensory integration and fine motor work- a perfect match.
Tips for reluctant shampooers
· Water coming towards the face area can feel aggressive. Offer earplugs, goggles, swim mask (covering his eyes not only keeps the water out but allows him to keep his eyes open if he’s the type who fears surprises).
· Have your child lie down in the tub with just a few inches of water and wash from the back, bringing nothing into her field of vision.
· Let him wear his clothes, swimsuit, pajamas, whatever he chooses. The weight of the wet clothes may help proprioceptively. Or offer a wet towel or blanket.
· Use small amounts of shampoo to reduce rinse time.
· If rinsing with a cup, tell your child how many cupfuls you’ll need to get her rinsed, then count along with her. Knowing exactly when the torture is going to end may help her get through it.
· When rinsing with a cup, hold the cup lightly but directly to the scalp so the water is flowing but not striking the head. A measuring cup with a pour spout can help you better direct the flow of water.
· Commercial shampoos are heavily scented and even kid fragrances like bubble gum may be offensive. Many unscented, hypoallergenic shampoos are available via the Internet or at a local natural foods store.
· Don’t insist on washing his hair with every bath or shower. Once or twice a week is sufficient for most children; knowing that the interval is infrequent may decrease resistance.
· Test the water temperature to ensure that it is not too cool or too hot. Warm the shampoo in your hands before applying; it may feel cold straight from the bottle, or the oozing sensation on her head may be disturbing.
· If the rubbing/massaging motion of shampooing bothers him, ask if he would rather do it himself.
· Try a car wash sponge for wetting and rinsing. Let her play with the sponge when you are done washing her hair.
· If you use a hand-held sprayer or squirt bottle, let him spray you back. Its just water, right? A little silliness goes a long way.
· Have everything you need ready before you start (make a small checklist). If you are fumbling, it only adds to their anxiety.
· If your child tends to dump or ingest substances, remove shampoo from flip top or screw open bottles and place in a locking pump bottle. Keep out of sight between washings.
· Try some of the “alternative” hair shampooing products. Dry-shampoo products that you spray on and brush out might work for those times when regular shampoo just doesn’t happen. Or, try one of the no-rinse shampoo products available: apply shampoo, lather up and towel out.
Here are some useful social stories for bath time. Sometimes the use of visual aids and stories can help stressful situations such as showers and baths become a little easier to handle.