Trick #1: Try smaller cleanings throughout the day
How to pull it off: Don’t wait till your child is a sticky, muddy, gloppy mess before cleaning. Some kids don’t like being scrubbed clean, and a minor tidy-up session after each activity may be more tolerable to them. When you're on the go, carry disposable wipes that you can use after the playground, after crafts classes and so on.
Trick #2: Set it to music
How to pull it off: Most toddlers love singalongs. Use this to your advantage by using songs to reinforce proper hygiene habits. Encourage toddlers to wash their hands long enough to actually get all the grime and germs off by timing it to one round of the “Alphabet Song.” Gain cooperation and add fun to shampooing by singing “Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head” or rhyming “It’s Raining, It’s Pouring…” during rinsing.
Trick #3: Add bubbles
How to pull it off: As we all know, dip makes every vegetable palatable. Similarly, bubbles make bath-time fun-time. Your kids will have so much fun sudsing up, they won’t notice that – horrors! – they’re losing their beloved mud-and-grime layers.
Trick #4: Let them take control (also known as The Reverse Psychology Trick)
How to pull it off: Tell your child that you’re the only one who can handle getting them clean from head to toe. Tell them it is a very hard job and that you know you are the only one who can manage it. Expect a “No! I can do it!” in reply. Ask them if they’re up for the task, while getting out a bath mitt or washcloth. Tell them that it only fits on your hand, and then get ready to hand it over when your toddler insists it fits his/her hand, too. (Which it will!) Let them take charge and wash up. You? You can sit back and read a magazine. (But for safety's sake, never leave a toddler alone in a bathtub.)
Trick #5: Let them be the shopper
How to pull it off: Kids, even toddlers, like to have choices. When you go grocery shopping, encourage them to help you choose which fresh fruit and vegetables to buy. At home, let them decide if snack time will feature apple slices and cheddar, or orange wedges and toast. Blue jacket or red hoodie? Choices make toddlers feel more like big kids.
Similarly, if you let your little kid select their own hygiene and bath products, you’ll be more likely to get “buy-in.” They’ll be more likely to remember to wash their hands if they see the hand soap they selected, and be more likely to remind you that it’s bath time if they’re looking forward to a fun bath mitt or bubbling wash of their choosing. Supervision is obviously still needed, but cooperation is more likely than ever.
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