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The Times
  • Family Matters: End nighttime mess with shower success

  • Showers and bath time can quickly become stressful and ruin the night when not managed well.

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  • Showers and bath time can quickly become stressful and ruin the night when not managed well. Some children don't want to leave evening activities and complain or cry all the way to the tub. Others take too long in the shower, dump shampoo and refuse to come out until the water runs cold.
    TAKING TURNS
    To be fair, 4-year-old twins rotated being first in the shower each night. While one showered, the other brushed teeth and got pajamas ready. Every other night, all was calm and the schedule worked well, as one twin loved to go first and get into the warm shower. On alternate evenings, chaos, delay and refusal turned shower time into screaming time. The parents had decided that their girls alternated days/nights for various activities, and it had worked well, so they stuck with the rotation. They were concerned that if they gave in to their daughter who refused to shower first, she would win the battle and defy them on all other fronts. I suggested they evaluate their rules and tell their defiant daughter that she will shower after her sister from now on. That small adjustment changed the temperament of the entire evening.
    TANGLED HAIR
    Mom and Dad shared evening responsibilities and worked as a team. Mom straightened the kitchen after dinner and Dad supervised showers for their two children. While one got out of the bath and another one got in, Dad attempted to comb out long, tangled hair. Every night, he had to deal with screaming daughters who hated to have their hair combed.
    Neither Mom nor Dad could stand the screaming, so Mom ran upstairs each night, leaving dishes behind, and gently combed out her daughter’s hair. She usually returned to her kitchen chores just as their second daughter emerged from the shower with tangled hair. Tired and frustrated, she ran back upstairs to help.
    I suggested they switch responsibilities, but they both replied that they enjoyed the ones they had. I told them if Dad was to remain in charge of baths and hair, he needed to prompt the girls to wash their hair first, offering help when necessary.
    Now, when hair is washed he applies conditioner generously to sit on their curly locks, covered with a shower cap for the remainder of their shower. They reported back that shower time is now a fun relaxing time for everyone in their home.
    No need to endure misery day in and day out. Pull the plug on shower disasters with some thought and a simple plan.
    Diana Boggia, M.Ed., is a parenting coach who lives in Stark County, Ohio. She is author of “Parenting with a Purpose.” Send your child-rearing questions to FamilyMatters@cantonrep.com or The Repository, c/o Family Matters, 500 Market Ave. S, Canton, OH 44702. Find parenting resources at her website, www.yourperfectchild.com.

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