Sometimes physicians recommend wet wraps to support skin healing for inflammatory skin issues such as eczema. If your physician has recommended that you try wet wraps as a part of your treatment plan, here are some ideas to help support that process. Talk to your dermatologist or pediatrician before beginning a wet wrap regimen.
Getting your child to comply with wet wraps can feel like can be a battle! Which if you think about it, is a little ironic, because by administering wet wraps you are helping your child’s suit of armor, their skin defends itself against the outside world! So let us talk strategy, determine some “weapons” for your arsenal, and let’s realign so that you and your child can go from enemies to allies.
Before you begin:
How are you doing wet wraps? I have heard from some mamas that their favorite way is to use two pairs of pajamas, get one pair nice and wet and then put a dry pair on top. (You can also use, leggings and fitted long-sleeved t-shirts, whatever is the most comfortable for your child and keeps that moisture close to the skin!) This way, a kiddo doesn’t have to lay still with towels on top of them but can be up and moving about, laying on the couch or the carpet in front of the tv! This can be done with socks and gloves as well.
Where are you doing wet wraps? Instead of in their bedroom or yours, can you do it in front of the tv? In the playroom? With an iPad? If you don’t want your couch or bed getting wet, but that is your child’s favorite spot…can you lay down a cheap blue tarp first or a shower curtain from the dollar store? Where can you do your wet wraps that will ensure the best compliance from your kiddo?
When are you doing wet wraps? Of course, bedtime is when we want our kids’ skin to feel at its best, but bedtime on its own can be a struggle, so allow yourself some extra time. If your child is not going to sleep in their wet wrap, can they wear their wet wraps and then play and have a gap between application and bedtime where you insert your typical bedtime routine? This way it isn’t a lot of structured tasks happening back to back and all at once. Bonus, if wet wraps are a struggle, you are allowing yourself a calm down period before bedtime.
Going from Enemies to Allies
- Explain Why! Helping even young children make connections between treatments and outcomes can be very effective and can help to develop engagement in their care in the future. Here is a video we created demonstrating how clean moist skin absorbs moisture from lotions and ointments more effectively than dry dirty skin. For even younger children, you might just use a short 3 step explanation: Your skin is very dry and itchy. The more it gets itches and scratches, it could crack and bleed. When your skin cracks, there are spaces for germs to get inside and that isn’t safe. So we need to work together to heal your skin and keep germs out. You might find yourself explaining this every day several times a day! Hold strong, parents!
- Keep this time special: Do you ever treat yourself to a special large coffee when you know it is going to be a particularly agonizing day at work? Or only allow yourself to watch a favorite tv show when you are on the treadmill? Recreate that for your kiddo by allowing “special” things during wet wrap time. For example, maybe you have a bag of particularly distracting toy tools that you pull out only when you do wet wraps or soaks. Maybe that is the only time Ipads are allowed after bath time or a certain app or special silly show? Maybe that is the only time we are allowed to blow bubbles INSIDE the house. Or a popsicle is allowed, right before bedtime? Glitter? Slime? That annoying song your kid loves? Whatever it is for your kiddo, choose your “special” and keep it sacred for that time.
- Show them how it’s working, measure progress:
- Physical Progress: Take a picture of their skin each time before and after wet wrap time and show them how it is improving. Download a free photo collage app on your phone to show some effective side by side of their skin getting better and involve your child in this part if they are old enough!
- Behavioral Progress: Put a sticker on the calendar for each day that they participated in their wet wrapping. Then help them reframe the experience: I know you didn’t want to do your wet wraps, but look you did them 3 days in a row! I knew you could do it and now you are helping your skin!
- Sensational Progress: Ask them a word to describe their skin each night before bed. (Itchy, Ok, Stinging, comfortable, etc). Help them recall nights with wet wraps or after and how they are compared to others. Help them draw appropriate and supportive parallels.
- Giving Back Control Whenever Possible: Part of the reason that kids don’t want to do wet wraps is a plain and simple loss of control. The whole psychosocial and emotional goal of growing up is to have control of yourself, your behaviors, and your actions. So on some level, just like a lot of things we do for our kids good, wet wraps are just another example of taking back control. How can we give back control and still get them through doing what needs to be done?
- Offer Choices and Participation: Do you want to do your wet wraps after homework or during homework? Do you want to get your pajamas wet with me or by yourself? Do you want to watch TV or play the Ipad, while I put on your cream?
- Allow them to “Be In Charge” Allow your child to put cream or lotion on you once in a while! Allow your child to wet wrap their dolls. Let things get messy. There is a real therapeutic benefit for your child to be in control within limits (ie they can use the Vaseline but not the prescription on you!)
Getting wet wraps may feel like a battle, but they can make a big difference in the war on eczema. We are here, so that you never have to feel like you are fighting alone. For emotional, social, or spiritual support for your child with eczema please consider reaching out to us at A Children’s House for the Soul. We are here to help, because you were made a masterpiece.
