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bath time battles

Sometimes, our son is a tactile sensory defensive. Oddly enough, at other times, he is a sensory seeker. Almost all the time, of late, he is reluctant to get in the bathtub. So, even though we have gotten him accustomed to the highly recommended shaving cream play, it took me a bit too long  to put two and two together for our latest bath time battles prevention: shaving cream play!

Solution for Bath Time Battles

One recent night, looking to enhance our routine tactile sensory fun with shaving cream, I decided to try something new.

How abut we do some toe painting in the tub?

Our daughter, a sensory seeker if there ever was one, was immediately “in”.  Off she ran to the bathroom to take off her clothes, get into the tub and jump into the fun with toes and fingers!

However, our bath time battler was a little less enthusiastic,  He decided he wanted to join in on his own terms.  He was not quite ready to toe or finger paint.

Let the Child Take the Lead

Instead, he preferred to dump his shaving cream into the tub to make a floating island.  He moved his shaving cream island around the tub with hand splash currents. No complaints here. After all, he was still getting in tactile input through the shaving cream and the water.

Then, our son’s island imploded and sank.  He asked for a new one, this time blowing a volcano crater into. Can we say great oral motor activity? Bonus!

When he blew, a bit of shaving cream got onto his hands.  Immediately, he asked for a towel.  I thought, “All that sensory input and fun, but still a bit defensive.”

Follow the Leader

Meanwhile, his sister dug right into a second “island” of her own shaving cream.  This distracted our son and he accidentally knocked a suction hook off the tub wall. It broke, and ever the mechanically-inclined, puzzle-loving boy that he is, our son set to work with great joy and gusto, trying to figure out how to put it back together. Another bonus, fine motor work!

Meanwhile, sister busied herself with a bit of body painting and then head-on-the-wall painting.   We were so glad she began painting the wall with her noggin, as it got her brother away from the hook and back into the shaving cream activity.  I still can’t believe what came next.  He actually requested that his sister and I cover his head in shaving cream!  He still was unwilling to actually touch the shaving cream with his fingers.  But, hey – a head is a start, right?

Achieve Victory Over Bath Time Battles

Then, miraculously, his fingers joined in! Before long, brother was happily joining sister in finger painting the tub walls with a bit of his own head painting, too!

I just about screamed, “Victory!”

I can claim an even bigger victory.  Our boy, although reluctant, will take to the tub.  However, he is very resistant to the shower.  There is something about all those drops hitting his body at once that makes him scream.  He even screams when we rinse his hair after shampooing it.  But the bigger victory of all this shaving cream play came when he actually asked to shower the shaving cream off himself, head and all!!

Two Plus Two = Four Conclusions

To achieve these two monumental victories, all it took was two kids plus two containers of shaving cream.  Two kids plus two shaving cream containers added up to equal for four wonderful conclusions for us:

1. No big fights or struggles during bath time – bath time battles resolved.
2. Our boy actually requested to take a shower – whoo hoo!
3. Providing materials in a playful way and, then, following the kids’ lead and letting them follow each other can be far more productive than forcing anything.
4. Shaving cream fun is a wonderful bath time lure, thus making for some cry-free, clean fun for the kids and a resolution to our bath time battles!

More Shaving Cream Fun

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Martianne is a homeschooling mom with over 20 years of experience in education, youth work and dramatic arts both in the United States and abroad. With certifications as a Middle School Generalist and English 8-12 teacher, plus a drawer full of certificates from a wide variety of professional development workshops and graduate courses, she brings a comprehensive "traditional" background to her present-day creative pursuits. Visit Martianne at Training Happy Hearts.