When walking or browsing the stores, there seems to be unanimity on what to acquire for your baby, how to do it and how to proceed. Yet there are other possibilities, other ways of acting that are emerging more and more. I want to share my experience with you, to sow a small seed of alternative to inspire you to another possibility.
On the one hand, the classic: very colorful toys, often with batteries, producing various sounds ranging from the alphabet to the scale of musical notes. Sometimes it even has lights to attract baby's attention. There are all kinds: toys for baby to have fun standing supported by fabric, equipment for swinging, stimulating, awakening, sleeping. When I cross this aisle of the store, I quickly feel overwhelmed by the colors, the sounds, the plastic.
And then, on the other hand, there is a whole different way of understanding baby's needs. A vision where there are fewer toys and where those chosen are more made of wood, without battery or sound other than those provoked by the baby himself. You may have seen pictures on Pinterest of alternative baby universes before and felt like it was difficult to acquire or complex to appropriate. That's why I want to guide you to some basics that will help you take your first steps.
Baby's awakening space
The first thing I pay attention to is the choice of the surface on which I place the baby. Beyond the comfort, I try to opt for a fabric with neutral colors without drawing or pattern. My goal is for the baby to be able to distinguish his toys and his own body easily from the surface. So instead of obsessing over the patterns and colors of the rug, baby can focus on one thing at a time: a toy, his face, his hands, etc. A fabric loaded with patterns may stimulate him too much if he is just discovering it.
Everything is new to him. As he gradually learns to manage all the information in his surroundings, a more uncluttered space helps him to be calmer and more focused. Next to its floor space, I put a large unbreakable mirror. If baby is not in the mood to be dropped off, I will portage him. Babywearing has many advantages for the development of the infant and for the mother to be able to take care of the other children.
The choice of the first toys
0 to 6 months
Here are three toys that meet my criteria and a baby's needs as first toys.
- Thistoy to promote various stimuli related to touch.
- Thisrattle type which makes a soft sound is normally the first one I get, hanging over baby in her ark.
- TheBalthazar's book of thanks is a simple little book to get started with reading with baby. The collection also offers several other choices.
To stimulate baby's sight
In the waking space, change of diaper
I really like themsingle contrast black and white images, a simple mobile (without battery) or theMontessori mobiles. When he gets a little older, I add more colorful pictures and / or photos of his family or everyday objects.
A little tip: I always try to arrange the images so that he can easily turn away from them. In practice, I put them on the sides rather than in front of or on top of it. It gives him a certain power: he can turn his head and choose not to undergo too much stimulation unlike when everything is suspended above him. I try to offer him a clean and calming environment.
Baby's first games
When baby is awake, I alternate between classic activities such as singing, making him touch various textures, massaging him or describing the house to him. He also has free play periods as soon as I feel he's ready. Usually, this begins when his waking periods lengthen and he agrees to be dropped off. These moments end up becoming part of the routine. For example, I will put it in its waking space every morning after its first drink. I want to point out that at the very beginning, I do a baby moon time to establish lactation and get to know the baby. The game can wait until it grows a bit. u.
Never interrupt a playing baby
One rule I try to follow from birth is to never (or as little as possible) disturb my baby when he is focused. If he's staring at the ceiling, I'll wait until he looks away or turns his head to talk to him. I have great respect for his world and the attention he gives to what surrounds him. The goal is for him to get used to being able to keep his attention for several minutes on the same thing.
Battery-powered interactive toys and exercisers
You may feel that certain items like the exerciser are a must have in your baby's starter set. In order to respect the baby's development in the expected natural order, I personally try to avoid anything that forces baby to adopt a position that he cannot take on his own. These principles are those of thea free motor skills : placing baby on his stomach, on the ground, is the best way to help him develop fully.
The problem with battery-powered toys is somewhat similar, as it deprives the child of key experiences as well as the exploration of many variables. For example, no matter how hard you hit a toy that sings when touched, the sound will always be the same. On the other hand, if you hit a wooden rattle, the sound will be different depending on the force of the blow. This is how babies learn and make connections. Wooden toys have a texture, a smell that I love to give to my babies.
A little parenthesis is in my opinion necessary with regard to the baby's exposure to television. For several years there have been films or televisions suitable for babies. The recommendations of the Canadian Pediatric Society are clear: screens should be avoided as much as possible before the age of 2 years. I'll admit that well before his two years, my fifth child listens with his siblings during movie nights a movie or two a month. As for the so-called stimulating programs at a young age, let's say that many question their relevance and I am one of them.
Finally, my last advice is very simple: start from the beginning to create habits, redundancies, to work on your family culture. It can be quite simple: always say the same words in the morning, read the same book, get into the habit of counting 1-2-3 by taking it in our arms ... These small repetitive gestures will be of great help to you. helps in baby's first year (and beyond). In the midst of growth spurts, wonder weeks (changes in brain levels), they will be benchmarks for your baby.
I hope this article will make you want to enjoy some simple time with your baby and pay attention to his innate curiosity for the world. Rather than seeking constant stimulation and entertainment, lie down next to your baby and enjoy the moving trees with him or the gentle sound of the rattle whenever he manages to reach him.
Signed Five minutes to play - Zoé L. Sirois