Self-Care Chronicles: Bathing
Bath-time is one of those things that can look lovely in pictures. Seeing a child enjoying a rubber ducky covered in bubbles or running around in an animal shaped towel just after getting clean—these are the things that sell the best soap. Reality, however, is full of tantrums and the mess of sudsy water on the bathroom floor. If that sounds more like your normal vision of your daily routine, if you dare to attempt it at all, then I have some tips for you in this next installment in the Self-Care Chronicles where we will talk about bathing strategies for sensory needs.
- Consider that bathing can either be stimulating or relaxing. If you know it is going to wake-up your child, then it is best to do in the morning. If it is a battle to get your child in the water, or a fight to get them out, then it may also be best to do this first thing so they aren’t wound up before bedtime—thus making bedtime a struggle as well.
- If possible, allow them to approve of the scent of their soaps and shampoos. Some are very sensitive to smells. You might try unscented or lightly scented soaps. However, if you use a diffuser to engage the olfactory using essential oils, choosing products that match those scents may also be helpful.
- You might try a “rain” shower head, or perhaps one with multiple strengths. This way, you can reduce the uneasy and sometimes painful experience a person with sensory needs can have.
- Babies might prefer to be swaddled in a small towel, and then gently placed in the bath. This need to be wrapped tightly will probably trickle into other areas of life, so bath-time is no different.
- Use baby wipes when needed. There is no shame in using the wipes for maintenance if you feel bathing in the tub or shower will be too overwhelming to the day’s endeavors.
- Try a no-wash shampoo and body wash The oil-free no wash solution on these products can make personal hygiene much easier.
- That being said, establishing a hygiene routine as early as possible will improve the experience because they will already be anticipating and mentally preparing for what is to come. One way to make self-care less hassle is to develop a visible and tangible schedule. A Dry-Erase chart like this one will make developing and implementing a routine fun and more like a game.
Bathing and sensory issues is a trial many families face. There are many strategies and combinations to consider. Something will work for your child! There is hope yet. Remember, God says: “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”—Isaiah 41:10 NIV
For more info and support on bathing, check out the Sensory super-parents mastery training