My most favorite part of each day is tucking my little people into bed at night, reading their favorite stories, tucking them in tight, kissing their sleeping faces a special kiss goodnight. It is a bit like the calm after the storm that is bedtime routine; trying to get them all ready for bed, making sure they have brushed their teeth, undressed, put on their PJs and hopped into bed.
Routine is so important for all children but for my two little boys with Autism it provides a sense of stability and calmness to their little lives. They are both visual learners as are most children with Autism. As many of you know through following my Blog my two little boys are unable to speak so they communicate visually, using pictures or through what they actually do.
In the same sense they learn visually through pictures and by physically carrying out tasks by themselves. All mammies show their little people how to become independent in all the areas of their lives. One of the most important life skills we must all possess in order to live is the skill of self-care to include hygiene and the ability to dress ourselves.
When you are trying to teach your little people to dress or undress themselves it can be stressful for you both as no doubt if you are like me when you are trying to focus on helping one child your other little children will suddenly decide now is the time they HAVE to have all of your attention too lol!. We have been focusing alot recently on helping Conor in particular learn to be as independent as possible.
Over the summer he has been working super hard on toileting skills together with learning to dress and to take care of his own hygiene routine. Lorraine from Duane Learning very kindly sent out one of her super fab “Wash & Learn” packs to help Conor on his independence journey.x
The Wash & Learn is toiletry bag for children with a difference! It is not just a bag that is super useful to hold over all your little one’s toiletries when staying over night away from home. It is also a day to day fun learning tool promoting the importance of personal hygiene and at the same time teaching how to dress yourself in a fun, bright and inviting way.
The first thing I noticed about the Wash & Learn we were sent is how bright it is and that it is clearly created with children in mind. When you consider Toiletry bags you can buy in the shops they are not child friendly in the sense that many I have seen have tiny little zips that little fingers cannot hold just yet, and generally have only one compartment to house all of their toiletries. The fact that toothpastes, washcloths and hairbrushes all mix together in one tiny space, it just could not be that hygienic.
I found the Wash & Learn solved these problems- as it has 3 separate easy access compartments. The top section is closed using Velcro which Conor can with ease. Inside each of the 3 sections is a waterproof easy to clean lining. Perfect for little spills or smudges of toothpaste. In the top section we have the children’s toothpastes. As each like their own type of tooth paste their is plenty of room to house 3 children’s size toothpastes.
I really liked that the top section was sealed with Velcro so it meant Conor could access his toothpaste and toothbrush with easy encouraging him to be independent and at the same time giving him confidence that he can do it himself, that he is a big boy now. The material used in the Wash & Learn is super soft & smooth so if like Conor your little one has Sensory Processing Disorder the material used is sensory friendly.
The second compartment is sealed with a large and small button that Conor has to open himself in order to access his own toothbrush. The internal of the pocket is again lined with waterproof fabric that is easy to wipe and keep clean. As Conor has quiet poor Fine Motor skills I liked that the large button meant he could manage to open it himself. The smaller button he found quiet fiddly as he is still developing his fine motor skills so I helped it with that one. It is a great idea to have two different sized buttons as it provides a challenge for Conor to learn to open smaller buttons too. Most clothing uses smaller buttons so through practicing opening this compartment when he has to brush his teeth he will at the same time be learning how to open and close buttons.
The final compartment at the bottom is accessed via Zip. I really liked this compartment as the Zip is placed diagonally as are zips in most clothing. Conor is learning at the moment to unzip his own Jacket so this will provide and excellent opportunity each day and night for him to practice this skill. As with the two other compartments it was similarly lined with the wipe clean, water proof fabric.
If Conor was going to stay over night at his Nanny’s house all he would have to with his toiletries is close his Wash and Learn Bag and bring it with him. The Wash and Learn has too very handy snap fasteners at the top which close the bag. There is a rainbow handle then for your little one to hold when carrying the bag.
Lorraine advises that the bag is not suitable for children under 3 years of age, and is for children aged between 3-6 years old. Despite being so fun to use it is a Learning Aid and not a toy. It can be washed (which we found out after Jack ran off with it with chocolate covered hands!) by ensuring all the compartments are closed and washing in a 40 degree wash. We had to wash ours after Jacks chocolate hands ran off with Conor’s Wash and Learn and I have to say once dry it looked just as good as it had when we first received it.x
I really liked the fact that the Wash and Learn encouraged independence, learning life skills and made our sometimes stormy bedtime routine more calm as Conor could follow what he had to do by using his visuals schedules together with the Wash and Learn bag. He knew once he opened and closed each compartment having used each of his toiletries that his bathroom routine was finished. At the same time he was learning vital skills used everyday in dressing and undressing.
The Wash & Learn encourages, independence, concentration, fine motor skill development, improves dressing skills and is designed to be gender neutral.
Another fun feature to the Wash & Learn is Peader the Penguin; we learned all about Peader when a little booklet came along with the Wash & Learn. He helps children through a reading of the booklet to learn about hygiene, germs and being independent. A reward Chart on the rear of the Booklet was also a great idea for children like Conor with Special Needs who are motivated to learn by collecting their stars for carrying out their bathroom routines. Hailey liked reading about Peader the Penguin alot and has since decided to rename her own Penguin teddy; Peader instead of his original name which she gave him years ago Percy lol!x Long live Peader! lol!
I would recommend the Wash and Learn for little people just like my own Hailey, Conor and Baby Jack when he turns 3. It is a fab idea created by Lorraine who has a background in Montessori. I found it so helpful for Conor learning to become independent and the importance of carrying out hygiene routines in his daily life. It made our bedtime, bathroom routine a lot less of a struggle as Conor and Hailey both wanted to use the Wash and Learn. The absolute best thing about Conor using the Wash and Learn is that today he opened and closed his own Jacket Zip with out much prompting or help at all!! A huge step for a little man who previously could not even grasp a zip!x
A huge thank you to Lorraine for her generosity in sending on her fab Wash and Learn to my lovely Conor.xx It has helped him so much already.x
If you would like to find out more about the Wash and Learn you should go to the Duane Learning Facebook page which you can find here.
Disclaimer- Conor received the Wash and Learn Toiletry Bag as a gift from Lorraine at Duane Learning.x I have not received any payment whatsoever for the above Review.x All opinions are my own and are an honest appraisal of a fab product.x
I hope it helps your little ones to learn incredibly important life changing life skills.xxx