Bathtime Routine for Ages 0 to 5: Everything you Need to Know!
The moment has finally arrived: you are coming home from the hospital with a brand-new baby! And then the reality hits you—what are you supposed to do?
Babies don’t come with instructions and having a thousand questions about daily care is perfectly normal, especially when it’s your first child or if special needs are involved.
A calm and pleasant routine can be established early on for years to come. The key is to lay the groundwork now!
A Bathtime Routine that Grows with Your Little Ones
From 0 to 6 Months: Gentle Discovery
Ah, water discovery! Some babies cry, others are fascinated with this new sensation. The latter is more pleasant, but don’t worry if your baby doesn’t take to the water right away. It will happen over time.
Of course, they are tiny and don’t move around much yet, so only a small amount of water is needed to wash your baby. While some prefer baby bathtubs, others like a clean sink.
Because this is a time of discovery for your baby, you’ll want to do bathtime when your baby is awake and calm, rather than wait until the evening when babies tend to be fussier.
At that age, babies can have a bath every two to three days. Start by gently washing their head—being careful not to push down on the fontanelle, the baby head’s soft spot—between skin folds (there can be a lot) and genitals first.
From 6 Months to 2 Years Old: Splashing Guaranteed!
At that age, babies are more aware and engaged with their environment. Bathtime becomes enjoyable playtime in the bath to move around and splash in the water.
Even at the age of 2, it’s a good time to start teaching them how to wash themselves using a washcloth or sponge. They’ll enjoy lathering up their body.
Create a stable routine for bathtime that incorporates an element of fun. If your baby wants to linger in the water a bit longer, why not allow it? At this age, a consistent routine is conducive to your little one’s well-being and a gentler, calmer transition to bedtime.
Ages 2 to 5: Pirates and Mermaids Abound
The age of imagination pushes children to new perspectives! Make up wonderful stories with your children so they keep enjoying bathtime and learn to take care of themselves.
As children aged 2 to 5 develop better dexterity, they can start washing themselves. While hair washing may still be a bit challenging, Mom and Dad can offer a helping hand. As they become more stable, you can gradually add water to the bathtub for a more enjoyable experience.
At this age, establishing a stable routine is crucial. Why? A consistent routine provides reassurance for children and simplifies the transition to bedtime, which typically follows bathtime.
Which Products to Use for Bathtime?
Choosing the right hygiene product from the variety available at the pharmacy can be challenging, especially with numerous articles cautioning against talc, parabens, sulfate derivatives, and more. Keeping track of all the products on the market can be overwhelming.
Let’s keep things simple: gentle hair and body wash with natural ingredients. The most important aspect: gentle for the skin.
Perfect Bathing Conditions
Too Cold or Too Hot?
Is there such a thing as perfect temperature? According to experts, the ideal temperature is between 36.5oC and 37.5oC. Sound familiar? It’s the body temperature!
To be sure that the temperature isn’t too hot or too cold without using a thermometer, your elbow can be used to test the water. Why the elbow? Because skin is thinnest in that area and more sensitive to water temperature. Wrists are also an efficient way to feel temperature.
10 to 15 minutes is more than enough time for a bath. You’ll want to avoid leaving your baby in the water for too long if there are skin issues.
Your bathroom doesn’t need to become the Atlantic Ocean. A few centimetres deep is enough. Not only is it safer, but it’s also eco-friendlier. Less water also means less waiting time for your impatient little mermaid.
As parents, we often place enormous pressure on ourselves, but the important thing is that both you and the baby feel good about your routine. If that means bathing in the morning rather than in the evening because baby is fussier at night, then so be it! Simply adjust your schedule accordingly.
Want to know more? Here are a few links to expert websites:
- Naître et grandir: A Quebec site (available in English also) that offers a wealth of information about pregnancy, birth and child development.
- Mother For Life: A website that covers a variety of motherhood-related topics from the pregnancy to childhood.
- Je suis une mère: A site for Quebec mothers, offering practical advice and sharing of experiences, in addition to a community of 87,000 members on the Facebook page.