Bath time with your 10 month old

Jessie Jones
Over the next few months you will notice your child cognitively understanding more words than they can speak by their reactions and body language when you chat with them and give them simple instructions. Their speech is becoming more meaningful each day and their memory is developing at a rapid rate too. You will notice the structure of their babbling begin to change as they start to imitate short parts of sentences. At swim lessons you will see them understanding your instructions and feedback through their attempts to put it into practice.

At every opportunity, including at swimming lessons, encourage talking and pay attention to their attempts at talking. Ask them simple questions ' Can you pick up the red fish?' and give simple instructions like ' Swim to Mummy.' They can learn simple songs such as hockey-pokey, twinkle-twinkle and ring-a-rosie and may sing along and make hand gestures to these songs. 

As their fine motor skills continue to improve you will notice the toys they prefer in the bath and pool at this age are those that can be manipulated by filling, emptying or squeezing. These learning experiences through trial and error provide your child with opportunities to experiment and see the results. Set up some water play fun outside, fill a bucket of water & provide them with lots of different items from the kitchen like: Sponges, strainers, cups, funnels and straws to experiment and play with together in the garden.

Their gross motor skills improve dramatically over the next few months as they master crawling, walking and climbing. As they begin to master their swimming environment too remember to give them ample opportunity for independence during each activity e.g Let them swim out to you and time their own breath hold or crocodile crawl along the ledge or step. By being there to offer support if needed but letting them attempt skills independently and experiment in the water you will be allowing them to learn at their own pace and gain confidence in their own ability. They love shallow water areas, large swimming mats and the side of the pool. These places give them ample opportunity to practice their new emerging skills like crawling, walking, jumping, and swimming out to you independently. 

Emerging Developmental milestones and bath activities  for your 10 Month old:

Pulls up to stand and cruises on furniture:
~ Encourage her to pull up to standing on the side of the bath and hide a puppet or toy on the outside of the bath & play Peek a boo. 
~ Help her go on a treasure hunt cruising around the bath collecting toys & hidden objects under cups etc
Stacks and sorts toys:
~Stick foam pieces onto the tub, build floating towers and watch as she learns to use the larger wider pieces to make stronger bases with and to wet the pieces to make them stick to the side. 
~ Use a set of plastic stacking cups to make towers and sort into smallest to biggest etc along the edge of the bath
Masters the pincer grasp (holding small objects between thumb and fore finger):
~ Cut short 10cm pieces of different types/colours of wool, stick them to the sides of the bath and show her how to grab them with her pinch grasp to take them off, stick them back on and pull them along the surface,  Keep watch and don’t let her put these in her mouth while playing this game together
Learns to understand cause and effect:
~ Give her a variety of cups, sponges, containers, funnels and short pieces of plastic hose or tubing. Experiment together on pouring, tipping, squeezing and filling different combinations of items and working as a team.
 Breath control:
 Continuing to practice breath control cues with your baby to build and extend on their breath control:
Cup of water: Cue baby "Name, ready go" pour on the forehead with a water shot. After she becomes familiar with this activity and responds positively for a few weeks, progress to an extended 2-second and then 3-second pour on the forehead.⁠ Practice this a few times each bath, Let her recover and watch for her breathing to come back to normal between each turn.

Bubbles: Demonstrate blowing bubbles in the bath water, encourage your baby to copy you. You can try noisy bubbles and blowing raspberries to help them blow out. 
Shower: Cue baby "Name, ready go" Start with momentarily under the shower.
Progress to 2 seconds and then 3 seconds under the shower.⁠ Practice this a few times each shower, Let her recover and watch for her breathing to come back to normal between each turn.
Read and respond to your babies cues and stop the activity if your baby has had enough for the day or isn't enjoying the activity. This will build trust and communication between you and ensure that baby is happy to try again next time knowing you will respond to how she feels.
Keep up your regular bath and swimming time together, the perfect time for you to both connect, bond and look forward to.
These fun bath time activities also help to form a great base for baby swimming lessons together. Continue to attend regular weekly swimming lessons together, reading and responding to her cues during each activity with love and encouragement and without the use of force. Make swimming together a regular, enjoyable and enriching part of your lives.
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