Whether your day was filled with excitement and exuberance or tears and tantrums, bath time with your little one gives you both a chance to reset and reintroduce some calm into what may have been a chaotic or busy day. While the ritual of bath time can offer precious bonding time with your child, it can also serve an important role in their development as studies have shown that bath time is critical for a young child’s cognitive and emotional growth. Read on to learn more about the importance of a well-established bath time routine and the numerous bath time benefits for toddlers and babies.
Why is bath time important for babies and toddlers?
Bath time holds numerous benefits for a baby's overall well-being and development, including:
Establishing routines: Routines create a sense of security and control, helping infants regulate their emotions and behaviour. By knowing what to expect during bath time, babies develop a sense of familiarity and comfort, which can have a positive impact on their overall well-being.
Sensory Engagement: Bath time engages all the senses, stimulating your little one’s brain and promoting focus and attention. The visual experience of water pouring and draining, playing with bubbles, and the soothing scents from gorgeous baby-friendly hair and skin care products all contribute to sensory exploration and development.
Relaxation: Bath time has a calming effect on babies and toddlers, especially when it is combined with soothing, child-friendly body care products that have formulations that are designed to calm the senses. This relaxation response can help to soothe babies, toddlers and young children, preparing them for a peaceful night's sleep.
Introduction to scientific concepts: Bath time offers opportunities for play activities that introduce babies and toddlers to both mathematical and scientific concepts. Simple actions such as filling and emptying cups introduce the concept of volume and teaches terms including more, less, empty, and full. Using different toys at bath time can encourage their curiosity and problem-solving skills.
Development of fine motor skills: Many baby bath toys, such as squeeze toys or sponges, allow little ones to practice actions such as grasping and manipulating objects, as well as improving their hand-eye coordination and muscle control.
Tactile stimulation: Another bath time benefit for babies is tactile stimulation, allowing babies to explore and learn about various bodily sensations. Feeling the water on their skin, differentiating between water temperatures, and experiencing the sensations of washing and drying all contribute to their sensory development.
Improves language skills: During bath time, you can talk to your little one, describing the actions they are taking, naming body parts, or discussing the bath-related objects and activities. You can also introduce bath-related vocabulary, such as water, soap, towel, bubbles, and toys. Through repeated exposure to these words during bath time, babies and toddlers gradually expand their vocabulary and develop a deeper understanding of the world around them.
- Enhances non-verbal communication skills: During bath time you can practice non-verbal communication cues, such as facial expressions, gestures, and body language, with your child, which are an important aspect of social interactions.
Bath time benefits for parents or carers
Remember, as you have to be totally focused on their safety, as a parent or carer bath time offers you an unprecedented opportunity to enjoy a distraction-free environment with your child so you can really bond with them. This will foster a sense of trust and build a solid, loving relationship. The dedicated one-on-one time during bath time enables you to engage in gentle touch, soothing voices, and playful interactions, making babies feel loved, valued, and cherished.
How to Maximise the Benefits of Bath Time for Toddlers and Babies
Here are some tips to ensure you make the most of bath time and reap all the benefits that it can bring for both you and your child.
Create a tranquil environment: Dim the lights or use soft lighting, play gentle music, and ensure the temperature of the room is comfortable.
Bring the toys and the fun: Provide them with age-appropriate bath toys and encourage imaginative play. This not only makes bath time fun but also enhances their cognitive and motor skills. You will soon discover that there is no child’s definition for a bath toy – your favourite Dandydill Way grooming products, teddy bears, bouncing balls – at a young age, anything and everything is a bath toy.
- Use sensitive, lovely smelling bath products: To enhance the sensory experience for your child, use bath products with pleasant scents. Also, adding bubbles to the bath can make bath time more fun and can inspire imaginative play. As well as finding products that smell lovely, look for products that are gentle on their skin and free from harsh chemicals. Our unique bubble bath for children with sensitive skin is free from chemical nasties and rich in nourishing ingredients, like hawthorn fruit extract and moisturising babassu oil. Suitable from birth, it carefully cleanses children's and babies' delicate skin to leave their skin clean and soft. It also creates long lasting bubbles that are luxurious and naturally scented to create the most relaxing bath time.
