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  • Apr

    Why Bath Time for Babies is About More than Just Getting Clean

    For those with newborns and toddlers back home, the enthusiasm a baby displays with regularity during their bath time is nothing short of amazing: pure, unbridled joy and fun!

    Whether it’s the warm water, the splashing around, or mom and dad’s gentle touch with a washcloth, babies simply love the sensation of being in the bath.

    But as future swimmers (after all, we should teach all of our babies to swim), the practice of having regular bath time is about more than just getting clean.

    For those of you with babies on the way or newborns who are just starting bath time, here are a few things that baby’s can experience, and learn, from their baths. And it’s ways that you can help them grow while spending time together!

    1)   Water! – The defining characteristic of a bath is obvious: water. But having access to a few simple toys in the bath will help teach young babies about some of the fundamentals of water. A small watering can or a plastic water scoop with some holes in it allows babies to pour, drip and collect water in their hands. A toy boat or bucket that makes a gurgling sound when it submerges from air bubbles can be especially fun. This familiarity with water will make it that much easier when you start swin classes in the pool.

    2)   Trust – While taking a bath is inherently fun, it can also be scary for a little baby. It’s an environment that’s different from their every day (at least since they’ve been out of the womb!). Having a parent there caring for their baby’s bathing needs, builds trust between the little tyke and the person supervising the bath like few other activities can.

    3)   Balance – Being in water provides a different sensation then being on land. Most babies start in a small tub that you can put right in a bigger tub. Encourage your baby to step into the tub on their own (while holding their hand to guide them) and then once in the tub, they might like to stand up and sit down a few times. With the water around them, this builds balance – and generally a sense of caution too. Even the most intrepid baby will likely be careful sitting down in a tub of water.

    4)   Body Parts – It’s a lot easier to teach body parts on a naked little body then a fully clothed toddler. Have some fun by teaching the names of different parts of the body during bath time. There are some great songs on YouTube (watch for your own enjoyment!) that highlight bath time. No need to show the videos, but learn the songs and sing together during bath time! The basic “This is the way we wash our face, wash our face, wash our face,” is a standard chorus that will have your baby wiping water on their cheeks in no time! And make no mistake: babies LOVE belly buttons.

    5)   Blowing bubbles – This can be tricky. Blowing bubbles in the water is not an easy task for a little one. Our 16-month old still inhales more water then he blows when we try and have him touch his lips to water to blow bubbles. But when we make soapy bubbles, he loves nothing more than to blow them off his or his parents’ hands. This is a good skill in itself and teaches breathing control: Puff and blow!

    So next time you and your spouse are debating whose job it is to care for bath time, don’t think of it as cleaning time for your baby’s bum from a poopy day -- think of it as special learning time that you will get to experience together. Now that sounds less like a chore and more like play time! Together, your baby will be ready to hit the pool with you in no time!

    Email Address Invalid. Please enter an email address in the format: xx@yy.zz
    4 years ago.
    I taught parent and tot lessons for 30 plus years. This is good advice!!
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