There are so many benefits of getting into the bath with your baby, toddler or pre-schooler. Not just during the current lockdown, but any time.
We all know about the benefits and importance of skin to skin contact with new born babies, and it's something that's very much in the all the literature we read during pregnancy. It does amazing things and there's so much research to support this. When babies are placed skin to skin on their mother's chest or belly as soon they're born, their temperature stabilises, their heart rate stabilises, their blood sugar levels stabilise, and they are calmed. The mother and the baby both release hormones that help them to bond and for the mother that promotes healing. For the baby, it can help them to calm themselves and cry less.
What we don't talk about is the fact that older children, teenagers and adults also benefit from skin to skin contact throughout their entire lives and it has similar benefits for us. Blood pressure is reduced, immunity is boosted, and heart rates synchronize when adults and children are in close skin to skin contact.
Our stress hormones also decrease; particularly important at this time when we are stressed. The stress hormone cortisol actually lowers our immunity and that's particularly important at the moment when we all need our immunity to be at its best.
Brain imaging has been able to show us the physiological and psychological functions of the body actually synchronize when we are in close skin to skin contact with another person. So in addition to our heart rates, our brainwaves show similar patterns. As humans, we are hardwired to benefit from skin to skin touch throughout our entire lives.
Lockdown with a baby or a toddler is especially hard and anything that can help to make this a little easier for you at the moment is a wonderful thing to do.
So, let's think about bath time; bath time tends to be a routine that we all do at certain time each day but at the moment when everything is up in the air, think about extending it. If you’ve had a tough day then getting in the bath together can be a wonderfully bonding, soothing experience for both of you.
Make it special. Crank the heating up so it’s lovely and warm in your bathroom and you can stay in for a long time. Consider playing some music, something that you and your little one would like to listen to or some calming music, particularly if you're feeling stressed or anxious at the moment. Or some fun sing along songs for your toddler. Vary the toys. Go and search through your kitchen. There are some lovely things to play with in the bath and the kitchen and there's something about the water that makes us all playful.
I hope that gives you some ideas, and enjoy!