Shower time can feel like a battle, for caregivers and children alike! How is it that they refuse to get in when you know they love it so much and then don’t want to get out. Have a read of this tips to see if there is something new you can try:
Use Stealth Mode:
Go with the smaller steps that lead up to eventually stepping a foot in the shower. You may not even mention the big demand of ‘its shower time’ at all. For example use smaller demands like ‘let’s take our shoes off together’ ‘do you know how to turn the water on?’. You can push and meet resistance by starting with the big demand or use that time to step them through the small lead up to them having a shower.
What are ways that you can disguise shower time as something they want to do? Can they wash their favourite toy? Use washable markers to draw on the tiles? This distraction technique only seems to work for a short period of time and generally for little kids. Once they cue onto this trick and you haven’t delt with the underlying causes for refusing a shower, then you have to keep coming up with new ideas.
Bring in choice, control and discussion around aspects of showering. When it is not near shower time and they are calm, have a chat to them about what they would like shower time to look like. Get them involved in the planning. When shopping can they choose the type of soap they want and the flannel/loafa that they will use to apply it? Can they choose what time of day they want to shower, what activities go before or after, how they want you to remind them, what things they need to prepare to be ready to go in/out. Trial their ideas and if they work then celebrate, if they don’t have another discussion to come up with another plan.
Kids rely on predictability to feel safe and to help prepare for what is coming next. When there is a rhythm or routine for when shower time occurs then it helps them to feel ready. If a child is feeling unsafe and not wanting to meet demands, then start to build on more predictability into their day to day routine. Do the same activities and order of things in the lead up to shower time. This gives their body lots of clues of what is about to happen so that ‘shower time’ isn’t such a big surprise and threat. Do they same things after shower time so they know what to expect when they hop out, so they don’t feel so threatened by the change in activity and plan. You can set up predictability as patterns and rhythms you do each day or you can be more explicit and have a visual schedule of things that are going to happen.