Bath time with your 11 month old

Jessie Jones
Your baby is in the last stages of baby hood, with their first birthday just around the corner! This month movement, language development and fine motor skills continue to be their main focuses to master. Some babies are spending most of their time upright now and may even be taking their first steps or walking.

Skills and activities you have been regularly practicing in your swimming lessons really start to become mastered this month too. Skills like submerging independently and swimming to a carer from a seated or standing position and swimming back to pull up and recover to standing in shallow depths will start to emerge and become consistently mastered.

Some babies can say a few words and most are babbling in sentence like form. They are starting to use more hand gestures to communicate their wants and needs too. Continue to talk to them as much as possible, explaining everything and asking questions. Remember to leave space in the conversation for them to communicate back to you and respond to them. You will start seeing something called ‘joint attention' where they will look at something you are pointing to and speaking about. 

At this age they also become aware of things that have names and their purpose. They will start using objects like hair brushes to brush their hair and holding phones to their ear. This is a great time to introduce goggles to them in the bath or pool, demonstrate by wearing them yourself first and keeping them close by to familiarise your child with them. Always loosen the straps a bit so they don’t pull on their hair when you are introducing them, once they are on their head you can tighten them to fit. They should be tight enough to seal around their eyes so they don’t leak, look at the seal around each eye to check there are no gaps for water to get in.Try a little each time with a fun and enjoyable approach and they will eventually be happy to keep them on long enough to have their first underwater experience where they can actually see where they are swimming. Goggles are a great teaching aid and can help children learn to swim comfortably sooner. Once they can swim and self rescue they will be more confident to try these skills without goggles as well.

You may notice them singing along and making hand gestures to their favourite songs during swimming lessons. Babies at this age love music and dancing and are showing you more of their growing personality each day. They associate some songs with activities and skills they do together at swimming lessons, so when they hear a song they know what’s coming and already start preparing for the activity. ‘Humpty Dumpty’ really becomes a favourite activity around this age, to ensure it stays fun and enjoyable always keep their trust and never submerge them against their will if they are showing any signs or communicating with you that they don’t wish to go under the water. 

Emerging Developmental milestones and bath activities  for your 11 Month old:

Understands simple direction:
~ Scavenger hunt for toys of a certain colour/type e.g farm animals and sea creatures. Ask her to collect all the animals or balls of a certain colour or type and place them on the edge of the bath. You can use toys that sink too, to encourage bubble blowing and breath control.

Crawls and cruises on furniture:
~ Find sunken treasure off the bottom of the bath, in a crawling position in shallow water encourage bubbles and demonstrate holding your breath to put your face under and encourage her to copy you to find certain toys. This is a great activity to introduce wearing goggles, loosen them first and once they are on her face gently tighten them to the correct size. Encourage her to look underwater and find treasure.

Says 1 or 2 words:
~ Name body parts and wash each one with a wash cloth - sing heads shoulders knees and toes. Ask her where each body part is and encourage her to point to it and say the word. Let her have a turn washing herself too.

Throws objects:
~ Introduce your little one to basket ball, use a small suction cup basket ball hoop and ball set. Suction the hoop to the side of the bath and show her how to throw the ball in the hoop. Let her copy you and work on her hand eye coordination, gross and fine motor skills. You can also use a plastic dish or bucket and float it on the surface, letting her throw balls into it.
 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.
Thank you!
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