Bathing can be a delightful and relaxing time for children and their parents, but it can be challenging and stressful for others. Some children experience difficulties associated with bathing, often caused by either gross or fine motor issues, behavioural, cognitive or sensory issues. Occupational therapists can help make bathing easier for children and their families. For children that may require positioning or handling support, an occupational therapist may recommend lifting the child in a flexed position, which is typically more comfortable than when lying prone. Move slowly and avoid lifting a child by their limbs as this may cause pain or joint dislocation.
Occupational therapists often recommend specific adaptive devices to assist with bathing. For example, bath chairs support a child's upright posture. Non-slip bath mats help reduce the risk of injury due to falls and stabilize children in the tub. To address behavioural challenges, perhaps there may be a particular time of the day that works better for your child. Or they may have a specific routine that they prefer, which may take some trial and error to figure out.
As children age and develop, they must learn the necessary skills to become independent with bathing. Here are some tips from pediatric occupational therapists to help with bathing routines:
Bathing should be a fun and enjoyable experience for children. Try adding bath toys to a bathing routine.
If your child is afraid of rushing water or the drain, try filling and emptying the bathtub before or after the child has entered the bathroom.
If your child is older, encourage them to gather items such as a towel, toys and pyjamas to promote independence.
Ensure bathing is as safe as possible. Never leave a child unattended. Always test water temperature by placing the top of your hand in the water.
For infants, baby bathtubs help to ensure proper safety.
Establishing Bath Time Routines for Children. https://www.aota.org/About-Occupational-Therapy/Patients-Clients/ChildrenAndYouth/Bathtime.aspx.