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Bubbles and the Brain: Why Bath Time is More Than Just Getting Clean
Bubbles and the Brain: Why Bath Time is More Than Just Getting Clean
Bath time is a special time for parents and children to connect. But it can be about more than getting clean. J&J dad David shares what you may not know about why bath time is so important for your child.

When I became a dad, I didn’t know what to expect. Who knew I would get my toenails painted pink by a 3-year-old, or that I would be drinking imaginary tea and discussing how socks with seams just don’t work? No one said raising two daughters would be easy, but I enjoy every minute! Some of my favorite memories of my girls were in those day to day “mundane” routines we as parents know far too well. You know what I’m talking about: the “getting ready in the morning” routine, the “it’s time for homework” routine, and my favorite, the “let’s get ready for bath time” routine.

JOHNSON’S® just sponsored a new Global Bath Time Report, and uncovered that over half of dads (54%) say they are primarily responsible for bath time, which I found fascinating. Bath time in particular was most fun for me – partly because there is nothing more relaxing than getting ready for bed, but mostly for the scientist in me, who knew I was doing much more for my girls than just getting them clean.

Having worked with JOHNSON’S® for so many years, I was able to spend a lot of time looking at the science behind bath time – how it’s the perfect ritual that allows parents to unlock their baby’s senses. Let me explain why. More and more research is pointing to the role a baby’s senses play in their happy, healthy development. Specifically, science is demonstrating the benefits of smell and touch on a child’s cognitive, emotional and physiological development.

When you look through the lens of the research on sensorial experiences, you can begin to see why bath time becomes so important. It becomes a place where so many of their senses are being evoked, including sound, touch, and smell. Here are just a few of my favorite “did you knows” about what’s happening during the bath:

  • Playing with bubbles helps babies develop hand-eye coordination and discover objects exist even when they can’t be seen
  • Splashing helps teach babies cause and effect
  • Listening to bath time music and songs can stimulate parts of the brain responsible for memory
  • Talking to your baby during bath time is an opportunity to help them build their vocabulary.
  • Close skin to skin contact between a parent and baby helps calm baby’s breathing

Learning doesn’t have to actually stop in the bathtub either. A gentle routine baby massage, like a little rub of the feet, can lead to improved cognitive performance and increased alertness and attentiveness.

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So cool, isn’t it? As more and more research is being conducted in this space, I hope parents will begin to see the other side of bath time—an opportunity for them to help their babies learn and grow.

Tell me how else you are stimulating your baby’s senses during bath time in the comments section below!

To learn more about the importance of bathtime in baby’s development, visit

Dr. David A. Mays is a member of the Research and Development team at JOHNSON’S®, working to create baby skin care products that are guided by the brand’s BEST FOR BABY™ Standard. David is a father, a pharmacist, and scientist and he provides the internal perspective on the SO MUCH MORE™ campaign launch and elaborates on the brand’s commitment to pioneering the science and setting global standards in baby skin care for more than 120 years.

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