Bath time FAQs
What if my little one doesn't enjoy bath time?
For some parents, bath time is a nightmare to be dreaded as your child may not be enamoured with or be overwhelmed by bath time. A lot of infants might at first be a little unsure of bath time as they experience the new sensation for the first time. For example, they may hate having their hair washed or feel uneasy about getting into the water. But thankfully, there are some steps you can take to re-frame the bathing ritual into a positive and anticipated event.
Timing and routine are key: Try to pick a time of day when your little one is calm, rested, and isn’t hungry. Set a specific time for bath time each day and follow a predictable sequence of activities, such as undressing, washing, playing, and drying off. By creating a comforting routine, your child will gradually associate bath time with a sense of familiarity and security, which can alleviate any resistance or negative emotions.
Take it slow: Some babies do NOT like getting their hair or faces wet. Take your time, talk them through it, and if they’re old enough, invite them to try wetting their face - or their favourite toy’s face - a little. Incorporate something fun to distract them such as bubbles or letting them watch the water flow from the tap. Get your baby used to water by having them splash some water from the tap with onto their hands and feet and eventually their face.
Be prepared: Have everything you need ready - towels, nappy, fresh clothes, toys - so as soon as they have had enough of the experience, they can be lifted out.
Empower your child: Involve your child in the decision-making process and give them a sense of control over their bath time experience. Offer choices, such as letting them choose their bath toys, selecting their preferred temperature (within safe limits), or allowing them to pick their bath products. By empowering your child to make simple decisions related to bath time, they may feel more enthusiastic and engaged. Turning bath time into a playful and interactive experience can distract them from any aversion they may have towards bathing.
- Be understanding: It's important to be patient and understanding if your toddler expresses reluctance or resistance towards bath time. Try to identify and address any specific concerns or fears they may have. Communicate with them, listen to their feelings, and provide reassurance and support. By gradually introducing these ideas and adjusting the routine based on your child's preferences, you can help them develop a more positive association with bath time.
Are baths stimulating for babies?
In addition to being relaxing, baths can also prove stimulating for babies. The sensation of water on their skin during bath time provides tactile stimulation. The feeling of water can be both soothing and engaging, allowing them to explore different sensations and textures.
Bathing also involves exposure to varying temperatures, such as warm water and cooler air. These temperature changes provide sensory input and help babies develop an understanding of different temperature sensations.
Bath time can offer visual stimulation as babies observe the movement of water, pouring and draining, and the presence of colourful bath toys, while auditory stimulation comes from hearing water splashing and toy sounds, contributing to their listening skills.
Each baby is unique, and their response to stimulation may vary. It's essential to observe your baby's cues and adjust and adapt bath time as necessary so that you ensure it is the best possible experience for your little one and that they reap both the stimulating and relaxing benefits on offer.
Should bath time be play time?
While play can certainly be a bath time benefit for toddlers and babies, it bath time doesn't necessarily have to be solely dedicated to play. Finding the right balance between play and cleanliness allows bath time to be an engaging and beneficial experience for babies, while cleansing them of any dirt and grime they have encountered during the day.
There are so many bath time benefits for toddlers and babies, and this important part of their routine is crucial for overall well-being and development. As well as helping to maintain proper hygiene, bath time promotes relaxation and soothing, aiding in better sleep patterns. In addition, it stimulates sensory experiences, and most importantly, it is brilliant at strengthening emotional connections. By incorporating bath time into a daily routine, you can nurture your baby's growth, wellbeing, and overall development.
To make the most of bath time with your little one, use skin-friendly, gorgeously scented products, such as Dandydill Way’s award-winning bath and hair care products, lovingly formulated for little ones with delicate skin. Explore our full collection for babies, toddlers and children on our website now.