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Grooming and Bathing Tips for Children with Hemiplegia

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March 2016

Brushing Teeth

  • Flip cap toothpaste may be easier to open with one hand
  • If using twist cap toothpaste, place toothpaste in the affected hand or stabilize it against the counter or trunk while unscrewing it with the other hand
  • Place toothbrush in the affected hand or stabilize it against the counter while using the other hand to squeeze toothpaste out
  • Put toothpaste down, pick up toothbrush, and brush!


    • Place shampoo/soap bottle in affected hand or stabilize it against body to open cap and dispense soap into other hand or onto washcloth. Pump bottles will be easier to use than screw top ones.
    • Consider using a multiple soap dispenser and hanging it on the wall, as it only requires one hand to dispense soap/shampoo/conditioner
    • Place washcloth in affected hand to wash unaffected arm and underarm. If you cannot grasp a washcloth, consider a wash mitt, or sew two washcloths together with one side open and slide it over affected hand like a glove.
    • Use a terry cloth bathrobe to assist with drying hard-to-reach places such as your back and unaffected arm/underarm

      Bath Time for Younger Children

      • Bath time is a great opportunity for sensory play! Rub soap or lotion on their affected arm with varying degrees of pressure, or have them smear shaving cream on a wall.
      • Encourage body awareness by having your child point to and name body parts on both sides of their body.
      • Use both hands to push and submerge floating toys under water.
      • Pour water between containers to encourage pronation and supination. Use less water in the container to make it easier. Consider cups or containers with handles if your child has a difficult time getting their hand open enough to hold a cup.

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