Hey there, pro! You’re entering the second half of your baby’s first year and I bet you feel like you’ve been at this for years already (and also, that your little one was only born yesterday…how does time do that?!). Most experts will define the newborn stage as the first three months, but I am more generous and say that the newborn stage is the first six months.
At six months, I noticed a total flip in the interests of my daughter. No longer content to merely sit and stare, E wanted to use her limited mobility to explore entire rooms. For some of you, you are a few short months away from having a full-on walking child. Others still have up to a year before they have to clear off yet another shelf on their bookcases. Regardless of your child’s developmental timeline, you will experience rolling, crawling, and walking soon. How do you prepare your house to provide a safe and stimulating environment for your little one?
When looking at the giant box of baby-proofing supplies, you might feel daunted. The great news about baby-proofing is it’s a gradual process and your baby will help show you what needs proofing. It’s not that I depended on being retroactive, but it certainly helped that E could only slowly roll over to an interesting bundle of power cords at seven months. We were able to keep up with her, and adjust our furnishings gradually as she became more mobile and curious.
Coming soon, I’ll share a post full of baby-proofing tips, which I’ve collected during my work as an at-home daycare provider. The one tip that I’ll share here is to create a completely safe room.
If you can, convert a room or a space into a completely enclosed area that you can allow your baby to explore independently. Place four or five engaging toys around the room and then go do a chore. My recommended spread: one book, one toy with buttons, one stuffed animal, one toy with a mirror, and a rattle/noisemaker. Benefits: Learn independent play, Free time for parent, Introduce the concept: “when mommy/daddy goes away, I will come back.”
Up, Up, Down!
Using blocks or other stackable objects, build a tower with your baby while saying, “up, up, up, up!” every time you place a new block on the tower. I use a sing-song voice and go up a note every time. Babies love destruction, so eventually they will want to knock the tower over. When they do, use a deep (but fun) voice to say, “down, down, down!” Be prepared for giggles! Benefits: Language, Eye/hand coordination, Bonding
During story time, ask your baby to turn the pages for you. It might take a couple of tries, but eventually you’ll have an assistant who is very invested in the story! Benefits: Eye/hand coordination, Language development, Bonding
Hide and Seek
Take baby’s favorite toy and hide it under a blanket. Let baby watch as you do this. Then dramatically ask, “where’s your teddy?” Babies love seeking toys once they’ve been hidden. Benefits: Object permanence, Language development, Movement
Your baby will reach this developmental milestones when they are ready. This activity isn’t intended to hurry along crawling, but rather to give your baby motivation.
During tummy time, place a favorite toy just out of reach in front of your baby. As baby attempts to reach the toy, talk about crawling. You can encourage baby by lifting their feet to see if they’ll push up onto their arms and raise their hips. Benefits: Muscle development, Coordination
Sometime after four months of age, most babies begin to understand the concept of object permanence. That’s what makes mom or dad disappearing momentarily behind a blanket such a thrilling and educational experience. Benefits: Object permanence, Memory, Cognitive skills
A variety of textures, sounds, and sights offer endless amusement for baby and are easy to procure for you. Offer simple objects like noodles, sandpaper, different fabrics, bumpy balls, ice, and tape for your baby to explore under your supervision. Benefits: Tactile stimulation, Sensory development/awareness
Nursery Rhymes/Finger Play
Your baby is ready to watch and imitate you, and nothing is so pleasant as the sound of your voice and your one-on-one attention as you play nursery games. A few of our favorites:
- Eency, Weency Spider
- Five Little Ducks
- One Little Finger
I sang these songs for months before getting a response, but the information sunk in and I’m a firm believer that it helped to build a great vocabulary. Benefits: Music and movement, Vocabulary and Language Development