Bathing Children and Sensory Processing Disorder 

Many children who have Sensory Processing Disorder do not like going in the bath, but other children love it so much you can't get them to get out. If you struggle trying to get your child to have a bath, you are not alone.  

Children with Sensory Processing Disorder can really struggle with their hygiene. Self-care is important but it can be quite challenging for parents who have children with additional needs. 

Sometimes a child who has Sensory Processing Disorder doesn't want to get in the bath because they don't want to get their face wet, wash their hair or they don't like the feel of different soaps on their skin. Some children prefer showers more than baths. 

Sometimes, it takes one change in your child's bath routine to make it a lot better for both you and your child.  

Some children may be afraid of falling or slipping. They may not like to touch the bottom of the bathtub because it is cold. Putting down a bathmat or a towel may help them feel more secure and less anxious. Some children could be fearful of banging into the faucet. You could try a faucet cover or add a safety handrail. 

Some children with Sensory Processing Disorder do not like getting water on their face. You could always try using a cup or a hair rinser when you are washing your child's hair to avoid getting water in their eyes or on their face. 

Some children would prefer baths instead of showers or showers instead of baths. Give your child the option. 

Once children have felt soap in their eyes, they don't forget how much it stings. There are a lot of different tear free shampoos for kids. 

Shared bath times with your other children can be helpful. If they have a sibling this can ease the stress and anxiety of being in the bathtub alone. Pull up a stool and sit close by so they are feeling safer and secure. 

Your child may prefer to be washed with a soft face cloth, puff, brush or sponge. Each child is different. You may find they enjoy one more than the other. 

There are shower heads that change color. The colors and lights could be a great distraction for your child. 

Purchasing a new shower head could be helpful because some children who have Sensory Processing Disorder prefer a shower head with less water pressure because it can be very painful for a child to have a fast powered stream. Slower stream shower heads are quieter too for children with sound sensitivities. 

A clean and organized bathtub with less distraction can mean everything to a child with Sensory Processing Disorder. Less is best. This will cut down on meltdowns and sensory overload. Too much clutter can be very difficult for our children

Some children want to have more control over the water. Try a handheld shower head for your child. There are children's handheld shower heads available.  

Involve your child in the bathing and cleaning process. Take turns putting soap on the puff or ask your child to pump the soap out. Give your child different brushes and cloths to use. Ask your child which soap they would like to use, or which bath towel feels the nicest. 

Your child may prefer a different temperature because some children would rather warmer water while other children prefer cooler water. Run the bath ahead of time to avoid the loud noise of water running. Then, ask your child to touch the water to let you know if they are okay with that temperature.  

Using bubble bath or bath crayons could entertain your child while you are washing them. Making bath time fun can ease their anxiety and be a great distraction. 

Have you ever tried glow sticks in the bathtub while in the dark? That's a great sensory activity for kids. Light up bath toys can be so fun for kids too. 

Dim the lighting in the bathroom or change the color bulb in a bathroom. This can be calming for children while they have a bath. 

Bath time is a great opportunity to include some proprioceptive sensory input before, during and after their bath. Use pressure while scrubbing your child with different puffs or cloths with soap. Rub your child with their towel after their bath or give them a massage. 

Bath time can be a really good time for sensory water play. Adding sensory bath toys or toys that are familiar can bring comfort to your child and will encourage your child to want to get in the bathtub

Praise and encouragement go a long way. When you notice your child is having the any success, get excited for them and cheer them on. 

Have you tried unscented shampoos? These can be great for children who are sensitive to smells. There are fragrance free kid's shampoos available. Sometimes it can take trying a few to find one that your child isn't sensitive to. 

Goggles are a great bath tool for children who have Sensory Processing Disorder to keep the soap and water out of their eyes. 

If your child is tactile sensitive, you may want to try a super soft towel. Many children prefer a heavier towel. 

Scheduled times for bathing lets your child know when they can expect a bath. Visual schedules can be very helpful. Our kids thrive on routines. Knowing what is happening ahead of schedule reduces anxiety and stress. 

Have you thought to try children's swim ear plugs?  For some children they are a must for bath time to keep the water out of their ears or reduce the noise from water. 

Try different times of day. Some children are calmer during different parts of the day or are less hyper and more willing. You know your child best and can figure out what time is best for you both. Bath time can overstimulate some children so earlier in the day would be best for them. Some children get very tired after a bath and bedtime would be a better time. 

Visual timers are very helpful for bath time. Your child is able to count down the time they have left in the bath.

Social stories are a great way to explain to your child about bathing and why it's important. 

Fill your child's sensory diet before starting bath time. Sensory diet activities and heavy work activities will help them stay regulated and calm before attempting bath time. Your child's Occupational Therapist can assist you with what sensory diet activities would be best for your child at that time of the day.

Some days bath time just isn't going to happen and that's okay. Some days we have to choose our battles and wipe down our kids with baby wipes. It's okay to skip washing their hair on the tougher days. Dry shampoo can be extremely helpful on those days.  If it is one of those days, just let it go and try again tomorrow.  

