More often than not, it is a challenging feat to get my son to shower. He turned 3 years old recently, and I have to really force or beg him to get in and it is quite frustrating.
Going back a bit to when I was pregnant, I was one of those idealistic parents who read lots of books and articles online so I thought I knew everything about parenting. One of the things I swore I would never do once I had a child was bribe him to do something. He would have to do things because he wanted to, I thought, not because there was a reward involved.
The first year was easy breezy, but approaching the third year, everything started to become more challenging. Lately, this not-wanting-to-shower habit is really getting on my nerves, so I have had to be smart and quick and find some way to get him to shower without making a ruckus.
Something I really believe in when it comes to parenting is the statement “children see, children do”. So, whenever my son starts acting up, I start to re-evaluate my behavior and also my husband’s. Turns out, it was me who embedded this behavior in him. I keep telling him to shower, but I tend to procrastinate about showering myself. If your kids have bad habits, the best way to fix them is to change yourself first.
Besides changing my own behavior, I want to share three fun sensory activities that my son simply cannot say no to.
Water beads
Water beads are tiny gel beads that absorb water. Their usual purpose is for flower arrangements, to add color, water, shine and texture to the water in a vase.
Water beads are non-toxic, but it is important to remember that they are not edible. I do not recommend them for use with children under 3 years old, especially for those who are still mouthing.
However, it is a commonly used sensory play tool in the world of early childhood education, so it is safe for supervised playtime. All you have to do is put the water beads in a bowl in the bath tub, and kids will beg to play with them because of their unique texture.
DIY bath paint
Another idea is to let kids paint inside the bathroom. But not just any kind of paint! This paint will fade away easily with water.
All you need to do is mix shower gel and food coloring with cornstarch or shaving cream. The thickness of the texture is entirely up to you. Your child can learn colors, practice drawing or write on the walls.
To be safe, test it out yourself so you can make sure the paint will easily rub off when you are done playing.
Cleaning activities ( with spray bottle or sponge )
I always prepare a cleaning spray bottle ( you can use glass cleaning spray ) and new dishwashing sponges near the soap. This is perfect, especially after the bath paint. Ask the kids to clean their own mess.
This activity is really good for their fine motor skills and practical life skills. Squeezing the sponge and pressing the spray bottle helps strengthen their small muscles.
These three activities never fail to lure my son to the bathroom. However, be warned that it is addictive. Choose the right activities for the right time.

For instance, my son loves messy play, especially finger painting. Therefore I would never give him this activity before school, because it would take ages for him to finish his bath. However, a few water beads would accompany him during a shower without making it a struggle to get him out.
Always remember to talk to the kids beforehand about how long they can play in the shower for. I usually remind my son that he can play for 5 minutes before we’re off to school.

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