Tips for the Bathtime Blues


Got bathtime challenges?  Boy, do we know the rinsing roulette in our house!  Here is what we have learned in dealing with sensory issues in the tub with a toddler.

Giving  some predictability may help.  Bathtime was a huge struggle for us (and can still be) because of temperature sensitivity and rinsing of hair.   G has hypersensitive hearing and hates sensory experiences he is not expecting so rinsing at bathtime is rough on him.

If your child can count or understands numbers, use them to give some predictability to the # of times being rinsed.  “Okay, time for rinsing hair!  10 rinses with the big blue cup.  1…. 2…. good being brave….. 3….” I know it can sound cheesy, but it helps! We also have a cup that is rubbery and sort of sits/ molds to my son’s forehead so we can rinse without it going over his face and ears— mostly… he still moves a lot.  And if numbers aren’t any good, any sort of listing or talk about something reinforcing during rinsing can be grounding.

Also, you can do sort of ABA with this… perhaps a special activity after bathtime to look forward to?  a book? a preferred bedtime snack?– a small picture reminder of this reward at bathtime might help– you could refer to it as you go– “first rinsing, then x!”

If the temperature is an issue, try doing some water activities outside of the bath and teach temperature language.  Distinguish that warm is not hot, that cold is not cool, that ice is very cold, etc.  Let your child explore and play in water in a “safe” environment to get her more apt to accept bathtime.

These are all strategies we learned through our Early Intervention Occupational Therapist.  I hope they can help you, too!


About rhapsodyinautism

I'm a Mom of two little ones-- a two-year-old son newly diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and a baby girl who is too young to make any guesses. I work a little bit from home for an environmental nonprofit, and I am a freelance journalist. I love cooking, singing, and autumn weather. And I'm married to a brilliant, involved Daddy. My son is an auburn-haired smartypants who loves trucks and jazz. He taught himself the alphabet at 20 months. He has a beautiful social smile, but he finds eye contact aversive. He is the reason I am writing this blog... because there is a huge lack in legislation, funding, insurance coverage, and understanding in regards to autism spectrum disorders. This will be my place to advocate, tell the tale of our journey, and hopefully share a few tears and laughs along the way. This is our family life, and we have embraced it.

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