If quarantine has led to anything good, it’s more time spent with family and loved ones, including babies! For moms and dads who may have otherwise had to go back to work, quarantine has been a welcomed time to be by their newborn’s side a little longer than planned. In addition to all of the other aspects of newborn care, starting your wee one early with healthy learning activities can work wonders in development, and here are five activities you can start right in your own home.
Reading kids books with just a few words on each page are great ways to introduce language to you babies, but even when they are having a bottle or dozing off, reading anything aloud helps hone language in the young brain. In addition to spoken words, singing and rhyming also sparks babies’ brains, and the repetitive nature of the rhymes stick in all of our brains better than just hearing words spoken. The Farmer in the Dell and the Ittsy Bittsy Spider agree!
Even though restrictions are aplenty as far as where we can venture during quarantine, everything is new to a baby. Brining in some flowers and grass from outside to let them observe and smell (but not eat!) spark the brain and increase familiarity with some things they may not be able to experience in full quite yet because of quarantine. Another exploratory exercise for babies involves lights. Turning off the lights and playing with some flashlights spark the imagination and help root the understanding of light and dark.
If your wee one is crawling, a simple and safe obstacle course is a great way to build problem solving methods and stimulation in youngsters. Forts, small objects in the way, and a big smile at the end of the journey are great parts to add to your obstacle course. Some other great problem-solving exercises are stacking games, simple puzzles, and the famous “pulling things out of a tissue box.” Tip for the latter: you can fill it back up with washcloths and save on tissues!
It’s never to early for art, and finger painting with babies is not only good for their creative minds, but it’s also a lot of fun. You may be quite surprised at what they can make. Music is also something that can be beneficial to babies, even before they are born. Setting up some pots and pans for the future percussionist, or simply putting on some soothing music and humming along to your infant will increase artistic function.
Avoid the Screens
Though some device-based activities are successful when it comes to teaching toddlers and young children, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that screen time for kids under 18 months should be close to non-existent, and even with the joy of bright cartoons and things of the like, little-to-no educational value is taken from screen watching in babies. In addition to reporting that no real cognitive function increases with infant screen use, it can, however, lead to some negative mental effects, including learning disabilities.
This lack of outdoor exposure early in life and can start kids down a path devoid of physical activity. Tus, getting kids away from the screens early can keep them away from the screens when it comes time to explore on their own.
Evolve With Your Baby
All of these activities are great for infants and children under 18 months or so, but babies grow very, very quickly, so be sure to always be searching for new ways to serve your baby’s growing mind, and don’t be too sad when the tissue boxes needed to be traded in for books and calculators!