Babies are a bundle of curiosity. Constantly active and forever on the move, they seldom seem to get tired and never seem to tire of exploring the world around them. Similarly, once they had had their fill, they will look for a place to fall asleep. Therefore, it should not come as a surprise to us to find out that they also have their favourite hangout places; places where they feel most comfortable and safe.
Any place within the house can be transformed into a safe place if you take care to do so. Supervision is paramount here and taking the adequate steps to close off certain areas of the house or not allowing certain activities can go a long way in helping a safe zone for the babies.
For example, while sharing a room with parents is not a bad idea, co-sleeping with parents is not good for babies as this puts them at risk of sudden infant death syndrome, suffocation and strangulation.
As a parent, your focus is on keeping your little one safe and at the same time, you want them to learn about their environment and relax as much as possible. Space and the freedom which you’ll give them to grow can go a long way in shaping their growth.
Let us look at some of the best places where babies can be comfortable and have fun at the same time:
A bassinet is defined as a “small bed designed primarily to provide sleeping accommodations for infants that is supported by freestanding legs, a stationary frame/stand, a wheeled base or a rocking base, or that can swing relative to a stationary base” by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPCS) in America.
However, do keep in mind that if your baby can crawl or rollover or scoot their legs, then a bassinet might not be a great choice because it is small and could pose the risk of trapping the baby or suffocating the baby.
If you have a smaller house or even a smaller baby, a bassinet makes more sense. Some babies also feel cosier in a small space such as the one provided by the bassinet.
Cribs are another place where babies can chill and be themselves. Since it is an enclosed structure and has a firm and flat surface it is good for a baby. The baby can walk around in the crib and also play in the safety of the crib. Sleeping also becomes easy for the baby as there is little or no risk of choking or suffocation in the crib.
A playpen is a common part of everyone’s life while growing up and why should it be any different for your baby? Just like a bassinet or a crib, a playpen provides a safe and closed area to your baby where they can freely explore and relax.
In all the three options, listed above, the baby is learning to explore its surroundings independently and is gaining valuable emotional and physical skills by spending time alone.
Moderation is the key to everything. Thus, restricted movement is as important to your baby as the freedom to move around. Aptly called toddlers, babies are at their peak of restlessness during the ages 1-3.
Inside the house, away from the restricting environs of the bassinets, cribs or playpens, there are still some places which could turn out to be the favourite places for your babies. They just need some help from you
The first time that a baby discovers what he/she looks like can be a revelation. With a mirror set up at their eye level, babies could have a gala time identifying themselves and their different body parts. They can come to love the game of “where is your nose? “, “Touch your ears” that you play with them in front of the mirror.
If you have small cabinets in the house, you can turn them into exploration shelves. You can stack them with baby-friendly stuff that the toddler can pull out.
Babies are still getting used to their sense of touch. You can give age-appropriate materials to them which they can squeeze, pat, poke and prod. Toys with texture can be appropriate here.
Create a toy box with age-appropriate and safe items such as dolls, household items such as dress-up clothes, sponges, plastic containers, cups, plates and other toys. The idea is to create a box that can be filled up and emptied.
Tips for a happy and safe chill time for your babies
Pay attention, but step back
Some parents or caretakers get carried away while managing their babies. So much so, that they end up overindulging in the baby’s supervision. After placing the baby in an adequate environment and making sure that they are safe, you need to hang back while keeping an eye. Let the baby do whatever it wants to until and unless someone is getting hurt or there is some other problem at hand.
Correct when necessary but don’t go beyond that
If the baby is doing something which could cause harm such as eating something it shouldn’t be eating, try dissuading them from doing it or divert their attention from that activity by doing something else. Do not be unnecessarily harsh or else the baby will not identify the whole process as a fun activity
Everything is fascinating for babies. The world around them is full of new and exciting things. Only when you encourage them to explore this world, will they have a well-rounded and happy childhood. As a grown-up and an adult, it is natural for you to not have that enthusiasm but this is the time for you to make discoveries together and create memories that your baby can fall back on later in life.
A note on the importance of companionship
A word of caution here. Research has shown that babies are like mammals who rely on the companionship of adults for their needs. Isolation should not be confused with Independence.
Touch, eye-to-eye contact and human voices are all important for a baby and you should always make your utmost efforts to see that a baby gets all this.
Babies bring light and cheer to the world and as parents, you should help them start their journey of exploration as soon as possible. Nordic toys and decorative items could be one such way to introduce your child to an interesting world. You can buy the best of Nordic toys and authentic Nordic decorative items for your child - shop at DINKS