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Changing nappies

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Health and hygiene

Duration/age

Duration: 
Suitable for children: 
Location: 
Mother kissing her new born baby

Next time your baby needs their nappy changed use the time to sing songs and to talk to them. As you change your baby’s nappy, name the different parts of their body and talk about what they can use them for.

Here are your feet. They are good for jumping and kicking the ball.

You can sing songs to your baby that are from your own culture or ones you know from your childhood. If you sing the same song each time you change your baby’s nappy they will get to know the pattern, sound and words of the song. Later, as they start to talk and respond to sounds, they will join in and try and imitate what you are doing.

Materials you will need

  • Nappy
  • Change table

Alternative tools

  • Change mat

Why does this matter?

Talking to your baby as you change their nappy is an opportunity to learn and use the names of the different parts of their body. Once children know the names of their body parts, they begin to combine these words with other information, such as direction, position or action.

When you ask your baby questions, they are practising listening and responding to a question. They are developing thinking and problem-solving skills.

What does this lead to?

Developing language skills, including listening and responding, helps children to develop new words and language and to hear how sentences or questions are put together.

By listening then responding, your child hears how you talk and has the opportunity to try and respond using similar words and sentence structures. It is by practising with an adult - and hearing different styles of language - that children develop a rich expanded vocabulary. As a child’s language expands, the number of words they use in a sentence will also expand.

Language to use

  • Arm, leg, foot, fingers, toes, head, shoulder, elbow, nose, chin, hair, bottom
  • Nappy, pants, socks, tights, leggings, dress, shorts, shoes
  • Dirty, clean
  • Fold, unfold
  • Up, down, high, low
  • Change table, change mat

Questions to use

  • Can you take off your shoes?
  • Where does the nappy go?
  • Can you lie down flat on the change mat?

Useful tips

  1. You might also like to take a look at the activities Dressing your baby and Splish splash - I’m having a bath.
  2. Remember to talk to your child in your home language.

More ideas

  1. Make up songs about nappy time to help soothe your baby.
  2. Read a story to your baby that is about clothing and getting dressed.

Variation by age

Birth to two year olds

  • Use rhymes and songs about body parts as you change and dress your baby.
  • If your baby is older and up and walking, they could help to bring or carry the items you need at nappy time.
  • If your baby has a doll with removable clothing, add a nappy as part of the doll’s clothing.
  • Play Simon Says.
  • Ask your child to try and name different parts of their body.
  • Borrow books from your local library about your body and getting dressed.

Questions to ask

  • Where will the sock go?
  • What should we take off first?
  • Can you find a clean nappy?
  • Can you put your hand on your knee?