With just a little bit of planning – and the right products – bath time can become a fun, relaxing and sensory experience for bub – and for Mum and Dad. Baby bath time doesn’t have to be a regular screaming, anxiety-inducing tussle to be dreaded by you and your little one.
Bathing baby varies with different ages and different stages, but overall, having fun in the bath all comes down to selecting age-relevant toys, songs and water games, plus using products that are sensitive to, and will help nurture and protect, baby’s delicate skin. Here we’ve come up with eight fun ways to make bath time a highlight in your family.
1. Crazy hair
There’s nothing cuter than a baby with a mohawk. A game of crazy hair is like dress-ups in the tub, plus you get to wash your little one’s hair at the same time – winning! The best part is that once the game is over, there’s no messy clean up – just watch everything suck away down the plughole.
All you need is a bottle of shampoo – preferably a brand which is100 percent natural – some bath water, a mirror and a wild imagination. Oh, and your camera to capture those super cute soapy hairstyles for posterity.
2. Bathing al fresco
Hot night and don’t fancy being holed up in the stuffy bathroom during bath time? Why not go al fresco and give your baby a cool, refreshing bath outside? Simply turn your play pool into a temporary outdoor bath.
You may want to add some warm water to the pool as well – and perhaps you could even make your own bubble bath? Add bath toys and any plastic utensils or containers you have such as cups and plates – and even small stones, leaves and flowers – to the bath water. This kind of water play is loads of fun and really encourages open-ended imaginative play for babies and toddlers.
3. Colourific water
Turn the bath water green and pretend your little one is a crocodile in the swamp … snap, snap, snap! Or pink-ify the tub for your princess and have her bask in glorious pinkness. The possibilities for imaginative play with colours in the bath are endless and provide learning opportunities and sensory experiences to boot.
While you don’t have to go too far to find a vast multitude of products on the supermarket shelf that promise to change the colour of your child’s bath water, you need to be mindful of the kinds of chemicals that are used to make the magic happen. Your best bet is to use something like the Tinti – Fun in the Tub range, made with only natural substances. (What’s great about Tinti is that they don’t stain baby’s skin or the tub like some others do!)
4. Shower power
OK, so it’s not technically bath fun, but showering is an excellent way to shake things up a bit when playing in the bath is starting to lose its appeal – or when you feel your child is old enough to progress from the bath to shower. The gentle flow of water from above is a great way to spark their imaginations. It’s also much easier to wash their hair and rinse out the shampoo in the shower – just make sure you use a gentle face washer to cover their eyes when you do this to avoid stinging eyes. Add a bucket to the bottom of the shower and watch as your kids delight in it filling right up to the top with water. If it’s big enough, they may even hop in it and pretend it’s a custom-made ever-filling little bath!
Showering may take some babies a little getting used to. For newbies, hold them close to reassure them and introduce them to the water gradually. Make sure the water doesn’t hit baby’s face directly and limit the amount of time your little one stays in the shower. It may prove a senses overload to one so new and little! As soon as your baby can walk, she’ll be fine to take a shower without Mum or Dad holding her. But for safety, make sure there is a non-slip mat in the shower to avoid slippery accidents.
5. Bath time puppet show
There’s nothing like a bath time puppet show to entertain the baby while you clean his little body. We found two gorgeous 100 percent organic cotton waster puppets at Baby Gift Works that promise plenty of bath time smiles. Just put your hand inside the friendly duck or frog wash puppet with a movable mouth so they can have a chat with your little one. It’s sure to provide some sweet bath time fun.
And, as your child gets older, encourage him to create his own bath time puppet show for Mum and Dad! Ducky may duck under the water for a game of hide and seek while Froggy could leap from lily pad to lily pad in search of that elusive little duck …
6. Hide the soap
Where’s the soap, little Billie Goat? Is it … here? Is it … there? Think of this game as a bath version of the classic Peek-a-boo. Make the soap disappear in the water and then magically reappear before your baby’s eyes. It’ll provide plenty of giggles – and opportunities to clean your little one without them even noticing. Score!
Just be mindful that if you’re using soap in baby’s bath, you shouldn’t use the same one on your little one’s skin as you use. Instead, use a brand like Billie Goat Soap, which is suitable for baby’s delicate skin since it’s made of gentle, nutrient-rich goat’s milk.
7. Double the fun
Is your back hurting from leaning into the bath? Are your knees feeling raw from daily kneeling beside the tub? How’s this for a novel idea … jump in the bath with your baby! Depending on the size of your bath, this may be a little bit of a squish for you. But I can assure you that your kids won’t mind it one little bit! Babies just love skin-to-skin contact and you’ll get to enjoy some precious bonding time – so it’s win-win.
Oh, the baby games you could play! Name the body parts. This little piggie. Round and round the garden. Sing a rainbow … But when bath time ends, just be sure to take extra care when getting out of the bath. It’s always worth having someone else on standby to make sure you and bub both get out of the bath safely.
8. Water babies
While there’s plenty of bath time fun to be had for the older baby and toddler, bathing newborns is a whole different kettle of fish and should be done in a plastic baby bath or a clean, shallow sink. Newborn safety and comfort is of upmost importance when bathing. While initial nervousness about bathing your newborn baby is common with many parents, after a while you will get used to managing your slippery baby in a confident manner – and he will learn to love splashing around in the warm water.
At first, your baby may only last a few minutes in the water before wanting to get out. But the fun doesn’t have to stop there! Once dry, and before dressing, lay your baby down on a soft bed or change table and give them a soothing, gentle massage. Lather a little bit of a natural, pH-balanced moisturiser that’s specifically formulated for the sensitive skin of babies. Establishing a gentle, soothing bath time routine such as this will help your baby to develop positive associations with bath time.