As we move into 2016 you know this will be your baby’s first full year of living! What does that actually mean? A year from now your baby will be in a completely different stage of life. He or she will be a toddler. Baby will be mobile, crawling and certainly walking. Baby will be totally alert, able to communicate with you in new ways and cognisant of your surroundings. How can you help baby grow and mature over the next year?
- Take time to talk directly to baby. Look him in the eyes and wait for a response. I remember being in a grocery store with my eldest when he was 6 months old. I was talking to him about the groceries, what I was planning to cook, etc. A woman walked up to me and said, “You talk to him like he is a real person!”. She was surprised. I said, “Yes I do.”, smiled at her and continued down the aisle. My longterm goal was for my son to develop excellent conversational and cognitive skills. Of course I am going to talk to him “like he is a real person.” He is a real person!!!! How else would I talk to him?????
- Read to baby. I encourage you not to go looking for baby books to read. Read aloud to baby what you are reading. Baby is not nearly as interested in the words as she is in the time with you, your voice, passion, and intonation. If you read aloud things that interest and excite you baby will know it and eventually be excited about these things too! In college I had a friend whose family was close and connected. I asked her mother how she developed this. I was told that mom began taking her girls antiquing at age 2. Her 3 girls grew up loving antiques and sharing this love with each other and mom. So easy!!! Teach your kids to enjoy and love what you love. They will eventually develop their own loves, but in the meantime you have shared wonderful times together!
- When you are driving around in the car don’t just turn on the radio and check out. Engage baby in conversation. Talk about the music you like, where you are going, work, anything!!! You develop the habit of participating and it becomes second nature. Begin this as early as possible for your benefit. I remembering singing songs as we drove from place to place. Eventually I began pointing out the fast food restaurants to my 18 month old. He did not know what they were for, but he recognized their logos and could call them out as we drove by! Ha! Ha! Just another way to engage
To recap: Continue enjoying the magazines, books, radio shows, music, you like best. Simply be intentional about including your baby in the process. This will pay off when your baby is enjoying these things later on! Interacting with baby need not be a chore! Make it fun for both of you!!