The next time you sing a song to your baby or, play with their little toes and fingers-notice how they radiate happiness. Wonder, why this happens? Simple rituals and simple gestures actually have a significant effect on your baby's development and growth. As soon as they are born, babies use their sense of sight, smell, touch and sound to learn about their environment. They enjoy activities that stimulate their senses, so the way parent nurture and nourish during the daily chores, have a profound impact on their reactions and development.
Most parents are aware of the importance of the time spent playing, interacting and bonding with their child, but one of the daily rituals that parents don't recognize as a great learning opportunity, is bath time. Parents become key to this learning experience through the interactions they have during bath time.
Here are some ways you can create an enjoyable learning experience for your baby during bath time.
A. The Magic of Touch
A baby's first emotional bonds are built from physical contact, or touch. A simple but powerful way to increase the impact of touch is through a baby massage, before or after a bath. Giving your baby a massage on a routine basis during is instrumental to their development and can lead to improved physiological, cognitive, emotional and social development. The consistent and nurturing touch of a parent has benefits beyond the moment - it can help babies develop self-confidence and the ability to relate to others.
There isn't a prescriptive method or time for massaging your baby but here are a few helpful tips:
1. Wait for a time when your baby is relaxed, not hungry or cranky to allow for maximum benefits and enjoyment.
2. Consider playing gentle music in the background while you massage & bathe your baby
3. If possible, find a warm room when giving your baby a massage to keep them comfortable
4. Place baby on a soft surface during the massage and be gentle with the water
5. Increase the pressure of your touch to avoid tickling.
B. Smell Contributes to Lasting Memories
Newborns use the sense of smell right from birth to familiarize themselves with their environment, more than any other sense. A baby's brain starts to make learned associations between scent and the emotional connects within the first few weeks itself. In fact, babies can recognize their mothers by smell alone. Smell triggers more emotionally vibrant memories than other senses. Pleasant smells, when paired with the loving touch of a parent, creates powerful positive memories that will last your baby a lifetime. Using a bath product such as a cleanser or a lotion with a fragrances smell provides a rich experience of thoughts, memories and feelings.
While bath might seem like just a daily activity with your child it can be so much more powerful. Bath time helps create a lasting emotional connection between parents and baby by providing an opportunity to nurture your baby's ability to learn, think, love and grow.