BATHING, CLOTHING, AND EXERCISE.
Bathing. The directions already given about bathing infants should be carried out with older children. At about six months of age, sluicing with water, which is just tepid, with the morning bath may be given. That is to say, the bath-tub may be filled with water of a moderate warmth, but the child is rapidly sponged with water less warm. Thereafter the drying should be thorough and accompanied by gentle but firm rubbing. If the child seems to feel the cold too much, the colder water should be abandoned for a time. When chil dren become old enough to stand in the bath for the morning cleansing, the water in which they stand should be warm, and tepid water used with a sponge. Children who are able to stand and run about should not be allowed to scamper over the nursery while the bath is being prepared. The body becomes chilled in this way and is unable to stand the cold bath well. The child should be rapidly bathed just out of bed, while it is still in full warmth, able to bear the cold and to induce reaction after wards. At the same time, if it has been unduly warm and sweating in bed, time must be given for it to cool down in bed before being taken to the bath. After bathing, the children should be quickly dressed before a fire and then al lowed to run about. The evening bath should be always warmer than that of the morning, and from it the child should be put straight to bed. If the practice of the morning cool bath is kept up, then as the child grows it will be so accus tomed to it that it will be desired and continued.
Clothing. — Regarding clothing sufficient has been said on p. 569, as it is applicable to older as well as to younger children. The dress should fit well, though easily, round the neck, and should always have sleeves to cover the arms. Colds and chest complaints are too frequently due to the half-naked way in which mothers like to see their children's shoulders and arms. If socks are worn, gaiters should be added to protect the legs. When stockings are used, they should never be secured by garters at the knee, for these restrict the cir culation and are hurtful ; suspenders are the proper means of keeping them up. The same is true of gaiters. Shoes should be as soft and
pliable as possible. Specially while in the house should stiff shoes and boots be removed. They prevent free growth of the muscles of the feet and hinder vigorous and elastic move ments.
Exercise.--Up to the age of nine months or thereby a child's exercise is obtained mostly in its nurse's arms, or lying kicking in her lap or in its cot. About nine or ten months, however, the child begins to attempt crawling. If the floor be covered by a warm rug or carpet this is well, but care should be taken that draughts do not sweep across the floor. From crawling it will take to getting on its feet by the aid of a chair, and so on till it essays to walk. A mother should let her child go through all the stages at its own sweet will. It will gradually learn itself to use its legs, will become slowly accus tomed to maintain the erect position, and thus the muscles are gradually trained to their full use. This is better than setting a child up Or, its legs and trying to force it into erect ways of moving. If a child is more than usually heavy its own weight may be too great for the still oft and yielding bones to bear, and the child s often disinclined to attempt standing up straight. It prefers crawling, and it is right, tud ought to be allowed to choose its own way.
When children are old enough to walk out /lid themselves take exercise in the open air, it is best, if there is an open space for it, to let them do so by engaging in some simple game, rather than by dawdling along holding on by the skirts of a nurse. It is free active exercise of arms as well as legs, and of chest muscles too, that a child needs.
During some part of the middle portion of the day the child should have a mid-day sleep, even when it has reached the third or fourth year. In summer the warmest part of the day is best for this purpose, and the room should be cool and darkened, the child being lightly covered. The time of exercise would thus be in the morn ing, before the heat becomes great, or in the afternoon, but before it becomes too cool in the evening. In winter the time of the daily sleep needs some alteration to permit the child being out while it is warmest and sunniest.