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Do you have a wiggly baby or toddler who you have to wrestle during diaper changes? Diapering and dressing times can be a struggle as babies become more mobile and toddlers become more interested in exploring and playing than being still. Here are some quick tips to make diaper time enjoyable and a time for learning.

Organize Your Space!

Make sure you have all of the supplies you need in one location. You might also keep a basket of interesting toys to hand your child while you change their diaper. This may hold their interest and help them be less wiggly. A very wiggly child can be hard to keep safe on an elevated changing table. You might consider moving your changing pad to the floor to avoid accidental falls as your child grows. There's no need to struggle! Stop dreading diaper time! When you are changing your child, it is actually a great time to talk, sing, and learn together. Diapering is actually a time when you and your child have direct eye contact, so while you are changing them, looking into their eyes and talk to them!

Describe What you are Doing.

Your child is learning all about their body and how it works. Name your child's body parts as you change them. Point out their feet as you take off their socks and their belly button when you take off their shirt. Help them learn the sequence of changing and dressing. "First the socks, then the shoes." First the new diaper, then the pants…" This will help them learn to do these self-help tasks on their own as they grow bigger. Name the colors or textures of their clothing items. Your child learns new words by listening to you.

Sing a Song!

You can sing a favorite nursery rhyme or even make up your own little tune about getting dressed. For example, to the tune of "The Farmer in the Dell," you can sing, "Socks go on the feet, socks go on the feet, high ho the derio, socks go on the feet." Babies and toddlers love to hear songs over and over again, so even singing "Itsy Bitsy Spider" over and over will capture their attention and build their vocabulary. Singing ABCs is a great way to help your child develop knowledge of letter names. They need many chances to hear this information, so diaper and dressing time is a great way to make sure you get these important early learning moments in!

Rebecca Swartz

Child Educator

Rebecca Swartz, Ph.D. strives to help parents and early educators through community education programs related to child development. She draws from her first hand experiences as an early childhood educator and being a mother of two young children. Rebecca wrote for ParentSavvy when she was working for the University of Nebraska – Lincoln Extension as an Early Childhood Education Specialist and an assistant professor in Child, Youth, and Family Studies. Currently Rebe ...

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