Be bored – it’s the best!, said no little one ever. The modern world is littered with overscheduling and over stimulating our babies. We need to remember to leave time aside that is unscheduled and unstructured.
You might not realise it but your baby is a little scientist. They are exploring the world through their senses, It’s through this exploration that your baby tests the parameters of the world and develops creativity. The best exploring happens when there is time and space to experiment.
As parents, we might feel pressured to enroll in baby classes. Or offer them stimulation at every waking minute of the day, But neither of these build the skills you are probably hoping for. By opening up free time and space, your little one is forced to explore. In other words, your baby needs time to be bored to be creative.
Guidelines to make space for free time:
- Schedule only one activity a week per year of your baby’s age. For the first year, just one scheduled ‘class’ like a mom and baby group per week is enough. At 2, you may want to do two classes, for example, a toddler swimming and mom and baby class.
- Don’t try to stimulate your baby all day. Rather have periods of time when they can just ‘potter around’ the garden or run through the sprinkler.
- Limit the number of toys your baby has to play with at one time. Three toys plus an empty box or Tupperware will be more likely to stimulate creativity than loads of fancy switch toys.
- Don’t hover like a helicopter. Avoid trying to guide everything your little one does. Even if it means that you don’t show them how to use a toy ‘properly.’ Rather let them get on with it and experiment on their own. It can be frustrating to hold back and let them use trial-and-error to get it right. Sit on your hands if you have to☺
In a nutshell, let your baby experiment within safe parameters. Remember to prioritise free time with less instruction. In the long run, your little one will learn the vital skills of creativity, problem solving and occupying themselves.
When you download Parent Sense, the app will send you a daily play activity to help you optimise your little one’s development. Use the tip to play with your baby for a few minutes a day to develop their emotional, cognitive and motor skills. Use the tip in the morning and leave afternoons for free, unstructured time, for example.