Have you visited a toy shop lately? Of course you have. Have you walked in looking for the perfect toy for your baby, but walked out with a headache? Maybe. There are just so many toys nowadays it makes the mind boggle. Well, here’s a little secret: YOU are the best toy for your baby. Let me explain how you help develop your baby’s brain:
Your newborn sees best at about 18-30cm, or “breastfeeding distance”, and is programmed to find your face very appealing and stimulating. So it’s your face on which they want to practice their focusing and tracking.
The best way to develop language is to use it. Talk to your baby. Sing to your baby. They LOVE your voice (even if you are not Mariah Carey) and you will maintain their attention better than any musical toy.
Gross & fine motor skills
In order to move parts of their body effectively, your baby must learn where these parts are. They’re not born “knowing” that they have feet, they must discover them, and touching them sends this information to the brain. “Oh my goodness, my feet at the end of my legs!”
No baby toy teaches your baby about respect and gives them a positive self image to keep for the rest of their lives. You are the one that does that. Your facial expressions and voice intonation (and how you respond to your baby’s cues) teaches your baby about emotions.
How baby massage can help
Baby massage incorporates all of the above areas of development through positioning, constant communication and touch. And unlike other toys, your baby won’t outgrow it after 6 months; baby massage can be modified all the way up to teenage massage!
Of course you will probably still want to shower your baby with presents this Christmas, just don’t forget that you will always be the favourite.
How do you play with your children? Do you find it easy, or is it a struggle?
Baby Harmony is a member of the Post and Antenatal Depression Association (PANDA). To see all their articles, click here.