Stress Free Diaper Changes: Distraction Techniques and Teachable Moments

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Written by; Kayla O’Neill

Easy Ways To Distract And Teach Your Baby During Diaper Changes


How many times do you change a diaper in a day?  I am guessing the number is somewhere between 6-12 depending on the age of your child.  Each diaper change probably takes you about 5 minutes which adds up to between 30-60 minutes a day.  Believe it or not you could be spending about 7 hours a week changing diapers!  You don’t have to set aside special time to “teach” your baby, just embed learning into the tasks and routines you already have.  Take these precious minutes and teach your child something new instead of just drudging through another diaper change.  In this post I will describe five ways to teach and distract your baby while changing them.  So grab a diaper and lets get started!


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1.  Body Parts

Tickle those little toes and point to that button nose! Diaper changes are the perfect opportunity to work on labeling and identifying body parts.  Babies need to hear words over and over again to learn them so start labeling them while they are little.  As they get a little older this can turn into a fun distracting game as you ask them to point to their eyes, nose, and by the time you get to their ears the diaper is on! By being able to identify body parts your little one is showing that they can follow simple directions.


2.  Sensory Exploration

Keep a washcloth, scarf, or other fun feeling fabric in your changing table stash so that you can give them a fun sensory experience.  Everything is new to a baby so letting them feel the roughness of a washcloth or a soft silk scarf allows them to take in new information.  This will also keep their little hands busy which can be helpful when changing a diaper.











3.  Sing

Singing is very entertaining as well as a wonderful tool to use to promote communication skills. Children’s songs already have repetition built in which makes it easy for a child to imitate because they hear the same words over and over again.  Finger plays such as “Itsy Bitsy Spider” or “5 Little Monkeys” are also great as then your little one can practice using their hands to imitate which will help refine small motor skills as well. If you have an older sibling on hand have them help you sing to the baby so they can join in the fun and act as a role model.


4. Silly Faces

Sticking your tongue out at your baby doesn’t just teach them how to be silly it can actually teach them to imitate you. Babies need to learn how to watch and imitate so that they can mimic words in the future.  By mirroring facial movements your little one gets practice at moving their mouth the same way you do which is exactly what they need to learn to do so they can imitate their first words.


5.  Books

You don’t have to be sitting in a rocking chair and reading in order to promote early literacy skills to your baby.  When you have your little one lying down on the changing table it is a perfect time to get some reading in.   Squishy soft books work well for younger babies to explore during a diaper change.  Talk about what they are looking at as they page through the book.  Turning a page in a book can be hard work for a little one but this is one way to get them practicing.  Small board books will work best for older children.  Have them point to pictures and tell you what they see as they explore the pages of their favorite story.  By doing so you are having them practice following directions which is a skill you will be happy they have in the near future!


From our simple math completed earlier in this post we learned that when babies are little much of their time is spent on the changing table.  Take advantage of those minutes and teach your baby something new.  If you interact with your baby while changing them they will not only learn something new but chances are they will be less squirmy making this an easier task for everyone!

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24 thoughts on “Stress Free Diaper Changes: Distraction Techniques and Teachable Moments

  1. So many good tips and tricks. We have to sing (in a dumb voice) while dancing one of his favorite stuffed-animals around. Only way to get our son to hold still.

  2. I need to start doing some of these, I don’t know why I just struggle through as quick as I can! My first used to scream so loud it used to drown out the singing haha, I like the idea of a washcloth, if it gets mucky by mistake you can just throw it in the wash!

  3. OMG. yes to all of this. its easier when they’re like a little baby but my 18 month old HAAAATES getting his diaper changed! he’s so content with sitting in his own poop lol. Toys and singing are a must, but sometimes i’ve resorted to throwing a leg over the body to keep the toddler from running away lol

  4. These are all excellent ideas! We used the body parts suggestion with my daughter when she was little and she got so good at it, we had to start coming up with more elaborate questions! But she can now point out everything from ears to eyelashes!

  5. I’m in the diapering grandbabies stage – and distractions are still the name of the game. I used to blow on my kids tummies. My grands prefer the funny faces.

  6. Yay!! Such fun tricks! I always talk to my little when changing her diaper. I like to talk about what we are doing (“Lets take your leg out of the pants. And now your other leg..”.

  7. There are some great ideas here! We’ve sang Itsy Bitsy Spider so many times during diaper changes that now when we lay my 19 month old down, he signs at us to sing it to him. It’s definitely helpful!

  8. Great tips! We are in the midst of diaper changing days and I’m sure all of these suggestions will help. I use whatever fabric items around, but now I need to grab some books 😉

    ~Tabitha Blue

  9. Great tips! I’ve had to sing and make funny sounds to my youngest one for her to sit still! She’s rolling now, so she’s all over the place! Lol!

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