Make Diaper Changing Less Stressful- 10 Tips
10 easy tips to make diaper changing less stressful and more fun!
We’ve all been there. The screaming, the wrestling, the chasing, the bargaining. While there are many reasons why diaper changes can be a ticket to tantrum town, today, we are discussing 10 easy tips for take stress out of the diaper changing process. For those of you new to the game, consider the possibility that diaper changing could actually be fun.
1. Make it a time to connect: The average number of diapers used for each child is 7,000! That is a lot of diaper and a lot of time. Consider transforming this “chore” into an opportunity to really connect with your child. This can be a great time for families to cuddle, play, practice eye-contact, and help your child develop early communication skills.
2. Avoid grabbing or forcing a diaper change: No one likes to be dragged away from an activity or scooped up off the floor. By getting your child’s involvement and participation in the diaper changing process, you are creating an environment of collaboration and lowering the chance of a tantrum. One idea with a toddler is to engage them in marching or dancing along-side you to the changing table so you don’t have to drag them there.
3. Explain what you are doing: Describing your steps out-loud for the child allows them to become part of the process and know what to expect, rather than feeling like something is being done to them without their control.
4. Have them be a helper: Children love to be “helpers” and have special roles. Support this desire by encouraging the child to press down the diaper tabs, hold the cream, or lift their legs. The more the child willingly participates, the less they will fight against the process.
5. Get a portable changing mat: This allows you to change a diaper anywhere. That way your child does not have to leave their play or activity to go to the changing table.
6. Consider changing them standing up: If it is just a wet diaper, you might not need to stop their play at all. It is more often the interruption in play that leads to meltdowns, rather than the action of switching diapers.
7. Celebrate their diaper contents?: If what the child produces is treated as gross, the child may begin to feel they and their body is gross. Consider positively acknowledging what the child creates or at least keeping a neutral expression when changing even the smelliest of diapers.
8. Make it more playful: Listen to music, sing a diaper changing song, and don’t be afraid to be silly. YouTube can be a great resource for finding such content.
9. Use a distraction: Keep a basket of toys or books by the changing table that the child can only play with during a diaper change. Restricting the access allows the toys to stay interesting and the child may begin to look forward to them as part of the routine. Additionally, consider only picking toys that are easy to clean.
10. Create rewards: Making the process of helping and collaborating with you rewarding can encourage children to participate and feel special. For example, a toddler can place a sticker on a board or a token in a jar. Additionally, rewards can be transitioned from diapers to the potty training process once you and your child are ready.
There are many ways to make diaper changing more fun. These are some of my favorite tips to help avoid the meltdowns and make the process more peaceful and enjoyable for everyone.
Please feel free to share your tips for success with our community so we can inspire each other!
Laura Myers, CLC, LMFT
Psychotherapist & Life Coach