Bath time with baby can be much more than just a quick wash and dry. Bathing is a perfect opportunity for you to relax, set aside everything else in your busy day, and just enjoy being with your baby. Here are some tips to help you and baby have a splashing fun time together.
Bathing baby in the early months.
Bath time varies greatly depending on baby’s age and developmental abilities. In the first few months bath time focuses mostly on touch sensations and your voice and facial expressions. Here are some fun ideas you can use to help your young baby enjoy bath time together with you:
- Pick a time of day when baby is typically at his best. This is often right after baby has a full tummy and is wide awake to play.
- Cool air can chill baby’s wet skin, so try to bathe baby during the warmest part of the day. This way you aren’t in a hurry, and baby will be in a much better mood. If needed, sponge-bathe baby on a towel laying in some warm sunshine through a window.
- A soft spongy bath mat is perfect for keeping baby safe in the tub.
- Take the time to gently massage every part of baby’s skin with warm soapy water. This touch time really builds connections.
- Sing songs and speak to baby throughout your bath time to keep baby entertained.
- Lean close to baby so she can gaze at your friendly facial expressions.
- Getting into the bath with your baby can be a very special time. Lay baby face down on your chest and caress her skin with warm water and soap. This close skin-to-skin time is great for bonding.
- And of course, never leave baby unattended during a bath.
Bathing your sitter and crawler.
As baby’s development progresses to sitting and crawling, keeping baby safe during bath time can become much more of a challenge. Here are some ways you can enjoy tub time together while you avoid any bathing bumps and bruises:
- While baby is first learning to sit, a soft bath mat is a must in baby tips over.
- Sit baby close to the spout and let him enjoy the running water. Be sure to cover the bathtub spout with a rubber or plastic protector.
- Fill and dump games are a favorite at this age. Show baby how it’s done with some colorful cups.
- Splashing is the best part of bath time. Get your arms in there and get wet with baby. She’ll delight to see you join in.
- As baby learns to crawl, he will love to play "sunken treasure". Hide some toys under the bath suds and encourage him to find them.
- Sink and float games will stimulate your baby’s curiosity. Help her explore with various toys.
- Remember, never leave even an older baby alone in the bath.
Tub time with your toddler.
As your baby grows into a toddler and preschooler, bath time can continue to be a fun, interactive play experience for you both to enjoy together. Here are some ideas that will make bathing your active toddler less of a chore and more of a fun time you can look forward to:
- Set up some basic ground rules that will help avoid turning the bathroom into a soaked splash zone. Teach your child that the water stays in the tub and to splash water only toward the tile walls and not onto the floor.
- A few safety reminders for your toddler will help avoid bath tub bruises. Teach your child "her bottom stays on the bath mat", no standing (until you feel your child’s balance is sufficient), and absolutely no touching the faucet knob (kids can get burned by turning on the hot water).
- Throughout your play time, continually vocalize playful terms such as "splash", "all wet", "get the bubbles", and "dump the water". This helps your child learn language as you both take part in these fun activities.
- Floating rubber animals such as ducks, alligators and fish are perfect for teaching your toddler his favorite animals sounds.
- Stacking cups and blocks on the edge of the tub is a great fine motor skill you can practice with your child during bath time.
- Playful games with bubble bath or shampoo suds will keep your toddler entertained. Give your child handfuls of suds to play with, make a bubble beard and "shave like daddy does", or paint the tile walls with bubbles then rinse it all away.
Bath time can be fun for you and your child at any age. Take the time to enjoy this experience. All too soon your older child will want to bathe himself. Don’t miss out on these early years that you will always remember with fond memories.