Baths aren’t just a way to keep your babies clean—they’re also a great place to kick, splash, and bond with their caregiver. Here are four ways you can make bathtime more fun for your little one.
1. Sing a silly song
Sing and talk to your baby. Songs can be made up on the spot (my favourite way of singing!): “I’m washing your toes, now I’m washing your tummy!” Not only will this keep your baby happy, it will also expand their vocabulary.
2. Encourage your baby to reach
Blowing bubbles or holding puppets or other toys above your baby will encourage them to reach up.
3. Shake it up
Give your baby a rattle or other shaker toy. This will encourage them to wave their arms around in the water.
4. Show your baby how to splash
Without splashing water on your baby, make gentle waves or splashes beside them. Babies will soon imitate and you’ll find your baby splashing with both their arms and their legs. Have a dry cloth at hand in case your baby accidentally splashes themselves in the face. Eventually, many babies will love splashing water onto their faces. Still, it’s a good idea to keep that cloth handy, just in case!
What to do if your baby doesn’t seem to like the bath
There’s an old saying that goes “You can take a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.” When it comes to little babies, you might take them to the water, but not all are going to love it (although they might just drink it).
For your baby’s safety and enjoyment, the temperature of their bath water should be not too hot, and definitely not too cold. It’s also comforting for your baby to keep the room at a warm temperature so they don’t get a chill when exiting the bath.
(Side note: When my oldest two took baths together as toddlers, my daughter Jill would complain when we called the water lukewarm. As her brother’s name was Luke, she always insisted on making it Jill-cold. Stick with Luke-warm!)
Here are a few more tips to help your baby get comfortable getting wet:
Run the water before your baby arrives in the bathroom
If you have someone to watch your baby, run the bath beforehand so that there’s no chance of your baby being overwhelmed with the noise of the running water. Ensure that the water is at a level that will permit your baby’s head to be above the water but not so low that they will exposed to any chill.
Have all the necessary supplies at hand
In order to be able to focus solely on your baby during bath time, having everything within reach is super helpful. Having a comfy towel (or two) ready to wrap your baby in as soon as you take them out of the tub will mean the difference between them associating bath time with the shock of moving from a warm environment to associating it with a safe and snug experience.
Make the tub slip-free
In order to keep your baby from sliding around and feeling insecure, place a towel or mat on the bottom of the tub. Babies will be anchored and able to kick and splash without fear of slipping. Alternatively, try a baby bath lounger to keep your baby propped up.
Ease your baby into the water
Your baby will feel most secure when being eased gently into the water. Until your baby gets used to the water, keep one hand under their head and one under their back. Once they’re used to the fun of the water, they won’t want you holding them back!
Reassure your baby
Maintain eye contact and a smile on your face will go a long way to keeping your baby feel safe in the water.
Getting clean isn’t the only goal for giving your baby a bath. When they feel secure and reassured, your baby will love to reach, kick, and splash in a whole new environment.