Tips to Improve Washing and Grooming for the Sensitive Child

Often, children get frustrated when they try to bath, wash, and groom . They don’t always know what to expect, depending on the specific sensory challenges they face. Allergies, poor balance, and fear of water are just a few of the issues they may deal with as they approach these tasks.

Here are some useful tips to help your child adjust to daily washing and grooming activities:

  • Try using a visual schedule, including picture symbols for each task. Setting predictable routines will help your child know what to expect for everyday self-care tasks.Little boy resistant to taking a bath
  • Use a heavy washcloth and slowly apply deep pressure to clean the face and body. Do the same while shampooing. Slow deep pressure is more organizing than light touch.
  • Allow the child to choose shower or bath. If your child is fearful of balance-related activities, try showering rather than bathing. If your child has poor standing endurance or visual perceptual difficulties, bathing may be more tolerable for your child.
  • Dim the lights and minimize sound if your child is easily overwhelmed.
  • Use unscented soap to decrease sensitivity towards smell. This may also help with skin irritation if your child’s skin is sensitive.
  • Use a small hand towel (again, with slow deep pressure!) to dry, as it is less bulky and easier to manage. Dry off in front of a mirror and talk about each body part as you dry it to increase your child’s body awareness.
  • Use motivators and music. Praise small accomplishments and make bath time fun with toys/ games!

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