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Screaming Toddler Under The Shower

Useful Dos And Don'ts When Showering Your Child

Here are some tips to remember the next time you give your child a bath...


  • Have a routine
  • Explain to your child what to expect during the shower
  • Use positive reinforcement for example, the "praise and reward" system
  • Be consistent with your instructions, and stay calm even if your child wails and struggles
  • Make it fun for you and your child, and minimise negative experiences.


  • Allow yourself to get too angry or frustrated. Most of the time, you child wants to please you. If she avoids the shower because you've been giving her too much "accidental rewards", you'll have to eliminate that first. Unpleasant experiences will fade with each subsequent positive ones. Be patient and you'll both be pleasantly rewarded.
  • Allow too many episodes of screaming and struggling in the shower. This serves to increase her fear and strengthens her resolve to avoid the shower even more.
  • Use the cane to get things going. Otherwise, you child will not listen to you unless you threaten to cane her. You may find yourself getting frustrated and end-up shouting to get her to shower every time.

5-Point Plan

Experts suggestions on how to get your toddler to enjoy the shower...

Step1: Show By Example

Let your child see how you prepare your shower. Show her what happens from the time the shower is turned on to the drying off with the towel. Get her used to it as part of a family routine.

Step2: Explain What Comes Next

Before you get her hair wet, explain that you are going to put the shower head over her and ask her to close her eyes. The same applies for shampooing. For example, you can say, "Joanne, I want you to close your eyes real tight. Do not open them until I say so, okay? Are you ready? Ready, get set, go!" This gets her prepared and avoids the sudden shock of water or shampoo on her face. Try using "no tears" shampoo to avoid stinging eyes.

Step 3: Make It A Fun Process

Get her involved in the whole process instead of being just a quiet bystander while you shower her. She can hold the shower head as you are soaping, rub her body with a bath sponge, or blow bubbles with your fingers in the suds.

Step 4: Reward Good Behavior

Reward her after the desired behavior is achieved. Rewards can be in the form of praise especially if she agrees to go to the shown and tries to cooperate. Tell her, "Good girl! You've been so good in the shower. Mummy is very happy with you."  Use a star chart on the bathroom wall as a reinforcer. If she gets through the shower routine with minimal fuss, she gets a sticker. The stickers can then be exchanged for a reward.

Step5: Go Through The Steps

If things do not go well during shower time, go through the steps that she did to help her change. Start with some positive reinforcement - "Joanne, Mum is glad you remembered to close your eyes and soap yourself." Then mention a few things she did not do so well, and what is expected of her next time, for example, "But you forgot to put the soap back and threw it on the floor. Next time remember to put it back on the soap dish. Can you do that?" Get her to repeat your instructions.


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