Written by: Lindsay O'Sullivan
Lindsay is a Certified Child Life Specialist with a Master’s degree in Human Development and Family Studies. Prior to her work with A Children’s House for the Soul Lindsay worked at Texas Children’s Hospital for 5 years where she provided coping support and education for children and teenagers in over 10 different medical specialties, dermatology being one! Lindsay also taught child life and child development courses at San Jacinto College and serves as program director for Camp Discovery Texas.
Is there anything more fun than being able to celebrate Christmas in July with friends at the ACHFTS House? We think not! We had the most amazing day celebrating all things Christmas during our annual “Itching to get out event!” We got messy making some delicious cookies in our ACH kitchen, made a splash and …
We had such a special day out Camp for all, for our Camp Dermadillo Family Day! We rode horses, panned for jewels, rock climbed, ziplined, laughed, played, shot arrows, and even sang happy birthday! So many new friends were made and everyone was reminded that they were made a masterpiece! We had several new families …
Our Praise Party on March 6th was such a special day! We had cookies, played with toys and created prayer and wish boxes. Most importantly we took the time to celebrate all of the wonderful gifts that have been provided to us through the end of 2021 and into 2022. We are so grateful for the provision of our amazing donors, our wonderful volunteers, and dear friends and families who help us to live our mission every day. Most of all we are grateful to Jesus, the Lord our God who through all of these allows us to spread His message that we are all made a masterpiece. Check out our Praise and Answered Prayers Board to see just some of our 2021 blessings.
A Children’s House For The Soul was honored to participate in the 2022 Chevron Houston Marathon! It was our first year as a run for a reason charity and we were so blessed with such a special opportunity! We had a team of over 10 half and full marathon runners, and 8 5K runners representing …
When we feel overwhelmed or stressed, it can be tempting to tell ourselves (or each other!) Just relax, calm down! When we are stressed or freaking out, that is easier said than done. That’s why preparing a “coping tool kit,” a set of strategies for dealing with stress can be really powerful.
Do you freak out when you break out? I know I have! It is natural when we have a break-out to look in the mirror and think things like “These pimples are gross!” “I hate my skin!” “Things are never going to get any better!” Even though it is natural we think this way, it is harmful too.
Stop picking, popping, poking your pimples!
I know, it’s sort of like eating the whole bag of potato chips…we all know we aren’t supposed to do it, and yet, the temptation is SO STRONG! So…how do you stop?
Start with choosing an alternative activity!
We had so much fun at our first annual Heart + Sole Walk and Back To School Family festival! We want to thank all of our sponsors and everyone who came out to support our mission to make the world a more kind and understanding place for those with skin conditions.
As a Child Life Specialist working with teens and kids who have special skin, there is one question I get A LOT. “How do I talk to my teenager, when they tell me they don’t like how they look?” Parents are so worried that they will say the “wrong thing.” And truthfully, I have spent …
We had an amazing time celebrating the launch of our brand new SKIN DISCOVERY BOXES, a very special collaboration with our friends at CeraVe! CeraVe’s tireless pursuit of therapeutic skincare for all is truly more than skin deep and we couldn’t be more thankful. We celebrated in style thanks to our friends at Star Cinema …
A Children’s House for the Soul believes that it takes a village to support a child and family impacted by skin disease and birthmarks and that we are all better together.
Open House and Ribbon Cutting/Bring A Children’s House Home: On June 5th we began a very exciting new chapter of our A Children’s House story in the form of opening up our new beautiful space to serve children and teenagers with skin conditions and birthmarks and their families. This space includes a salon, a library & craft space, a teen room, and more! We also debuted our incredible new custom mural from up and coming local artist Eli Pallaert.
Our Family Trivia night was oh so much fun, and a huge success! We had so much fun getting to reconnect with all our friends and enjoy some laughs while snacking out on pizza and snowcones!
In honor of Vascular Birthmark Awareness Month, our childlife specialist Lindsay O’Sullivan had a great conversation with Jose about growing up with his special masterpiece skin!
In this interview, Ally shares about her experiences growing up with Ichthyosis. Ally shares how: Meeting other kids with special skin can help kids to feel less isolated and give them a very special sense of comradery and understanding. Parents don’t have to do everything perfectly to be the perfect parent for their child and …
What a wonderful time to relax, enjoy friendly company, and share their hearts on being a mama to a kiddo or teen with special skin. It was truly so special! These mamas were made a masterpiece!
Vascular birthmarks are very common in children. These birthmarks are made of blood vessels in the skin and can occur anywhere on the body. They may be pink or red in color, blue or purplish, flat or raised. Since they are vascular, sometimes they will feel warm to touch and may change in color with …
We have some exciting updates about our Capital Campaign! Learn about our short and long term plans for our own space.
You Can’t Teach What Has No History “This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of …
In honor of Ectodermal Dysplasia Awareness month in February, we sat down with two of our dearest friends Zach and his mama Susan! Zach is an avid golfer, an Aggie, and is affected by Ectodermal Dysplasia. Susan and Zach teach us about ED and the importance of finding community. They also had helpful tips and …