Shower time can be hell. Trying to convince Jr. to get into the shower, and then trying to convince him to get out can be exhausting. Once you show clear leadership, and a little bit of creativity, it will be a breeze. Try these tips to ease your way to physical and emotional cleanliness.
1- Explain to your child that his body is holy.
It is a gift and that he is responsible for keeping it clean and working. He can do this by eating healthy foods, getting enough sleep, adequate exercise, and proper hygiene. Whenever your child does something positive with that goal in mind (like getting into the shower); commend him. “I see that you are taking good care of your body. Good for you!” Slowly, begin to shift taking care of his body into his realm. It will, over time, help him be independent and responsible in self-care.
2- Create a shower ritual.
Rituals are powerful. They teach our kids that something is important here. rituals take the mundane routine and turn it into something magical. Creating a shower ritual brings light and fun into something dreary by making it holy. Stand in the same spot, make some dramatic noise (like the king’s servants blowing their horn of victory) and announce, “The royal court invited his highness the princess to her royal bath”. Say, five, four, three, two, one and by one, swoop your child into your arms as you prance around the living room singing off-key, “We are going to shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhower, we are going to shhhhhhhhhhhhhhower!” Then, grab the royal towel and tie is around the princesses left foot just so. Proceed to then walk backwards into the bathroom with the princess without stepping on any cracks in the tile, while being totally quiet. Once in the bath, do the “Oh my God, the monster is here! Take your clothes off as fast as you can and run for the safety of the shower princess!” routine.
Will you have to do this forever? No, that would be a foolish amount of energy to exert into your daily routine. Will you do it for a while? Yes, and joyfully cuz it’s much more fun than dragging your screaming kid into the bathroom. Rituals bring such positive, fun energy into the home. If I can use a ritual instead of exerting my parenting authority, tis better. Let’s safe the authority for when we need it. Here, let’s use ritual.
3- Make showers fun.
We typically find that we have to drag our children to do something that they don’t find entertaining. Rather than force him to do the undesirable, a tiny bit of creativity on our part, can change showers from emotionally yuck to emotionally yum.
Go from shower to bath, buy a few bath toys, put in some plastic containers and spoons from the kitchen, make it a bubble bath, use bath time as story time or reading time, play some music that your child loves only during bath time, let him write on the walls with soapy colors or chalk, let her shower with a new wash cloth, let her shower with her Barbie or his plastic soldiers. You can find creative, little things that don’t necessarily demand constant attention from you that may elongate bath time by ten minutes, but will definitely make it enjoyable.
4- Just a spoonful of Sugar Helps the Medicine Go Down.
It’s classic wisdom. Let’s use it.
From serious, to serious, to serious is no fun, neither for your child, nor for you. If you can add an element of pleasure into your mundane, routine obligations it will help make the entire evening, most evenings, so much nicer for you all. If your child knows that there are enjoyable bits of light throughout his evening, he will stop fighting with you so much. Does that mean you need to open a full-scale entertainment business to keep your child joyfully amused at every waking moment? No, it means you are smart enough to include two minutes of this and two minutes of that into your routine to make it, like sugar with medicine, go down nicer. Think of those tiny things you can scatter throughout your evening that will bring sweetness to the routine.
5- Before Shower/After Shower Delineation.
If you create a clear before and after shower routine, it will make your life sooooo much easier. Decide what works for your family (you may need to play with it for a while to be sure). Dinner, shower, story time. OR playtime, shower, TV time. OR playtime, shower, dinner. OR dinner, shower, cuddle time. Decide the order that works for your needs right now, and stick to that order. When there is something expectable (with an element of fun) before and especially after, your child knows that shower time is the next milestone towards something desirable and expected.
6- Clarity and Consistency.
Your child needs to know that you are serious. If you give up on showers because he is crying loud enough, if you let him watch twenty more minutes of TV before shower time because he begged; you are opening up a can of worms you will never be able to close again. Clarity and consistency means that a 6:30 shower is a 6:30 (ish) shower. Clarity and Consistency means you if say wash your hair every other day, Susy will wash her hair every other day. Of course, life happens and our routings flitter and fleet at our feet constantly. You can’t stick to this every night, but you can stick to it enough to let your child know that your leadership here is non-negotiable.
If you stick to it as often as you can, after the first week, your child will stop fighting you over it. Once you are clear and serious, your child will follow suit. Once you claim your parenting leadership, your child will follow.
This article appears in our Conscious Parenting section. Please help us in our mission of bringing parents effective tools, solutions, and light. Share this article with your email list, fellow parents or workers, newsletter, or facebook page. Simple copy and paste the article with the attached credit line: This article was written by Gabi Klaf, Family Communications Expert and Clean Your Soul Therapist, at www.gabiklaf.com.
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