Our friends at Brit+Co chatted with The
Little Gym’s Director of Curriculum, Randy McCoy about 7 simple ways to
bond with and boost your baby’s development. Keep reading to learn more
about what Randy had to share.
a new parent, you’ve got tons of questions. There’s so much you need to
know, like how to deal with separation anxiety as a working mom or how
exactly to travel with a newborn. Sure, you read dozens of books
about how to parent while pregnant, but now that your babe is here, you
don’t have time to read the millions of parenting books out there. You
want to spend quality time with your kiddo, but beyond bath time, you’re
wondering what you can do to squeeze the most learning and fun into
every minute. We chatted with Randy McCoy, the curriculum director
at The Little Gym, about seven simple ways to engage your baby in some
developmental learning that’s fun for both of you.
and conquer. With the many responsibilities that come with parenthood —
diaper changes, baths and meal time — chores such as doing the dishes
and sweeping suddenly seem like Herculean tasks. Split the household
duties with your partner so that one of you is with the baby and the
other is taking care of the little things that keep your house running.
“If moms and dads make a concerted effort to divide up and share these
responsibilities, then some dads might find themselves with more quality
time with their children,” says Randy. If you’re a parent of multiples,
consider hiring a housekeeper so you can spend more time with your
little ones. It’s totally okay to have a messy house too!
it up. It can be tough those first few months without another adult to
talk to other than your partner. Look for Mommy, Daddy + Me classes in
your area that are age appropriate to socialize with other new parents
who are going through the same joys and fears as you. “Not only do
Parent/Child programs offer activities that parents can do with their
child at home, they also provide valuable developmental information
too,” says Randy. Plus, you can bond with other parents about milestones
like crawling, eating first foods and rolling over.
chatty. From newborns through the first year of their lives, babies are
adorable little sponges who absorb every detail, sight and sound around
them. So the best thing you can do to boost their language skills is
talk to them often, even if it feels a little silly. “Playful speech —
higher pitched with inflections — helps develop language skills in
babies,” says Randy. “Your baby is listening, watching and taking it all
in. They are hearing the sound of your voice, watching the movements of
your mouth and tongue and hearing the individual sounds of the words
you speak.” Pick up board books to read out loud to your baby. Narrate
throughout their diaper change. Talk about your day. Have fun and don’t
be afraid to bust out some silly voices too.
’em a song. Music for babies doesn’t have to be limited to nursery
rhymes. You can make a playlist of your favorite tunes and sing while
giving them a bath. Make up songs about anything and everything. Your
baby isn’t judging your not-so-American-Idol voice. They just enjoy the
sound of your voice, since they’ve been listening to you since day one
from the womb.
Get down on the
floor. Play time is learning time for your kiddo and is a great way for
some quality one-on-one time. “Putting your baby on the floor with a
variety of colorful and interesting things to reach for and look at
accomplishes two things. One, it’s a great way to exercise the muscles
of their back and core. Two, it stimulates their sense of touch and
sight,” says Randy. Randy suggests cuddling, rocking them back and forth
and trying out different movements and motions. In short, play like
you’re a kid!
Cuddle up. If
you’re a working parent, you might be stressing out how to squeeze in
all of this quality time before and after your full-time job. Randy says
that at least one hour every day will go a long way. Daily activities
like diaper changes, getting your baby ready for bed and story time are
all times to focus solely on your baby with plenty of kisses and cuddles
afterward. “Holding, cuddling, kissing and hugging are all quality
moments that allow for maximum parent-child bonding,” says Randy. Those
sweet baby cheeks are practically begging for unlimited smooches from
Mom and Dad.
Feast for the
senses. Your baby’s brain is developing every single day. Provide them
with lots of sensory input to get their five senses working. “Make their
environment interesting and stimulating. It’s one of the best things
you can do with your baby,” says Randy. Let them hang out in their high
chair while you cook dinner to engage their sense of smell. Play
different types of music or offer musical toys. Give them different
textures to feel. Offer colorful toys that make sounds when shaken. Talk
about your day with them. Even if they don’t respond to every single
thing you’re doing, just know that they’re taking it all in.
with a busy schedule and a messy house, you can still make quality time
with your baby productive and fun. To learn more about The Little Gym
or to find a class near you, visit www.thelittlegym.com.au