Bath time with your 7 month old

Jessie Jones
Your house is now filled with laughter and squeals of delight as your babies personality really starts to shine ✨ 
Your baby may have their first tooth and even be crawling or scooting around the house, they have changed so much in the last few months. 

Babies (and young children in general) love predictability. It gives them a great feeling to master something and they love to know and expect whats coming. So get ready to repeat their favourite games and read and sing the same books and songs over and over for a while. This repetition will help your child master skills in the pool as well, aim to repeat swim activities a few times in a row and pick up on when your child is really engaged in an activity and give her the opportunity to keep mastering this activity without changing to quickly onto the next one. 

If your little one is on the move crawling you will now be able to introduce skills like crocodiles (crawling with arms and legs and eventually letting their legs float out straight behind them) and bubble blowing on a shallow ledge or step at swimming lessons or in the bath. This activity helps your child learn how to recover to a ledge or step by putting their arms down and lifting their head to climb out after a swim. It's also a great activity for teaching breath control and flotation. Eventually your little one will be able to put their face in, take their hands and feet off the floor and float & recover in this position and shallow depth (the bath is perfect for practicing this skill). From here they will learn confidence to be able to do the same in deeper water with you to recover to.

Emerging Developmental milestones and bath activities  for your 7 Month old:

Is learning to use thumb and fingers ~ seat her between your legs and float a plastic bowl or tupper-ware dish on the surface of the bath, place some bath toys around her. Demonstrate how to pick them up like a 'crab' with your index finger and thumb. Encourage her to place them in the floating bowl. This activity will help her build finger strength and coordination to pick up and release objects.

Responds to other peoples expressions of emotion ~ puppet play ~ Seat her facing you in the bath either between your legs or supported on your lap. Use a kitchen glove to make finger puppets by cutting off the fingers and drawing different facial expressions on them (e.g happy, sad, excited, tired) Tell her a story by introducing the characters and how they are feeling, match the expressions of the puppets with your own facial expressions. Watch as she responds to the story.

Brings hands together and claps ~ Patty cake ~ Sit in the bath facing each other, she can sit between your legs or on your lap. Clap your hands and sing the well know song 'Patty Cake'. Pat, roll and lift her up to 'throw her in the oven for baby and me). Let her copy you clapping by herself and try gently holding onto her hands and helping her clap them together to the beat of the song too. Replace the word Baby with her name, tapping her on the chest and then yourself for 'Me'.

Another great game for helping her coordinate bringing her hands together is rolling a ball back and forth between you. Use a larger ball which is easier for her to hold and roll, even better if it has a textured pattern or bumps on it. Seat her across from you in water as deep as her hips, roll the ball to her and encourage her to roll it back to you. Demonstrate how to throw the ball onto the water and make a splash, see if she can do it too.  If she is isn't quite sitting well without support you can wait till next month to try this activity or modify it so she is supported by you and seated between your legs, she can practice rolling the ball to the other end of the bath and experimenting with dropping and throwing it.
 Breath control:
 Continuing to practice the following breath control cues to build and extend on your child's breath control:
Seat baby on your lap, so you can see her face. Support her with one hand under arm pit. Watch her reaction to the cues and for any signs she has had enough.
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.
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.
These fun bath time activities help to develop the skills you and your baby are learning at swimming lessons together. From here keep learning together on a force free introduction to water, sign up for regular baby swim lessons at your local Welcome to water provider swim school.
Make swimming together a regular, enjoyable part of your lives.
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