What works for one child, won't work for another child. We often have to try several different things before we find what they can tolerate. 

Glo Pals Light Up Water Cubes -Tray of 12
Glo Pals are liquid-activated, meaning they only work when water is in the bathtub or in a container. Draw a bath or fill a container with water, drop the Pals in, and watch them light up!
Each Pal has a face and a different personality, and when placed in liquid, the faces will project onto their surroundings, making for fun interactions!
Cubes Activate and Light up when Wet
Perfect For Water Tables, Bathtubs, and More
Batteries Last 12-14 Hours, Sealed Inside for Safety
3 Years and Up

Skip Hop Baby Bath Spout Cover, Universal Fit, Moby, Blue
Make bath time no bump and fun for baby with the Moby faucet cover, our best-selling whale. The sleek spout cover design includes an adjustable strap that fits snugly on most tub spouts, and a tail that's also a handy hook, so Moby can hang around after baby's bath. Soft, tough rubber protects baby during bath time. Moby bathtub spout cover is dishwasher-safe. Bath spout cover for kids
Soft, tough rubber protects baby during bath time. Easy to adjust fin secures and tightens on most spouts

Can't get your child ready for bath time? If your child refuses to wash their hair because of stinging and soapy eyes. Don't fear the Lil' Rinser has come to your rescue. This ergonomically engineered visor like guard is designed to keep water, sham. 
Its soft rim contours fit smoothly yet snuggly against a child's head and channels water and soap away from sensitive areas
Lil Rinser is a water tight, form fitting solution for keeping soap, water and shampoo out of a young child's eyes, ears and mouth
A convenient and comfortable soft grip handle allows parents to hold the Lil Rinser in place
Lil Rinser is made of firm, yet flexible plastic.

Munchkin Color Buddies Moisturizing Bath Water Color Tablets, 40 Pack, Yellow, Pink, Blue, Purple
Colorful bath water is a fun trick for getting even the most bath-averse toddler into the tub. A brilliant addition to the bath routine, Color Buddies are kid-friendly bath bombs that infuse water with clean, multi-hued fun. Made with natural skin-loving ingredients like Vitamin E and shea butter, our colorful bath bombs are moisturizing and safe for kids (grownups, too!) With 40 included bath bombs, you can teach little ones how to combine colors to make new ones!

Avilana Exfoliating Silicone Body Scrubber Easy to Clean, Lathers Well, Long Lasting, And More Hygienic Than Traditional Loofah
Get the best body scrub brush for smooth and soft skin. Our silicone body brush is double sided, so you can use one side for a daily gentle scrub and the other for cellulite reduction. The long gentle bristles create the perfect lather. The soft side is especially great for sensitive skin, even babies’ skin. You can even use this brush for a body or scalp massage

The innovative bath cup features interior fins that channel a steady flow of water to ensure quick cry-free rinses.
A soft rubber lip fits snuggly to the forehead, acting as a baby bath visor, preventing water from getting in eyes.
The easy grip handle allows you to hold the waterfall rinser in one hand and baby in the other.
Moby baby bath cup is dishwasher-safe and mold- and mildew-resistant
BPA-free, PVC-free, Phthalate-free shampoo rinse cup for baby 

Really safe for baby's delicate skin OR adults' sensitive skin as makeup remover cloth! Natural baby product. Hypo-allergenic, Larger Generous 12"x12" Size, Six-layer thick, Machine Washable. 

Baby bath washcloths for your baby's delicate sensitive skin. A comfortable washing experience. Great for Eczema. 

Adorable for both girls and boys. Baby The most absorbent organic baby bath towel and gets softer and softer with each wash.

Thanks to technology, taking a shower has become more exciting, courtesy of All-Chrome Water Temperature Color-Changing LED Shower Head by DreamSpa!
Innovative LED Shower Head Design: Unlike other LED showers with unattractive clear plastic face, our unique design features extra-large 5-inch high-polish chrome face with reflective rim and transparent jets that transmit water and light at the same time.  This gives our LED shower head its distinctive showroom look. Plus, it has five luxurious settings while most LED showers have one.

Innobaby Bathin' Smart Silicone Sensory Fish Bath Scrub for Babies and Toddlers - Blue
Soft, cleansing silicone body scrubber works baby wash into a rich lather, making it an ideal way to exfoliate cradle cap, ease sore breastfeeding ducts, and relax baby from head to toe.
Big kids love this fish scrub too! It works as beautiful addition to your soothing bedtime routine, a calming sensory brush or quiet, or a quiet, engagin fidget toy (for kids age 6 and older). Simply toss it in the dishwasher or boil it in water to achieve a like-new clean.

