Making the most of diaper changes...
When babies first begin attending your daycare, diaper changes are key to establishing a sense of trust. They create an ideal opportunity to speak to little ones and for both of you to get to know each other. You can start by something as simple as explaining, step by step, what you are doing.
However, once babies are comfortable in their new environment, I believe it is possible to include simple games and activities to make diaper changes more interesting. Doing so, doesn't hinder communication, quite the opposite actually! They can make diaper changes seem almost too short!
When it is time for diaper changes, always let babies know that you are going to the changing table. Giving fair warning usually heads off negative reactions. Whenever possible, avoid forcing babies into diaper changes. Babies who are concentrated or involved in specific games should not be disturbed. Simply begin with another baby and attempt again later.
Here are a few suggestions which can be presented to babies gradually. In my experience, adding one new element per week is the ideal pace.
Observation of objects and pictures
Place objects or pictures which favor curiosity and "conversation" near the changing table.
Pictures of animals
Laminate pictures of familiar animals and hang them on the wall near the changing table. You can imitate the sounds each animal makes.
Posters on the ceiling
Large posters can be hung from the ceiling directly over the changing table. When babies are lying down they will be able to observe them. In my 18-month old group, I had placed a giant poster of Nemo, our mascot.
Pictures of daycare friends
Laminate pictures of other daycare children. Practice naming them.
Hanging objects related to your theme
Depending on your theme, you may hang various objects for babies to observe... a flower, a stuffed animal, a decorative butterfly, etc.
Manipulation of objects
Aim to find new objects which babies can manipulate during diaper changes. Objects which are not always permitted, such as more fragile items, can be allowed since diaper changes guarantee constant supervision.
Purchase a simple wind chime at a dollar store and hang it over the changing table using elastic. Attach a string babies will be able to catch and make the wind chime dance.
Sew tiny bells onto a piece of velcro. Attach the bracelet to the baby's wrists or ankles. Every movement will create a sound babies will love.
Cut squares of fabric and apply drops of different fragrances, vanilla essence for example.
Older babies never tire of stuffed animals or other toys which vibrate when we pull on a string. Guaranteed to please!
Offer a large sticker. Babies will keep busy applying it to their hand, tummy, etc.
Activities which require little preparation on your part
If at times you have the chance to prolong the diaper changes, keep these in mind.
Keep a feather near the changing table. It can be used to gently tickle babies.
A soft ball
Roll a ball up and down their bodies.
Penetrate a dab of lotion on older babies' hands. Encourage them to then smell their hands.
Gently massage the baby's feet with a drop of sweet almond oil. Massaging little tummies is great to alleviate constipation.
Make diaper changes fun, it will be rewarding for you and the babies!
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