Sunday, January 28, 2007

Daddy Magic: Distract your baby while changing her diaper

If your baby is screaming while you change her diaper, then everyone hears it. It may wake up her siblings, your spouse, it may make you look bad to the guests/neighbors, and it certainly won't be a pleasant experience for your baby.

You need to distract her so that she doesn't dread having her diaper changed. There are several ways to do that:

- Hand her the diaper while you unbutton her clothes and open her diaper. Especially as a toddler, she will love trying to unwrap the edges of the diaper.

- Hand her anything, really. This could even be a shoe or sock. I liked to use a loose Velcro strap because it was attached to her changing table and wasn't going anywhere.

- Tickler her. When you lift up her shirt, poke her belly button and tickle her there, gently run your nails up her sides, gently rub her on the sides of her neck or at the top of her chest. Tickle her feet or her arm pits, or even barrage her with tickles. Always smile and laugh with her. Teach her how to be happy. When it isn't funny to her, stop and move on.

- Use hand motions in anticipation before you tickle. For example, raise your hands high up, make a falling sound, and then collapse your hands in a barrage of tickles on her. Or do the buzzing bee with your finger that attacks her belly button. The hand motion will also teach her how to communicate. My daughter has used the raise hands and a friend's daughter has used the moving finger in order to tell me that they want a barrage of tickles in that particular way. Very cute.

- Blow on her feet. My toddler blows in order to tell me that she wants me to blow on her feet. It's cute.

- Peek-a-boo. Always a classic, even with toddlers.

- Sing and dance. You may laugh at this, but your baby will stop crying and smile. Combine your dance steps with some peek-a-boo, moving your head around in quick movements, and maybe some tickles.

- Use a funny voice.

- Do things with your mouth: a pop, click your tongue, flutter your lips, make kazoo sounds, do the old Indian trick where you repeatedly clap your mouth, cup your hand over your mouth, whistle, smack your lips, etc.

- Snap your fingers or clap.

- Play Music. Sing along.


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