Turning Bathtime Tantrums Into Laughter and Cooperation

One evening my two year-old son seemed grouchy and irritable.  From the time that we arrived home from school, nothing was quite right.  He was unhappy with his snack, dinner was not what he wanted, and he was frustrated with his toys.  I decided to try some playlistening with him to ease the tension.

After dinner we were in the bathroom playing with water and he decided he wanted to pour a little water on my hair.  My son hates having his hair washed.  Each time we bring out the shampoo he trembles with fear and screams until the last bubble of soap is washed away.   So that evening I let him pour some water on my hair and I yelped in the process.  He thought this was very funny.  I followed his laughter and he continued to pour water on my head until my head was completely wet.  I screeched each time and said, “Oh no! I don’t want water on my head!”  He wanted to do it over and over again and he laughed each time.

Eventually, my head was soaked and I decided to dry my hair and get him ready for bed.  After we put his pajamas on, he was lying down on his bed and I decided to gently lay my head on his tummy and pretend that his stomach was my pillow.  I stretched out my arms and said, “Ahhh, this pillow is so comfortable!”  He thought this was hilarious.  I jumped up and said, “Ooops!  That wasn’t my pillow!  What was that?!  Oh, that was you!”  He asked me to do it again.  So once again, I stretched out my arms, yawned, and lay back on his tummy as though it was my pillow.  His stomach jiggled with laughter and I jumped up again wondering where my “real” pillow was.  He asked me to do this over and over again until the laughter died down.  After our playlistening sessions, it was easy to brush his teeth, and he wasn’t upset about turning out the lights as we snuggled into bed.

The next night when we were getting ready for bed he remembered laughing together the night before and he said, “The pillow Mommy, the pillow!”  He laughed a little less each time we did it, but it helped him get ready for bed several nights in a row.

Certified Instructor Julie Johnson has a limited number of seats in her Building Emotional Understanding class,beginning April 28. Reserve your seat today.

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