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Bathtime is about so much more than getting clean. It’s a chance to play, learn, grow and bond with your baby.

Your gentle, loving touch during the baby's bath and cuddle time afterward supports your baby’s healthy happy development. In fact, research shows that your touch can promote healthy social-emotional development and enhance your baby’s motor skills.

Social-Emotional Development

What you can doWhat your child is learningHave fun and celebrate your child’s accomplishments, such as squeezing the water from the sponge or floating a toy.She is smart and competent and that you delight in sharing her discoveries when you play together.Explore and play games like patting the water back-and-forth to make a splash.The skill of taking turns and that engaging with activities together is fun and rewarding.Cuddle up together after bathtime and share a bonding momentThat she is loved, which builds her self-esteem.

Building and Strengthening Baby’s Language and Thinking Skills

What you can doWhat your child is learningConnect and engage with your baby. For example, when your baby makes sounds and gestures, such as indicating she would like you to read a book, respond with praise and the action she requested.She is communicating with you and you understand. This reinforces that sounds and actions are a good way to show what you are thinking or feeling.When bathing your baby, talk with her and explain what you are doing together. For instance, drop the ducky in the water and exclaim, ”Look, he floats!”When you talk to your child like this during activities, it helps your child to learn words and concepts like sinking and floating.Make bathtime fun to help your child learn new skills. Show her how to stick sponge letters to the wall of the tub or make the ducky squeak.She will learn to make things work by copying your actions, while bonding with you.

Understanding Physical Development

What you can doWhat your child is learningMake bathtime fun and educational by offering your baby a variety of toys so she can explore and discover with her hands.How to have fun and explore in new ways from a seated position. Transferring objects from one hand to another and using her hands to make objects work, such as trying to get the bath stickers to stick to the tub, teaches your baby confidence.Point out and talk about your baby’s different body parts as she uses them. Praise her when she uses her hands to pop bubbles and tell her what body part she is using.To recognize her body parts and how they work to help her reach her goals.

When she makes a big splash with her hands or by dropping a toy in the tub, your baby learns about cause and effect. This helps her figure out how things work. When she wipes the bubbles away to discover her belly underneath, she learns that things still exist even though she can’t see them — a very important concept.

And all the talking you do together during this special time helps build her language skills. What’s most important is that all of this learning takes place with you, her most favorite person!


Remember, part of keeping bathtime fun is making sure your baby is safe. NEVER leave a baby alone in the bath. Not even for a second. So gather all the things you will need for the bath beforehand and let the phone ring over to voicemail.

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