|Babies and sheepskin rugs -- a match made in heaven (and on the floor!)|
[ ] Crib/Bassinet
[ ] Car Seat
[ ] Stroller
[ ] Baby Carrier
[ ] Front/Back Packs
[ ] High Chair
[ ] Play Pen
[ ] Jolly Jumper
[ ] Exer-Saucer
[ ] Any Others?
Now, think about that list from your child’s perspective. Chances are, if you own more than 2 or 3 of these things, she is spending a good part of her waking day in a contained space, unable to move at will, separated from the vibrant sensations of life by plastic walls with well-intentioned padding.
OK. Before you get nervous, I am NOT advocating the abolishment of car seats, strollers, cribs, and the like. Keeping a child safe in a dangerous or uncontrollable environment such as a moving car, a crowded mall, or a darkened nighttime room is ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL.
But in situations where YOU control the environment – like your own home – consider how you can allow her to safely follow her natural instincts to move and explore without interference from these artificial containers.
Get out the vacuum, remove any sharp objects or breakables, and do whatever else you feel you need to do to make the floor safe for your child, then let her enjoy the feeling of freedom and movement the floor provides.
I think you'll find the floor is your child’s best, first playground… especially when she’s got a buddy like you to play with!
SNUGGLERS (newborns and infants not yet crawling)
Put a soft blanket on the floor and lay baby down. Giving your little one a sense of the wide open spaces of the room will give her a new sense of space and her environment. Then turn her on her tummy and encourage her to see the world from that angle, such as…
· If you have one, put your fish bowl on the floor and she will be fascinated with the shimmering movement. (Just watch out for the cat!)
· Short of a fish bowl, try a mirror. (Babies love to look at themselves.)
· Place favourite toys in front of her to attract her attention.
· Lie down on your tummy and have a nose to nose chat. (Babies love to look at you!)
At this stage, encourage crawling short and long distances as well as over, under, and through different things, such as…
· Make tunnels – use the coffee table or a cardboard box opened on both ends so she can crawl through it
· Make hills – use pillows and sofa cushions to crawl over
· Add textures and sounds – create multi-sensory experiences by having your child crawl over crumpled paper or bubble wrap
Providing extra sensory stimulation to her feet will help as she gets ready to walk on her own. Take off her shoes and socks and have her step on different textures, such as…
· Soft rugs
· Smooth, cool hardwood or tiled floors
· Prickly welcome mat from outside
· Soft and nubby terrycloth towel
· Crumpled paper
· Bubble wrap
BOPPERS/SCOOTERS/SKEDADDLERS (walking and running)
Now up and running, the floor is where the action is! Encourage full use of the space by asking her how many ways she can get across the room?
· Tip Toe
· Walk like a Crab
· And whatever else the two of you come up with!