You may well want your baby to hit their development milestones, but sometimes it’s the surprising tactics that work best
So you want to do the best for your baby. But could it be that you’re doing too much? Just as you’ve probably learned plenty from your own mistakes (just look at the hairstyle pics from your teens), so will your baby.
Your house and local park may be a bit ‘meh’ to you by now, but the everyday is a pretty exciting world to discover for your baby. And there are plenty of easy ways to let him explore.
1. Allow your baby to grow up
Don’t do something for your baby that he can do for himself, such as putting on wellies. He benefits from the practice, even if he puts his feet in the wrong boot nine out of 10 times.
2. Accept that toddlers get hurt
Falling over, bumping heads and scraping knees are all part of learning how the world works. He has to find out the hard way.
So, next time your little one has a minor tumble, don’t make too much of a fuss – if you don’t seem overly bothered, he won’t either.
3. Let your little one play alone
‘He needs to discover things on his own to make the most of his creative and problem-solving skills,’ says Baby Sensory founder Dr Lin Day. Plus, until he reaches toddler-hood he’ll struggle to get a grip on the concept of sharing and playing together, anyway.
Simple games, such as a bag filled with objects to take out or put back, are useful.
4. Stretch his legs
Yes, it’s definitely quicker to strap him in the buggy and go. But if your baby can walk, let him. If he’s walking alongside your buggy, he’ll jump in when he gets tired.
5. Welcome chaos
Put away your inner clean freak and allow feeding times to be messy. ‘Put paper or towels down and allow your baby to feed himself, if he can,’ says consultant paediatrician Dr Jo Jones. ‘If you keep doing it for him, he may not learn as fast.’
6. Mistakes are good
Your baby may be looking confused by that shape sorter, but that doesn’t mean you should step in to show him how. ‘Frustration is an important part of development and you need to let your toddler make mistakes, so he can learn from them,’ says educational psychologist Dr Jeremy Monsen.
‘Allow your child to engage and problem-solve, unless there is a safety risk.’