My son, Jimmy, can’t remember to wash his hair when he gets in the shower. Showering with ADHD can be hard. He doesn’t use a towel to dry his hair either. He’ll walk out of the washroom with his pajamas on and his hair sopping wet, dripping onto his fresh dry clothes.
I’ll ask if he washed his hair or if he just got it wet and I’ll get a look. He takes a while to think. At this point I walk toward him like I’m going to inspect it, smell it, and judge for myself how clean, or dirty, it is. This is when he confesses and begins to make up strange and irrelevant excuses for why it’s not clean and so soaked. Or he’ll say “It’s clean, I swear!” while backing away.
We banter back and forth in only a way a parent and child can about such a benign and common occurrence for several minutes. You see, Jimmy hates to bathe. He doesn’t have an interest in ladies yet, doesn’t do sports, and views showering as a chore. I’ve had to enforce mandatory showering three times a week. He is annoyed by my reminders, so I have him put an alarm on his own iPhone to remind himself to shower every Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday night.
Each time he showers I still have to around to ask if he washed his hair and to see if he used a towel. Repetition seems to have no effect on Jimmy’s recall. I find if I remind him just before he showers that it helps.
Cleaning up after the shower is easy. The laundry basket is right there. The washer and dryer are in the same room. All Jimmy has to do I toss his dirty clothing into the hamper, his towel up over the line to dry and his foot mat over the curtain—that’s it! He has never done this all on his own.
In addition to checking the cleanliness of his hair, seeing if he used a towel and getting to take a shower in the first place—I have to get him to clean up after himself. Sometimes he will get in the shower, wash his hair, use his towel and realize he forgot to bring in clothes and try to get away with putting dirty ones back on. If he does this, and I notice, I’ll make him take yet another dreaded shower.
The funny part of all this is, he stays in the shower forever once I get him in there. Often he needs to be reminded the hot water only lasts so long and he’d better wrap it up. Then I’ll ask if he washed his hair yet. He’ll say yes, even though he’s struggling with the shampoo bottle and rushing to lather it in before the water runs cold. If this happens he won’t even lather it all in, it’s just a waste of shampoo, hot water, and our time.