Becoming independent in personal care is an important life skill that can give a young person a sense of pride and achievement. Even becoming independent in parts of the task can help a young person to feel engaged and confident in their developing self.
Have a consistent routine for bathing your child including the time of day, what you use to wash your child, the order that you wash your child.
Ensure your child is safe in the bath or shower. Have a non-slip mat on the floor. If your child has balance difficulties sitting down can be easier for him as he does not then have to balance and think about the steps of the task.
Encourage your child to become independent with one aspect of washing first. For example you put the soap on the wash cloth then give it to your child to wash his body.
Some children with very poor coordination and/or understanding might need you to guide their hand (this is called ‘hand over hand’ support).
Once your child has mastered one step, introduce another aspect of the routine e.g. putting the soap on the wash cloth.
Many children benefit from visual prompts of the steps of a routine such as showering. These are available from websites such as Do 2 Learn. Have the pictures in a place that the child can see them e.g. laminated and on the wall of the shower, and prompt your child to look at the next picture in the sequence rather than telling her what to do.
Don’t forget to praise your child for their successes and attempts at being independent. A sticker chart can be an effective way to keep your child focused on developing these skills.