Like it or not, we are all stuck at home at the moment for the good of the country’s health. However, if you have a little one it may be more challenging than usual; the lack of ability to interact outside your bubble means your baby’s sensory needs may be unmet and they become bored/dialed up as a result. Parenting can be lonely enough without being able to follow your usual routine of meeting up with friends and coffee groups, but now it has now become even more isolating. Being isolated with a fussy baby who hasn’t had its evolving sensory needs meets doesn’t sound like enjoyable household.
So in order to help with that, here’s a list of sensory activities you can do with your little one at home to optimise your baby’s needs and development. We often forget that meeting your baby’s sensory needs is so incredibly important, even from an early age because so of then the focus is on feeding and sleeping.
• Don’t forget we are still able to step out for a walk with bubs and get sensory nourishment that way – crawling or rolling around at a quiet reserve can be invigorating for babies (and parents!)
• Play music that you enjoy listening to and dance with them – on your hip if they are too young to do it themselves
• Let your baby play with the leaves off the tree, exploring all the colours and textures
• Take your baby out on the balcony if you live in an apartment, look at the birds, trees, plants on the balcony.
• Make your own sensory basket with different textures, shapes e.g. necklaces, TV remote, balls, keys, kitchen utensils, shakers, container lids, empty ice trays
• Make bath time a little longer, put bubbles in the bath or bath bombs
• Have a bath with your baby, fulling bath time with lots of cuddles and skin to skin
• If your baby is eating solids make mealtime a little longer, explore with different textures
• Tummy time, you can even place a mirror in front of them so they can see themselves
• Place pasta in containers for baby to shake
• Put together a bottom draw/cupboard your baby can reach full of containers, safe cooking utensils for baby to pull in and out of the draw/cupboard
• Place paint or something thick in a zip lock bag for your baby to squish around
• Pull out the pot for your baby to play with, cooking utensils for them to bang on the pot. Little ones of all ages love making lots of noise!
• Sit with your baby in front of the mirror, sing and talk to them
• Facetime/Skype family and friends
• Do online yoga, Pilates or ‘at home’ workout with baby. There are many available on YouTube.
Admittedly, I’ve been forced out of my comfort zone here with the level 4 lock down and so clearly I’m unable to do home visits. However, I am still available for video calls and I am presently working on a range of online programmes to help guide you through challenging sleep patterns your baby may be experiencing. Also I have breastfeeding programmes for new parents who are less supported than ever during this time of social distancing. Don’t forget we also have the Webinar available which covers key information for new and expecting parents here: https://www.thebabysleeppractitioners.co.nz/webinars.html
And lastly while we have this extra time on our hands, it’s also a good time to nourish your relationship with your partner (if you have one) through small acts such as taking a walk together, praising each other for sharing the load and making meals for each other… often the basic things that we forget when we’re stuck in the midst of our usual hectic life.
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Amy and Elspeth
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