HOM Charts help with early childhood development. Designed for Parents, by Parents of Children with Special Needs. 100% Sealed and Laminated so it can be put up safely in the bath. Help your children learn to bathe on their own with our step-by-step system. As Parents of a Child with Autism, Charts and Schedules have been crucial in raising our children. Your child will enjoy following along and gain confidence as they learn to take care of themselves. Universal Charts are helpful for all Children not just those with Special Needs. Now parents can relax knowing they don't have to complete every phase of bathing with their Children as our system helps them to complete these tasks themselves. It is used in ABA and OT, and is a helpful tool for any Family. With HOM's all new Step-By-Step Chart System Parents can be comforted as you see your Child grow in independence and confidence.

Splash Swim Goggles with Fabric Strap - Blues & Greens Collection- Fun, Fashionable, Comfortable - Adult & Kids Swim Goggles
Splash Swim Kids Goggles with Fabric Strap Made In The USA. Hypo-Allergenic, No Tangle Goggles for Kids. Patent Pending Design. Fits Ages 3+ and Adults! No More Fussing with Goggles. See Clearly with Minimal Discomfort!
Latex and PVC Free. Polyvinyl Chloride frame, Polycarbonate lens, Anti-Fog Coating
No more pulled or tangled hair & See Clearly. High Visibility Anti-Fog, Shatter & Leak Resistant Polycarbonate Lenses.
Fun, Fashionable, Comfortable. Boys & Girls Goggles for The Pool and Lake.

Kitty Love Soap Minis, Like Nastya Soap, Kids Soap, Mini soaps, Mini Soaps for Kids, Handmade in the US, SLS Free Soap, Fun Bath Time for Kids
This sweet jar is filled with smiling kitty faces and already to make handwashing the most joyful and fun filled moment ever. Kitty Love Soap Minis are a perfect sink side treat to wash your hands just Like Nastya. These sweet kitty soap minis are scented with Like Nastya Berry Peach Blend that is a sunny fruity blend that is yummy and totally irresistible. Our Kitty soap mini not only look cute they're loaded with all natural ingredients for a unique gift every child will love! Each jar comes with 5 ounces of charming kitty shaped soap treats in a variety of colors, with a sweet-smelling aroma of Berry Peach blend.

TruKid Yumberry Bubble Podz
Chemical free and extra gentle TruKid Bubble Podz provide an extra gentle, truly natural, super bubbly bath that pampers children’s sensitive skin.
Yumberry scented made only with good-for-you, natural ingredients: no nasty chemicals, leaves no icky or itchy feeling behind.
No mess and no waste TruKid Bubble Podz are pre-measured and ready to use. Biodegradable with 100% compostable packaging.
Truly natural and non-toxic - Gluten-, phthalate- and paraben-free. PETA Certified Animal Cruelty-Free. Made in the USA. Packaging May Vary.

Moluk Plui Rain Cloud Tub Toy
A charming and smart bath toy with a touch of magic; fill it with water, let it rain and then stop the flow with a touch of a finger to the top hole. Simple physics, simply fascinating; illustrates the cycle of water and turns kids into little rain makers
Made from the highest quality ABS, a hidden mechanism in the Plui Cloud allows parents to open it for easy cleaning, no mess, mold or mildew
Helps develop motor skills, understanding of cause and effect, stimulates curiosity, imagination and the senses. 

Punkin Butt Bubble Bath Dough - Natural Handmade Moldable Soap for Colorful Sensory Play at Bath Time
Make bath time fun with Punkin Butt Bubble Bath Dough: It’s a squishy bar of soap that can be shaped and molded, but also makes you clean! Sensory Play at Bath Time: Your kids will love the fun colors and bubbles from this soap in their bath water. Our use of Lake Dyes ensures that your tub will rinse clean!
No harmful ingredients: Our handmade dough is sulfate, paraben, and talc free, making it safe for use in children and adults.
We use a calming blend of Lavender, Mandarin, Tangerine and Chamomile essential oils to give a fresh smell that makes bath time enjoyable and relaxing!

Kids Soaps Set with Funny Animals Toys Surprise Inside - Collect All 12 Wild Animals Toys - Glycerin Moisturizing Children Skin - 4 Bars with Lemon, Strawberry, Green Apple and Rose Scents - Handmade in USA
 If you’re a parent, you must know how important it is to preserve the skin-kindness of your little ones. That is why we only use top quality ingredients that are as natural as possible, without artificial perfumes and chemicals, paraben free, and chemical free which makes them completely safe.
Having a trouble to getting your kids to take a bath? Sometimes a bath alone isn’t enough, and that is why our inside toy soap bars are the perfect solution that will encourage them to do the washing over and over again just to get the toy out of the soap and get their prize.

DISCLAIMER: I am not an Occupational Therapist. I am an adult who has Sensory Processing Disorder, a sensory parent and a Grandma. The information on this website is not medical advice and does not replace the information that your child's therapists gives you. These are just ideas and information that I have learned myself over the years of being a parent and an adult living with SPD. If you are concerned for your child, please always seek medical attention through a family doctor, pediatrician or therapist. This website is for suggestions and informational purposes only. Each child is different and what works for one child may not for another because all children have different needs. Please always consult with a professional.

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