Whilst a fairly tongue in cheek title for this post, I genuinely can say there have been MANY days in Baby G’s first year where I have simply gone into survival mode! I doubt very much I’m alone in this and would go as far to say that any parent who says every day is blissful and perfect are after Pinocchio’s crown! Being a parent, whether it be first, second or third time is SOOOOO difficult! I met a lady today who was on baby number five and I sat there gobsmacked at how composed, together and relaxed she was but I would bet my house on the fact she has many days where survival mode is the only way!
So as G approaches the big number 1, I have contemplated what it was that got us through the first year! Still three weeks to go though so I won’t count my chickens yet! Most days we get out and about; playgroups, baby classes, play dates and so on but we all have those days where getting dressed is just NOT on the agenda let alone leaving the house. As well as that, getting out is only a small portion of the day, what about all the bits in-between?
The aim of this post then is to make the days a little easier whilst supporting baby’s development! As our children’s first and most important educators, the responsibility is on us to ensure the foundations are there; that they have the best start possible and we nurture their natural inquisitive nature. So, here is our top ten on how we survive from day to day…
1. No surprise, our number one has to be a good book (or ten!) From around a month old, I read to Baby G and J. As a result they adore books! I know I go on about this a lot, but I cannot emphasise the point enough; reading to our children is by far the single most important thing we can do to support their education and development both now and in the future! It genuinely is crucial and by far the best gift a child can receive! Baby G has inherited her Mummy’s and Daddy’s obsession with books as this clip exemplifies…
2. We are constantly singing; in the car, walking around the house, at bath time, whilst cooking dinner and whenever G is getting grizzly. Music and singing is superb for children’s development. Music encourages the links between brain cells in baby’s brain and helps build pathways believed to help children with reading, writing and maths later on in their education. Singing is crucial for language development in the early years. The natural rhymes and rhythms in nursery rhymes and children’s songs help children with their early language development. Babies will also enjoy the songs and rhymes with actions and will be able to join in with them in this way before they can sing them themselves. G is loving ‘wind the bobbin up’ at the moment and does the cutest winding action with her arms!
3. From a very young age and beyond one, babies love a game of peekaboo. I have mentioned before that I adore my rainbow scarves as they are so versatile and can be used for years and years. J still loves playing with them now. Babies love anticipation and find it very amusing when they know what’s coming next so peekaboo is a firm favourite.
4. Not all babies like soft toys (J didn’t as a baby) but G has been a fan from quite early on. The softer the bear, the better as she will sit for ages stroking the fur. She also enjoys it when teddy ‘talks.’ We don’t have a magical bear, no Mummy or Daddy is the voice but G us mesmerised by them. She smiles, kisses and cuddles them whenever they start talking and this again, is great for G’s language development.
5. I am yet to meet a baby who does not enjoy bubbles! A sure fire way to calm a grizzly, over tired baby down and how easy is it to blow a few bubbles? I must admit though, neither of mine are fans of the bubble machines (unless they are at a party or baby class) as they are just so loud. The noise completely freaks them out! So we stick with the small bottles of bubbles and G happily watches trying to catch the bubbles as they float past her.
6. From a very young age babies love other baby faces. What better face then to look at than their own? When G was a new born, (literally a couple of weeks old) she would lie for AGES watching the baby in the mirror! It would calm her, relax her and keep her entertained for ages. Now, when she looks in the mirror she is far more animated. She tries to kiss, touch and smack that baby! When we look together, I point to the nose, eyes, ears and mouth naming the parts so that this is supporting G’s language and knowledge of body parts. She also loves being able to see Mummy’s (very lopsided face) in the mirror too!
7. Even before G was able to sit up she enjoyed watching balls roll around. She would flap her arms and discover how her arm knocked the ball away. She has played so many ball games and they have all been games of discovery especially discovering cause and effect. Now that she is learning to walk, she enjoys knocking them with her feet and is beginning to throw them across the room too!
8. Treasure baskets are superb for baby’s discovery. They can learn so much from the contents of a treasure basket. As treasure baskets contain items from around the house they are a very inexpensive way to keep baby entertained. Here are some treasure basket ideas here…
9. Teething is quite often a cause for not wanting to leave the house and going into survival mode as I mentioned before. There are lots of teething toys on the market but I find using reusable ice cubes works great for baby G. She obviously has to be supervised with them but she finds them so soothing for her gums. You can buy teething toys that go in the fridge/freezer too. I have used these ice cubes for baby play and J likes to play with them in the summer too. See the post here for play with reusable ice cubes.
10. Sensory bottles are another home-made activity that come out a lot for us. Baby G loves rolling and shaking things so these are always a hit. See post here for sensory bottles and how to make them.
So we have lots to entertain baby. I find getting out and talking to other parents is the best medicine for me as an adult and human being (yes, I am a human being too, not just a Mummy!) For days when going out makes me want to cry, what is the best thing for survival?
That’s how we survived the first year! I would LOVE to hear your top ten or what you would add to the list. I hope tomorrow is a good day and if not, dip into the survival kit!