One of the tasks of early parenting is to stimulate your baby to ensure optimal development. In the book Baby Sense, I outline four elements to keep in mind, using the acronym TEAT:
Time – choose the right time to stimulate your baby when she is in the calm-alert state.
Environment – Without any toys your baby’s environment can be stimulating – walks in a carrier or a trip to the beach are wonderful environments for little ones to learn from their world.
Activity – Activities such as a Mom and Baby group or a baby massage group are also a fabulous way to not only stimulate your baby but also to engage and connect.
Toys – the final letter in the acronym to stimulate your baby is through the use of Toys and Games.
Tips on Toys
- The simpler the better – the best toys are those that allow the baby to create and discover themselves. A simple pot and spoon is a wonderful toy. Imagine all the things your baby can do – make sounds, discover rhythms, put something inside the pot or turn it upside down. You can also sit on a pot or put it on your head as a hat. You can see that a simple pot and spoon offers a wonderful opportunity for learning and creativity.
- Offer only 4 toys at a time – Even if you have a wonderful array of toys, limit the number of toys you give your baby at a time. This encourages her to explore the qualities of each toy properly and usually results in more constructive play.
- Make sure the toys you offer are age appropriate and safe. Under the age of two, you need to seriously watch for small parts that can be choked on.
- Technology is not a toy – it is tempting with all the wonderful apps that are out there to offer your tablet or smart phone to your baby as a source of stimulation. The problem is that reliance on technology results in less creativity, poor motor skills as this area is not challenged at all.