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petrayoung
petrayoung asks:
Q:

My daughter is almost 9 yrs old and refuses to shower. What can I do?

she will not take a shower for weeks i have to force her but she will scream and cry i will give her 1/2 an hour but she wont wash her body then the water will be cold and will not get out! if she showers it will take her 2 hours and she will get out with a un-washed body what can i do?
In Topics: Physical Health, Discipline and behavior challenges
> 60 days ago

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Expert

Wayne Yankus
Mar 4, 2010
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What the Expert Says:

Dear Petra Young:

This is unusual.  Will she swim or use a pool?  Did she have a bad water experience?  Try a reward system with a new towel or robe, use a timer for the shower after which you turn it off. Make it a daily routine. Offer a bath instead. Talk with your pediatrician as this sounds concerning.  Ask her to examine and speak with your child about this.

Wayne Yankus, MD, FAAP
expert panelist: pediatrics

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Additional Answers (7)

Dr.Monika
Dr.Monika , Child Professional writes:
At 9 years of age some girls begin to develop and hygiene becomes very important.  Your daughter sounds to dislike the shower, so why not try to let her take baths?  Naturally, try to avoid bubble baths as they may promote bladder infections.  If she still resists, try to use positive reinforcement instead of a negative approach of forcing her into bathing/showering.  For example, tell her that she has 10 minutes to clean up, and if she does a good job, there will be a prize for her.  Select a prize that will mean something to her (don't make it food/dessert though!).  After a week or so of daily success, let her know that she will still get a prize for compliance, but start to expect compliance with hygiene for 3 consecutive days before the prize is earned.  Over time, increase your expectations and hopefully after a while you will not have to worry about her willingness to stay clean!

Best regards.
> 60 days ago

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Karenmom
Karenmom writes:
Hi,

I don't think it's unusual for a 9 year old girl not to want to take showers.  Boys love the shower, but girls, including most women, prefer a refreshing bath-it just feels cleaner and fresher than water running over top your body and it's much more relaxing which gets them calm for sleep.  

I don't believe in rewarding a 9 year old to bathe, that should be expected behavior and a reward may be misleading as though she accomplished something extra from the ordinary.  Don't make it a negative experience though, bath time should be fun, relaxing and refreshing.

I would provide her a "bath gift" including her own personal cute towels and wash cloths, a poof, her own soap, a robe, fresh pajamas to get into after the bath, oils & lotion and maybe a bathing pal- you can find cute poofs that look like animals, etc.

In fun a way, teach her about hygiene and it's importance.  You can find some good activities online, also my child gets excited when there is something "extra" such as bath salts (you can use Epsom) or an Oatmeal bath.  I like the bubbles that Bath & Body Works have, but they must be limited due to they do cause UTI's, etc. Natural products are better & cheaper that you can make together-this will get her interested.  Turn the bath time into a spa experience.  All girls love to be pampered.  I've included some links below for ideas.

For an oatmeal bath, buy oat such as Quaker (not the instant) and grind them into a powder form in your food processor.  Add to the bath, this is also great for soothing the skin for conditions like wind or sunburn, eczema, poison oak, bites, etc.

Education.com has a cute activity to make Bath Bombs, that I think she will enjoy making with you and adding to her nightly bath.  Try these activities and spa ideas that will not only get her bathing but will also provide added benefits to her skin and overall appearance and I think she will be begging to take a bath.  Before you know it, you will type on Just Ask: How can I get my 9 year old out of the bath tub?

Check out the links below, you may enjoy these ideas for yourself too.  Enjoy & Best Wishes!

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lindajklein
lindajklein writes:
bathtub  fill with water add some bubbles and toys and walla!  clean child.  no muss no fuss  just a fun time for child and relief for mom   my 8 yr old same thing   he is terrified of the enclosed space of the shower  your child is telling you she is afraid  let her bathe in the tub  problem should correct self and make child happy with the play time
> 60 days ago

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cracked
cracked writes:
get in the shower with her and wash her
> 60 days ago

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sonofmine2
sonofmine2 writes:
my son had the same problem. It is best to talk to her now about as she gets older, like now her body produces more sweat, odor, and hair gets oilier. Let her know the kids at school teased someone and had to go to the school nurse/or principal because kids complained that they could smell them. You love her and don't want that to happen to her. A bath if she chooses.. Let her pick out her own shampoo. Soap. and deodorant..Hope this helps..
> 60 days ago

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kilpt894
kilpt894 writes:
I wouldn't recommend that you shower with your 9 year old. To me, this isn't about being hygienic, it’s a coping issue. I think you might want to search for advice on how to handle that rather than "bath time." Showering with her only delays dealing with the issue and may make it worse.

Positive reinforcement will work, but not if she doesn't understand what she is being reinforced for and why. A shower time kit (stated in previous posts) would be a great idea! But before giving it to her explain that she is growing up, and that she needs to be responsible for herself and her hygiene. Give your daughter some credit, and put your trust in her. It will build her self esteem, help with the coping issue, and she won't want to let you down.

If that doesn't work, explain (don't threaten) that as a grown up, negative actions get negative results. That will be time out. 5min is appropriate and seems like an eternity to a 9yr old. After the time out, explain why she needs to shower again.

One extra tip: If she is screaming and yelling, bring your voice down as quiet as you can while still being audible. Don't get upset, its not worth the time, and will only make her upset. Lead by example and handle your problems like you'd like her to.

Good luck!!!
> 60 days ago

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Spirit2000
Spirit2000 writes:
Ask her why she doesn't want to shower.  Sometimes kids don't like the way the water hits them, or something scared her that was shower related (ex.  A movie, ghost story).  Try to see if maybe she'll take a bath.  I had a horrendous experience with jellyfish at 8, and wouldn't take a bath for a year, but I would shower.

After you find out why she won't shower, explain to her tht it's not healthy to not bathe.  Also, let her know that her friends won't like to hang out if she's dirty or smelly.
> 60 days ago

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