Aspergers/HFA Children and Problems with Bathing/Showering

"Any tips for helping my high functioning daughter to take a bath? This is a daily battle that is becoming unbearable."

Sometimes getting your Aspergers or high functioning autistic youngster to take a bath or shower can be like pulling teeth. While some of these kids do enjoy playing in the tub, there are those who fight not to have to get washed up.

Here are some tips for helping your youngster to enjoy bath time and actually want to bathe:

1. Allow your youngster to use bath crayons in the bathtub. Bath crayons are great because they come in a few different colors and wash off easily on any type of tub. Let your youngster draw pictures in the bath tub and wash them away with the tub water. You can even teach your youngster how to write his name, words, sentences, or anything you like and give him a little education during bath time. Just be sure to explain to your youngster that bath crayons are only for tub time and never to be used anywhere else.

2. Buy bath mousse and let your youngster get creative. Bath mousse is sold anywhere that bath toys and crayons are and can be used to make all sorts of fun things in the bath tub. The nice thing about bath mousse is that it washes away easily, leaving no mess. Your youngster will love to make castles, animals, and monsters with the bath mousse. Bath mousse comes in different colors so there is a color to suit every youngster. When bath time is done, simply have him help you rinse the bath mousse from the sides of the tub and you've also then taught him to be responsible.

3. Don’t fight over the use of a wash cloth. Often times, AS and HFA children do not like the feel of a wash cloth.

4. Even though the youngster may not see any need to use soap or shampoo, if you put the shampoo in a bottle that has measurement marks on the side and highlight exactly how much should be used each time the hair is shampooed, there is a much better chance that the hair will be shampooed. The same can be done with bar soap or perhaps even liquid wash soap.

5. In order to have the same amount of water in the tub every time, you could install a decal on the side of the tub that shows exactly how high the water needs to go.

6. Let your youngster keep bath toys near the tub to play with. Bath toys of all sorts are a great way to help your youngster enjoy bath time. They make all sorts of toys specifically geared toward bath time fun. Try buying a bath basketball set and playing with your youngster or even plastic fish and a fishing pole. There are many bath time games that you and your youngster can play to help him enjoy bath time. If you don't want to have to go out and actually purchase bath toys, any of your youngster's toys (that don't have batteries) can be played with in the tub.

7. Put a hook on the back of the bathroom door so that a routine can be set for your youngster to know that this is where his/her “own” towel will always be before the bath, and that this particular place is where the towel is to be put back when the drying off has been done.

8. To make a routine to get the feet done, you can always put 2 decals in the shape of feet in the bottom of the tub. This will then be their special place to routinely put their feet when washing them and for getting in and out of the tub.

9. Try blowing bubbles with your younger child in the bathtub. Kids love blowing bubbles and watching them hit the water still intact. Children also love it when you blow a bunch of bubbles at once. Blowing bubbles in the bathtub will help your younger child enjoy bath time and want to take a bath when you tell him it's time.

10. When it comes to taking a bath or shower you might need to have a whole set of rituals that the youngster can adhere to.

11. When the AS or HFA youngster is finished with their bathing ritual, having the same set of towels or at least the same colored towels after each bath helps set the routine for drying themselves off.

12. You can put a small decal on each of the water handles to show how far they need to be turned.

If your daughter dreads a dunk in the tub even more than the family cat, bath time at your house is undoubtedly a nightly battle. Yet teaching kids good hygiene habits is definitely worth the effort. How often your youngster needs a soak depends on the time of year, the type of skin he has, and how dirty he gets.

Kids with normal skin who are active can bathe daily, and those with dry skin might choose to bath every one-to-two days. In the summer, especially if kids are playing outside, and once puberty starts, baths should be daily.

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