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Stop the Change Table Battles… Once and for All!

A few months ago when I conducted my reader survey, one lovely respondent suggested that I add an “Ask The Deliberate Mom” element to my blog. I loved this idea but felt that maybe it would be viewed as presumptuous to assume that I could help anyone. I’m by no means an expert. Even though I have 20+ years of early childhood experience, I still struggle with my own parenting and educational approaches.

However, I recently had a reader reach out to me with a question. I immediately switched to “early childhood professional mode” and tried to respond in a supportive manner… much like I would do for any parent I would work with. As I went through this process and constructed a written response, I thought, “This would be a great blog post!”

I’ve simplified her question and chose to focus on one element:

My child hits me every time I change his diaper. Do you have any suggestions?

Diaper changes can be challenging regardless of a child’s age. However, when a child is resisting them and it turns into a war, what is a parent to do? Often these “battles” take place because a child is asserting his/her independence. Here are a few suggestions to make those diaper changes a lot less stressful.

Check out these tips on how to deal with a child who dislikes diaper changes. #parentingtips… Click To Tweet

Let your child know what to expect

Imagine you’re reading the best book ever or that you’re chilling out on the sofa after a hard day at work. Suddenly someone picks you up and carries you to a table, then proceeds to take your pants off! Would you not completely freak out?! I know this is a bit of a stretch, but you get the point right?

Children often like to be told what to expect. For example, “In 2 more minutes, I’m going to change your diaper…. In 1 more minute I’m going to change your diaper…. Now it’s time to change your diaper.”

By doing this, the child is prepared for what is next. He also knows that the activity he is engaged in, will soon be interrupted for a diaper change.

Involve him as much as possible

You can do simple things to involve your child in the process. Let him select the new diaper or invite him to hold the wipes for you.

Make the change table appealing

Diaper changes could quite possibly be one of the most boring things your child does in the day. Multiply the boredom by how many times the process is repeated and you’ve got a recipe for conflict.Diaper changes can be made more appealing by hanging a mobile over the change table or perhaps you could rotate photographs on the wall by the table. You could also encourage the child to select a book or a soft toy to hold onto during diaper changes. These little things could make the diapering process more enjoyable for him.

Hang pictures by the change table to make diaper changes more interesting. #parenting #tips #babies #toddlers

Use the time to connect

The routine of diaper changes is often overlooked as an opportunity to connect with a child. This is a great time to sing songs, tell stories, or share a rhyme.

Change your child on the floor

If your child is kicking, hitting or struggling, then perhaps they need a change of scenery. Change them on the floor instead of on the change table.

Change your child while they are standing

So this takes a bit of practice but it’s fantastic for an active child. Sit on a low chair or a stool in front of the child. Have them face you. Remove the diaper. Wipe. Place diaper on them while they are standing.

*NOTE: This does not work if the child has had a bowel movement, I repeat, do not do this if the child has had a bowel movement.*

Do you have any tried and true ways to make diapering time more fun and less of a battle? Please share and help a fellow mom out. Also, if you have a question that you would like to have answered here on The Deliberate Mom, please send me an email. I’ll do my best to help out.

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Jennifer Bly
Jennifer Bly
Author of My Kitchen, My Classroom: An Introduction to Homeschool, creator of The Deliberate Mom, Deliberate Homeschooling and regular contributor to The Huffington Post. Jennifer writes about parenting, her faith, and life with her husband and two girls. Jennifer has a Bachelor of Applied Human Service Administration Degree with a specialization in Early Learning in Child Care. 

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31 thoughts on “Stop the Change Table Battles… Once and for All!

  • Jo Cormack

    This is great advice – if you let your baby or young toddler know what to expect, it helps them cope better with what’s coming. It’s part of treating children as tiny people to be respected rather than objects to be hauled around…. Now my toddler’s older (she’s nearly 2) she tells me what’s going to happen when I change her because she’s used to me talking her through the process!

    solving picky eating

  • Growing Up Madison

    Those are some great suggestions and most of what I used when my own toddler was younger. I would always get her a toy to play with to distract her while she was being changed. Now that she’s older I don’t have much problems getting her changed besides that she’s always in a hurry to get it over with so she can get back to doing what she’s doing. :)

  • R.F. Dietz

    You are beyond helpful! It’s not presumptuous to have an advice column at all! You are a great help. Keeping all of your tricks and tips to yourself is just not fair! Share your wealth of wisdom pleaaaase! :]

  • Appleshoe

    These are great ideas, and I love the advice column idea! For Panda we keep a small basket with a lot of little toys that are just for diaper changing time. We change which toy each time and sometimes let him choose for himself. He does not play with the toy really because we do sing and do rhymes with him while changing, but it’s a place for him to put his hands while he is being changed.

  • Tamara Camera

    I think an advice column is a great idea! I’ve always been obsessed with them. I’d love to have a photography one someday.
    My son kicked me once while changing his diaper. That was very upsetting but it hasn’t happened since. If so, I’m doing this.

  • mountain girl

    Such good advice, Jennifer. Cash likes to hold the diaper cream and open and close the flip top while I change him. Sometimes he also likes to put a little dab on his finger and help me wipe it on, which can get a little messy. :) Thanks for all the helpful tips!

  • Tiffany {A Touch of Grace}

    Great tips Jennifer! Little A was pretty easy when it came to diaper changing. I’d just let her hold something (usually a rubber duck) and she’d be fine. She’s actually more of a challenge now with panties. She can’t sit still for a second to put them on! :)

  • Kristen Hewitt

    I love this! I was asked to do this – and do it as a video portion of the blog because I’m a reporter. I don’t think it’s presumptuous, but shows your character that you were so thoughtful!

    Great advice by the way…we have this battle as well! Am sharing this for you!

  • mommyatozblog.com

    Good tips! My son’s changing table is next to the light switch, and he’s thinks it’s great fun to stand up mid-change and turn off the light. Meaning I get all the fun of changing a wiggly toddler, but in the dark. I’d move the table, but my husband bolted it to the wall for baby’s safety. The Apocalypse could come, and that changing table would still be in the exact same spot. Do I get extra points for diaper-changing in the dark? :)

  • Jessica Dimas

    I think you should definitely add this to your blog because I’ve been wanting to tell you without freaking you out that I’ve secretly added you to my top 3 parenting gurus list, haha! My midwife, a wise friend of mine, and now you! I don’t often add anyone to my little list that I keep inside my head, but I just think you are such an awesome role model for other moms! I definitely would love to hear what you have to say in response to parenting questions! I loved all your tips too by the way. I definitely always found that if my baby knew what to expect, things went much smoother.

    • Jennifer - The Deliberate Mom

      Jessica, your words have blessed me. A few days ago when my blog crashed and I thought it was gone forever, I contemplated quitting. Your words reaffirmed why I love blogging… sometimes by sharing a thought, a process, or a story, we help others. I want to help others. I want to serve others… this is a wonderful way for me to do so.

      I am flattered that I’m one of your top 3 parenting gurus. Truly. Thank you.

  • Shecki Grtlyblesd

    I’ve been changing diapers for the last 2 decades, so I’m pretty efficient at it. I have an organizer that hangs off the table, and I always keep a few small toys in there to occupy little hands. It’s a great teaching time, too. My girls learned their English body parts from practicing on the changing table.