Yes, all primary caregivers need a break. Any mother or father who has been alone with a baby lasting longer than 24 hours understands how it is exhausting, both physically, and emotionally. Naptime and bedtime become importantly sacred to you, as you need your space. Being a parent is a 24/7 job, but it is a job where it is imperative that you need to hand off your baby to someone else and spend some time alone.
Question is, how can that person bond with the baby as separation anxiety kicks in beginning as early as 6-7 months, and climaxing between 10-18 months? This is a phase where babies begin to be choosy in whom they interact with, as an unpreferable face can cause them discomfort and make them scared, angry, and upset. In short, this is where they associate their primary caregiver as their safety zone and taking that away leaves them anxious and distraught.
For 2nd and 3rd place caregivers, here are some ways that they can spend quality time with the baby, while your baby can associate him or her with fun and positive benefits.
Reading aloud has been proven to be beneficial to children of all ages. Infants will learn and be able to distinguish your voice, and most of all, reading is education. Not only is this teaching your child, reading enhances speech and language in babies.
Children ages 0-3 are more receptive to learning language, as the brain synapses are at their growth peak, particularly in the two main areas of the brain that are responsible for speech, Wernicke’s area and Broca’s area. Wernicke’s area is located in the temporal area of the brain and is a sensory in how someone receives and processes information. It is responsible for comprehending information that is gathered.
Reading also affects Broca’s area, which is linked to speech production. Broca’s area is located in the frontal lobe of the brain and is responsible for the way you express and articulate your thoughts to communicate.
In addition, reading stimulates the deciphering of language. Comprehending language results in the ability to learn. Naturally, the more ability or potential that you have to learn, the more motivated you become to learn.
Reading is versatile and teaches us life long lessons. Learning from experience is what molds your children to be who they are. You want to prepare your children to understand the ways of the world, to recognize concepts that help us function in our everyday lives.
Reading to your child is a learning experience for them and prepares them to all sorts of concepts that they will soon be exposed to. The best part of this is that the amount of learning that books provide is limitless, and can contain an infinite amount of subjects, whether it is manners, potty training, shapes, numbers, letters, colors.
Education is not something that can never be started too early, and it is you who serve as your child’s primary educator. As a parent, you are the foundation and key source of their education. It is up to you to determine how much your child learns as well as what they learn.
Even though you think your child is not paying attention, read consistently to them. As they grow, they will learn to associate themselves with the outer world that they will soon become a part of.
It is not too early to take your baby to the public library, where you can borrow books. Many libraries provide baby or toddler story time where music and reading aloud are provided for free. Other communities have recreational centers where you can socialize with other families and have a facilitator read books those who want to participate.
If you are germaphobic and do not like touching used dirty books, you don’t need to look to Barnes and Noble or Amazon for new books, as they are expensive. Barnes and Noble does however, have a bargain book section where they have selected books at very affordable prices.
Shopping for books is expensive, so even stores like Wal-Mart and Target can get pricey. Try to go to stores like Ross, Marshalls, or TJ Maxx where they sell hardcovers for as little as$4-$5 each. New shipments (which they receive every day) consist of hardcovers that contain multiple stories and fairy tales with beautiful illustrations. There are awesome deals there, so be sure to check it out before dumping a whole ton of money elsewhere.
Check out this website for a recommended list of popular and useful children’s books.
There is no doubt in that exercise is healthy for everyone regardless of his or her age. This is another way to get your child to become active and to enjoy the fresh air and outdoors. Healthy habits are learned at a young age, and can also be enjoyed at an early age.
The baby will learn to associate you as the one to take him out on walks in the baby carrier, or “stroller rides”. Try to talk to your child and engage them in conversation, pointing at new things, smelling new things, or hearing different things. Running at varying speeds can be quite fun as you will find that most babies enjoy feeling the bumps in the sidewalk and roads.
Another idea to take into consideration is to enroll in exercise baby classes. Programs such as Gymboree Play and Music and My Gym are available nationwide and offer classes for babies as young as 5 weeks of age. The first class is a trial and is free, but many parents find that both they as well as their children enjoy these classes as they train babies to physically use their inner core muscles and strength. They make participation fun in the curriculum they offer as it involves the parent to participate with their child.
They also encourage babies to explore, as it is a natural thing that they do, so they feel confident and independent. The best part is that the music and singing are captivating, and that their facilities are well-lighted, clean and safe. If you don’t find this environment is a fit for you, go online and check out other nearby indoor playgrounds that are age appropriate for your child.
5 Give Yummy Food
There is a saying that the best way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, so why wouldn’t this work on your baby? Who says that a little bribery won’t hurt?
