Bath time isn't just a means of getting clean in our household. We're lathering up and washing not just our daily grime down the drain, but also our bad moods, too. Dirty, cranky kid in; clean, happy kid out. It works every time, this five minute mood enhancing plunge into the water.
A few bubbles, a few favorite squeaky toys and voila, good times. It worked back when my kids were toddlers and preschoolers and it still works now, as grade schoolers, only now they shower rather than bathe.
Not every parent goes for the daily ritual of bathing kids (daily baths can dry the skin) and not every kid is a fan of bathing. But for us, a shower or a bath almost always means my little bathers will emerge on a happiness high. Feeling fresh and clean is our best defense against the crankies, along with plenty of good sleep and good things to eat.
When my kids come in from a too-long day and they start to bicker over every little thing, I steer them toward the shower, even if it's well before bedtime. When they slump over their homework, saying they're tired, I suggest a shower. When there's an event which requires extra good behavior, I send them off to shower first. It's as if they've traded in the naps of their preschool years for the chance to stand beneath a warm shower. Once in (and this usually takes some convincing), they relish their showers.
For my kids, showers work. It's a quick five minute fix that give me happier - and cleaner, children.
Do your kids find happiness in a shower? What works for you?
Akemi Bourgeois is a Yahoo! Shine Parenting Guru and mom to twin boys. They live in the Bay Area. She writes at Chalk and Cheese Chronicles and is the former editor of the blog, Mad About Multiples. She is an editor at Technorati Women. Follow her on Twitter: svtwinmom.