A neuro-typical toddler is learning from his/her environment all day, every day. At Spectrum Autism Services, LLC. our goal is to ensure that the same can be said for even our earliest learners with ASD. It is our belief that teaching children to learn and interact with others in their natural environment (home, grocery store, park, library, grocery store, doctor’s office, etc.) is the key to maximizing their success. As a result, we have created this list of tips for parents to use during bath-time
Tips for making the most of bath-time
- Stay in your child’s attention spotlight aka position yourself so that you are face to face and at the same level as your little one. Yes…this means the floor : ) This will allow you to capture eye contact and easily participate in your child’s play. (Life hack: get a kneeling mat, your knees/bottom will thank you)
- Encourage the development of independent life skills. A typical toddler will often yell “My turn” or “I do” when parents are providing more help than they need. Children with ASD often need our help learning to perform these tasks independently. When your child is ready to get in the bath provide support but encourage your child to begin undressing/dressing independently. It may be helpful to partially remove his/her shirt initially and let them attempt to take it the rest of the way off to avoid frustration and make sure the child is successful. You can also encourage independence by having your child participate in washing himself/herself with soap/bubbles and a washcloth.
Bath-time is a great time to sing/teach sensory social songs with finger movements. Some of our favorites include:
- Itsy Bitsy Spider
- Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
- Five Little Monkeys
- I’m a Little Tea Pot
- Wheels on the Bus
- Imitation is one of the most important skills to teach a child with ASD. Encourage the development of this skill by imitating your child actions both with and without toys. Don’t forget to praise his efforts to imitate you as well. Encourage speech by labeling toys in the bath tub and the actions of your water baby : ) Use the 1 up rule (if the child is nonverbal label items/actions with one word, if the child is regularly using single words use 2 words to label items/actions, and so on. When possible limit the number of people in the bathroom to you and your child. This will allow you both to focus on your interactions with each other free of distractions.
- Bathing is an enjoyable experience for many children. Capitalize on this! Laughs and smiles are great signs that your child is having fun and realizing what a great playmate (read: teacher) you are!
- It is never too early to teach cleaning up. Yes… we are moms too : ) When you are letting the water out (or before if water going down a drain scares your little one) have him/her help place bath toys in a bath tub storage basket. You can also have him/her put his/her clothes in the hamper.