Water is fun in or out of the bath but especially at bathtime so enter into the spirit of playing games for the whole of bathtime, then your child will really look forward to it.
Any bubble game is fun and easy to do with bubble bath. Use a rigid straw to blow bubbles under the water and blow bubbles into the air above the water. Balloon games are great. Balloons are soft, safe and can be filled, emptied and endlessly refilled. All floating toys come with a story you can make up, so keep a net by the bath with lots of different floating toys.
Children love to show that they can make something happen, like making rain with the shower head, or pouring water into a boat till it sinks. Show them how with lots of laughter. An activity centre on the side of the bath promotes manual dexterity so help little fingers to twist, turn, pull and push. Your child learns cause and effect from these games – “if I do this, that happens.” Water soluble painting on the sides of the bath is an extra art lesson.
Then there are BATH BOOKS. I’m very keen on them. It’s never too early for a baby to be introduced to reading. So turn the pages of floating books, point out pictures, name contents and make all the appropriate sounds. “In the pond, there’s a BIG GREEN FROG. It goes RIBBIT! RIBBIT!”
Go FISHING– a toy fishing rod with a hook to catch toy fish is huge fun and incidentally promotes hand-eye coordination.Making a little POND with fish, frogs, lily pads, dragon flies is interesting and very informative if you keep up a running commentary and demonstrate each item. A nature lesson!
WATER PISTOLS are magic especially at hair wash time and they’ll make your child accurate at pointing – a pre-writing skill.
Playing with small balls is great if you’ll join in throw-and-catch. Ball skills will last your child throughout life.
WATER BALLOONS can keep your child occupied in the bath for liter ally hours, especially if someone else is in the bath.
Bathtime is a time for bonding together (that means dad too). It’s an ideal time for you and your child to bond. It’s a ritual. It makes your child fee safe, secure and loved.
Sitting by your child in the bath is as bonding as anything you do with your child – feeding, comforting, playing. Get involved by showing your child you’re prepared to get wet, join in and don’t mind splashes or being squirted at. Be a gentle teacher showing how toys work and how to create stories round the bath toys. Dry wet eyes, soothe watery fears, be reassuring and positive by staying at your child’s side while they’re in the bath. Be ready to lift your child straight out of the bath in a nice warm towel if they get upset. Join in all the games with laughter and squeals. Play games while you’re drying your child down with the towel, or gently tickling.
Get in the bath now and then. One of my granddaughters asked me to join her till she was six or seven. When your baby’s young give them a massage with lots of nourishing baby cream to calm them (and you) down ready for bedtime.
Copyright Miriam Stoppard Lifetime Ltd 2014. All Rights Reserved.