How to get your kid to shower quickly

Dear Kid Whisperer,

My 15-year-old daughter is a great and well-behaved kid. We only have one issue. She takes incredibly long showers, often greatly inconveniencing other members of the family who don’t have hot water left for their showers. Requests for her to take shorter showers became pleading which became lectures and they have now turned into lectures with threats and anger. This seems like such a simple problem that should have a simple solution, but I can’t come up with one. -Darren, Pueblo, CO


You are on the right track! Simple problems usually do have simple solutions, and I have one for you.

The reason that you can’t come up with one on your own may be because we live in a silly culture that has abandoned the practice of listening to our elders when it comes to raising kids, and relies instead on the advice given by people with little, if any, experience working with actual human children. This cutesy, unhelpful, judgmental advice pervades our culture and makes any real dialogue about kids difficult or even impossible, for if you dare to disagree with the silliness, you can be judged as a bad parent, or worse.

So, here’s the simple answer you are looking for. This is how I would deal with the situation if I were you:

Kid Whisperer: Oh, boy. Do you think the hour and fifteen minute long shower may have been excessive?

Kid: Why have hot water if you’re not going to use it? I enjoy my time in the shower, and I frankly have a hard time relating to someone who does not share my love of self-care.

Kid Whisperer: Oh, boy. I fear that by not setting and enforcing a limit on your shower times, I may have given you the false impression that you are allowed to choose the length of your shower times in this house.

Kid: And I fear that you may not understand anything about the science and proper use of a deep-conditioning hair mask.

Kid Whisperer: Oh, boy. I also feel like my repeated lectures and anger may have hurt our relationship a bit. For this I am really sorry, and I won’t nag you about this any more.

Kid: Yes, your attitude has been disappointing.

Kid Whisperer: From now on, the first ten minutes of your shower will be free. After that, each extra minute or part of a minute will cost five dollars. This will go directly toward aiding in your mother and I paying the water bills. We will keep the time, starting with the moment you turn on the water.


Kid Whisperer: Oh boy. I don’t know what to tell you.

Simply deduct the cumulative amount owed from a weekly allowance. Do not badger or lecture. Remember, you promised. Instead of lecturing, just do subtracting.

Your kid should certainly be very angry about this. As a general rule, if you are calm and your kid is angry after you set a limit, you probably did it right.

Scott Ervin, M.Ed, is a former teacher and principal. He is the author of “The Classroom Behavior Manual: How to Build Relationships, Share Control, and Teach Positive Behaviors.”, published by ASCD He is a behavioral consultant and proud Daytonian. More information can be found at

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

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