Summer time means lots of sunscreen, sweat, sand, bug spray, and chlorine. So summertime also means lots of baths.
My kids are at that age where we are somewhere between dependence and independence in the bath tub. I no longer have to watch them every minute, but I also don’t quite trust them completely on their own to wash everywhere and everything. I want to make sure that when I do turn the bathing reigns completely over; they have been taught well.
So here are a few tricks I use to get the kids proficient at washing themselves:
My favorite game to use in the bathtub is Simon Says. I give every kid a wash cloth with some soap on it. Then we start playing. Here is a sample of how the game may go:
Simon says, “Wash your armpits.”
Simon says, “Wash your toes”
“Wash your face!”
You get the idea. We repeat the game until all body parts are washed.
Simon Says allows them to learn where to wash and they get to wash themselves, but I can monitor to make sure they are washing thoroughly. This observation gives me a chance to teach or reteach if I see that they aren’t washing adequately.
I also use Simon Says to teach correct names for body parts.
For example, I might say Simon says, “Wash your vagina.” (Don’t cringe. It is not a bad word; that is what it is called.) When parents use correct names for body parts early, appropriately, and causally, The Birds and the Bees talks go much smoother in later years.
I made the mistake of doing a “smell check” on one of my 5th graders hands one day before lunch. I sent all the kids into the bathroom to wash, but some came out way too fast. They assured me they washed so I declared a “Smell Check!”. I learned quickly never to do that again.
While I don’t smell 5th grade boys hands anymore, I do smell my older kids hair after they get out of the shower. I think this holds them a little accountable. Just because it’s wet, doesn’t mean it’s clean.
Lastly I use songs when I bathe the kids. My aunt used to always sing “Tubba Time” when she would bath us, and I sing that to my kids as well. But if you want songs that will help teach washing and independence you could try:
“Head, Shoulders,Knees, and Toes” – They wash the different body parts as you sing it.
“This Little Piggy Went to Market”- This rhyme is great to use on those black summer feet.
“Wheels on the Bus”- You can change the words and sing anything you like to the tune of “Wheels on the Bus”.
For example, one verse might go like this:
The boy in the tub did wash his back, wash his back, wash his back
The boy in the tub did wash his back all through the town
Some days I just throw the kids in the shower with Chad or I just rinse them off fast, but when I have time I like to add some games and music to tubba time.
Do you have any bath tub games or rituals you’d like to share?