Creating special times to bond with your small child is an important part of parenting. The daily bath can be a struggle or a special, relaxing, and fun time for both of you. From your newborns first bath, you have the opportunity to teach your child to enjoy the bathing experience. Bathing children the right way from the very beginning can teach them to trust their caregivers and to look forward to time set aside for personal care.

Babys first bath at home can be in a special infant tub or in a sink next to a counter or dressing table in a warm room. Gather a fresh diaper, a soft wash cloth, soft towel, mild soap, swabs, lotions, and any other product recommended by your family doctor for baby skin care. Have on hand a small, soft to use during babys shampoo. Gently scrubbing babys scalp with this soft brush will help eliminate any cradle cap. Use this brush also to style you little ones hair until baby is ready for a regular brush.

Before undressing your baby, wet the washcloth and gently wash babys face, paying special attention to the eye area, ears, and folds under the chin. Then, gently cradle babys head in one hand and, using a mild shampoo and the scrub brush, wash and rinse his scalp. Remove babys shirt and wash his hands, arms, tummy and back. Then, remove the diaper and wash the diaper area and legs and feet. Wrap him in his big, soft towel and gently pat him dry. Apply any baby skin care products and dress him quickly to keep him warm. If his naval has fallen off and healed, you can set him down in the tub, in a couple of inches of water, while you are washing his body. That way, he can get used to being in water, and you can rinse the soap thoroughly off his skin.

Before placing your infant in the tub, be sure the water is neither hot nor cold. Most babies will prefer water that is skin temperature to slightly warm. Remember to hold your baby securely and to work quickly so your baby does not startle or get cold. Keeping baby comfortable during the experience will help him eventually look forward to bathtime.

When your child is walking, he is ready to move into the big tub, with lots of help. A toddler bath is a teaching experience and play experience, as well as a time to get clean. Let your child help you gather and organize everything you will need: a clean, soft towel and washcloth, mild soap, a mild shampoo, a good, soft bath brush, two or three special bath toys, bath salts or bubble bath to make sudsy bubbles. Dont use bath oil for very young children. Their skin usually doesnt need the moisturizers, and the oil can make the tub slippery. If a toddler slips in the tub, he might get hurt or become afraid of the bathtub.

Have your child “help” you fill the tub and add a small amount of bubble bath. Be sensitive to the water temperature your child prefers. Some children prefer a cooler bath than an adult might. Also, be careful of too hot a bath. Often, water heaters are set to a temperature that can scald a young child. Never let your toddler run his own bath. Also, never leave your toddler in a tub of water alone-even for a few seconds. If the doorbell or phone rings and you have to answer, wrap your little one in a towel and take him with you. Toddlers can be scalded or drown in a very short time.