Turning Bathtime Tantrums Into Laughter and Cooperation

~ From Certified Instructor Julie Johnson

One evening my two year-old son seemed grouchy and irritable.  From the time that we arrived home from school, nothing was 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.  My son hates having his hair washed.  Each time we bring out shampoo he trembles with fear and screams until the last bubble of soap is washed away.  On that evening, he decided he wanted to pour a little water on my hair. I let him, yelping in the process.

He thought this was very funny.  I followed his laughter and he continued to pour water on my head until it was completely wet.  I screeched each time and said, “Oh no! I don’t wabath time tantrumsnt water on my head!”  He wanted to do it over and over again and he laughed each time.

Eventually, my head was soaked. I dried my hair and got him ready for bed.  After we put on his pajamas, he was lying down on his bed. I  gently lay my head on his tummy and pretended 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.

He jiggled with laughter as 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 these playlistening sessions, it was easy to brush his teeth and he wasn’t upset about turning out the lights as we snuggled into bed. And i noticed lasting change.

The next night when we were getting ready for bed he remembered our games and us laughing together. “The pillow Mommy, the pillow,”  he said. The game helped him get ready for bed several nights in a row.


toddler tantrums

For your free copy of Tantrums and Indignation by Patty Wipfler, click here. You can find more on Playlistening in Playlistening With Whining Changes Everything, Playlistening: Letting Go of the Pacifier and Staylistening and Playlistening: Using the Potty

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