How do I make sure my baby is stimulated enough -- but not too much?
Healthy babies thrive in an environment with a moderate amount of stimulation. That stimulation doesn’t have to come from fancy electronic toys that whizz and ding — quite the contrary! It can come from interacting with you and from observing, playing, and exploring various colors, sounds, and textures around her.
You may be thinking, “How can too much stimulation be a bad thing?” Consider that your baby is not yet a seasoned multitasker. So while you may be able to text, cook, listen to music, tap your toe, and chew gum all at once, your baby may get fully absorbed in just examining a cereal box or a brightly colored sock. Too much happening at once can get overwhelming and confusing for your baby.
Just as grown-ups have different thresholds for excitement (who hasn’t wanted to retreat from an overcrowded mall during the holiday season?), so do babies. The trick is to find the balance of stimulation that seems appropriate for your child. Here are some tips for giving your baby just the right amount of engagement:
Enrich your baby’s play and keep him safe by creating tot-friendly spaces in the house. For example, consider designating a low cupboard in the kitchen as a baby exploration zone. Fill it with plastic takeout containers, spatulas, and a few old pots and pans. Keep the rest of the cabinets secured with safety latches. Then, while you’re unloading the dishwasher or chopping vegetables, your baby can get busy with his own activities, like filling and dumping, dropping and stacking, banging, and clanging. Letting your baby control the stimulation ensures that it will be just right for him.