1-2-3 Shower

The dreaded shower. For many sensory kids, this can be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Chilly air, water (too cold / too hot), shampoo (smells / feels weird), so much to remember to do, managing wet, wrinkly fingers. Thankfully, we can even Sensory Organize shower time!


1) TIMING IS EVERYTHING: Think about times of day when you child is most relaxed and has some sensory and regulation tickets in the bank. For example, for some sensory kids, a shower at night is too much. It comes at the end of a long day when a lot has been expected and flexibility muscles have been maxed out. Sometimes first thing in the morning of a new day is the way to go.

2) THE POWER OF CHOICE: When transitioning to an undesired task, the power of choice can often help get our sensory kids over the hump. What color towel today, do you want to use shampoo 1 or shampoo 2? A little choice gives a sense of control which helps to manage transition anxiety.

3) THE THREE STEP VISUAL: Like we do with other Sensory Organizing supports, we want to break the task down into steps, reduce external distractions (or too many choices!), and create a visual guide. Here is an example of a bathroom shower caddy that might work – The Bask Shower Caddy by Umbra from the Container Store ( http://bit.ly/1ycrYeo). I love this design – it has three baskets that are suspended by a chain that hooks over a showerhead, a curtain rod, or a towel bar for easy access. Each bin has holes at the bottom to allow water to drain freely. The bins also have plenty of flat space on the front to hold a visual image. Like our other Sensory Organizing supports, this allows us to slowly remove the visual supports over time. We can provide strong support to begin with (numbers / text / image) and then move to medium support (numbers / text ) and then light support (numbers only).


~ It does the first step (and often hardest step for many sensory kids) of gathering supplies into one area and sequencing the task.

~ We’ve broken down the task into manageable pieces and they visually understand what “take a shower” means.

~ We’ve created a visual checklist of sorts with the 1,2,3 Labels / Picture Images (and this allows for an easy verbal prompt – “Are you on Step 2 yet?”).


– Hanging Shower Caddy – I used the Bask Shower Caddy by Umbra from the Container Store – http://bit.ly/1ycrYeo

– Picture Images: Take your own pictures of your real life tasks, pictures from magazines, stock photos, or image software like Boardmaker – http://www.mayer-johnson.com/boardmaker-software/ , Picture Exchange Communication System – http://www.pecsusa.com/ , or Do 2 Learn (can sign-up for an annual membership on Do 2 Learn!) – http://www.do2learn.com/

– Adhesive labels & Markets for the 1,2,3 numbers Laminating Machine or heavy duty packing tape to put over visual images to protect from the water.

Break it down, eliminate distracting stimuli, and create a visual support for shower time. Clean AND somewhat happy would be a big win! Sensory Organizing = Simple Changes for more Peaceful Days ~