Once your pediatrician gives you the ok, (usually about one year) be the one to claim first dibs on giving the baby their first bite of ice cream or frozen yogurt (if they are lactose intolerant). Kids need to be kids, and tasting sweets and junk food is a fun and memorable way to experience childhood.
If your baby is younger, at around 9 months, try giving Gerber Graduate puffs, Lil Crunchies, or Arrowroot cookies as most babies find them delicious. Remember to give snacks in moderation, however, as they contain poor nutritional value.
An ideal scenario that would allow you to bond with the baby is to have someone else feed the baby their milk or formula, or if they are older, a fruit or vegetable packet. You can finish mealtime with dessert.
4 Go Outdoors, Visit The Zoo And Aquariums
Kids should be encouraged to go outside to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine at an early age. Go out to the park with a blanket and bring some homemade food to have a picnic. If your child is an infant and a non-walker, take her out for a walk in the stroller or on a wagon ride. Once your child is a toddler, take her to the playground to play on the swings, slides, and seesaws.
If it is summer, hold her while running through sprinklers or go out to the beach or pool. Make sand castles and get into the water with your child, get them accustomed to the water as they benefit by learning how to swim at an early age.
Taking your child to your local petting zoo, zoo, or aquarium is also a way for them to explore. Read them a book about animals before hand and then take them to places where you can actually see or touch them. Studies have shown that introducing children to animals at an early age can actually make them tolerant of allergens that they will inevitably be exposed to later in life.
3 Museums And Concerts
Get online and Google search your local children’s museum nearest you. Although museums are targeted for older children, it doesn’t mean that you should limit access to education. Babies are more receptive to language than you think and spending time at a museum is a great way for you to get them to make connections to the things that they see. A lot of museum admissions are free, including LA’s Natural History Museum, the Getty, and the Smithsonian. Even if you don’t live in the area, but are in the area on vacation, take advantage of the opportunity to explore these fascinating places and historical landmarks.
Once your child is older, they will grow to learn loving characters they see on TV or on your smartphone. Many of the most popular movies and TV shows have live performances now. Frozen on Ice, Disney on Ice, Sesame Street Live, Peppa Pig Live, and A day out with Thomas the Train are all very popular shows that are currently on tour now in the U.S. for Spring of 2016. Sites like Goldstar.com and Tickpick.com offer affordable prices with no convenience fees or taxes, so be sure to research different sites to see that you are able to obtain the best offer.
Take out the toys that your baby has and open them together. Yes, go ahead and start building those blocks and Duplo’s. Take out the crawl toys and get down on the floor with your baby to do tummy time with them. Push them around on their push-car or tickle their feet when they are sitting in their jumper or swing. Chase them while they are learning to walk with their walker or y-bike. You will love hearing their squeals of laughter.
The most important thing that can be inferred from this is to show your baby that you are interested and delighted to be playing with them. Your baby can tell if you are genuinely happy to be a part of their play time and that you need to show them that you want to be involved in what they are doing. Here is a great website that recommends specific games and activities for babies according to their age.
Another miracle, but still a curse is TV, or your smartphone or Ipad. Sometimes you need a break, especially if you have been with your child for more than 8 hours straight. Every child loves playing with these high-tech toys, although the recommended amount is 2 hours of technology a day for children 2 and older by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Children younger than 2 are not recommended to have access to these technologies, though it is inevitable that they will be exposed to it eventually. There are great apps that are educational, including Tiny Hands, Endless Alphabet, and Cubic frog. They have great ratings, and teach colors, sorting, numbers, letters, memorization, puzzles and matching for children aged 1-3 years old. This is a fun way to sit and help your child learn these concepts. But what most parents are guilty of is to use it as a babysitter so that they can step back, take a breather and have some distance from their child. Just be sure to use it in moderation, as video games are addicting and should not to be used as a primary source of entertainment and education.
What is it that you like to do in your free time? Hobbies can include playing sports, gardening, fishing, cooking, shopping, sewing, or crafting and more. Whatever it is that you like to do, take your baby or toddler out to join you once they are old enough.
Strap them in the baby carrier, and let them help you water the lawn. Allow them to bang on pots and pans with a spoon as you cook, or take them to a park where you can show them how to throw or kick a ball. Youtube is a wonderful creation that shows great how-to tutorials for free, so go ahead and learn how to do anything that interests you. Be innovative and creative in how you can incorporate your own hobbies into some fun quality time with your child.
Watching your child reach milestones is one of the best parts of being a parent, so help them achieve it while doing things that both of you enjoy. You will always remember the times where you bond with your child, even though they may not.