Tips to Make the Changing Table a Happy Place

Family Matters on 06.23.11
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My hubby and I have a very active child. From the womb, she was constantly moving, making her presence known. When she learned how to rollover, she could make it across the room in 5 seconds flat. When she learned to crawl, she took off to explore. And now that she's walking, those dreams of relaxing on the couch for just a minute after work are laughable.

Most of the time, I think this is a blessing and I hope that the high activity level stays with her throguh life. Even when we're on our 30th lap around the first floor of the house or we're on our 200th trip up and down the stairs, I'm still glad she enjoys moving. However, there's one time when I wish she would be still, just for two minutes: the changing table.

When I went online to see what I could do to remedy this frustrating time in our day, I was surprised by two things. First, how common this is amongst toddlers the world over, and second, how much worse I could have it. You see, my daughter simply doesn't want to sit still long enough to have her diaper changed or her clothes put on. She will immediately roll over and try to stand up. More often than not, she lunges for the light switch to play with that. But she's laughing and having a good time. It seems, though, that other children hate it and will have nuclear meltdowns, complete with tears, screams, and scratching.

If you're having the same problem with your wee one, let me share with you the tips and tricks I've compiled from friends, other mothers, doctors, and books. Hopefully, one will work for you and we can all avoid World War III with a determined toddler.


The most popular piece of advice I came across was to give them something that would take their mind off what was happening. Some examples were toys that light up or make noise, a set of keys, or an object that they usually don't ever get to touch like your cell phone or the remote control. If they get bored easily, keep a stash of toys in the top drawer and rotate through them.

You could also try to reposition the changing table so they have new things to look at. Move it closer to the window so your baby can look outside. Some children may develop a sudden fear for being that high off the ground. Try putting the changing pad on the floor to see if that alleviates the tears.


Let your baby help you by holding onto the wipes or the diaper and explaining to him or her exactly what you're doing.  You could also try to make a game of it. A friend told me that she sings a diaper-changing song when it's time to go. Her son starts dancing along to the beat and walks himself into his room and gladly gets on the changing table. While you're changing your baby, continue to sing or tell a story.


If nothing seems to work, then it may be time for the potty training to begin. Now, I'm not sure that my daughter is ready (she's only a few days past her first birthday), but if yours is a bit older, you could give it a shot. And if all else fails...


From most of the people I spoke with and the advice I read, this is just a phase. That is not to say it's the last time your child will go through this phase, but more often than not, it will probably pass. In the meantime, do the changing as fast as possible and learn quickly how to put a diaper on while they're standing up or crawling across the floor. You'll pick it up in no time.

Do you have any other tips or tricks to make diaper time a happy time? Let me know in the comments below!

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