Self Care at 12 Months

A few months ago, my husband and I noticed a sudden struggle during Wilson's diaper changes and dressing times. We would (attempt to) lay him down on his changing table, only to be met with shrieks of protest, an arched back, and serious frustration (for us and for him). Once, Wilson almost rolled off the table. I realized that it was time to reassess this routine (including how, when, and where it was taking place) and made some changes. Here they are, if you'd like to see...

Wilson's self care area consists of his changing pad, a small chair for dressing, a shelf with diapers and his comb and brush, and a laundry bag.

Wilson's self care area consists of his changing pad, a small chair for dressing, a shelf with diapers and his comb and brush, and a laundry bag.

First, I took his changing pad off the table and moved it to the floor. Now, when it's time for a diaper change, I can sit in front of Wilson instead of hunching over him (an added bonus for my back!). Now that Wilson is mobile, he will (usually) come over to the changing pad on his own when I tell him that it's time for a new diaper. The chair is part of Wilson's weaning set, but we are currently using it for getting dressed. He sits on or leans against it while I put his clothes on. The canvas bin on the shelf is full of diapers. Wilson can walk or crawl over and get one out. Recently, he has become very interested in brushing his hair, so I added his brush and comb set to this area as well. The laundry bag is hung on the closet doorknob, and Wilson helps me put his dirty clothing in there each morning and night (although he has been known to take everything out, just for kicks - ah, to be one!).

Another (slightly awkward) angle. Under the chair is a basket of wipes and two interesting objects (an old remote control and a 3D puzzle) for when things get dicey.

Another (slightly awkward) angle. Under the chair is a basket of wipes and two interesting objects (an old remote control and a 3D puzzle) for when things get dicey.

My hope is that this area will change as Wilson grows. Eventually, I'd like to display two outfits for him to choose from so that he can feel more independent during dressing times. I may also add a mirror and a facecloth as his interest in self care develops. In the mean time, here are some ideas for involving your one-year-old in care routines:

  • Model for your child how to comb his hair, and allow him to try.
  • Give your child a task during diaper changes (holding his/her shirt up, holding the diaper cream or wipes, etc.)
  • Allow your child to hold a washcloth during bath times, and model for him/her how/where to wash (this is also a great way to reinforce body part names)
  • After meals, model for your child how to wipe her face, and allow her to try.

PS. Here is a lovely blurb on how predictable care rituals empower infants and toddlers - written by Janet Lansbury.