Babies 6 to 8 months continue to move, play, and grow at an amazing rate! At times, it seems as though they are learning something new every day! Many of the same principles that we discussed in the post about play with your 4 to 6 month old continue to apply. Here are 5 new tips to consider:
SAFETY: A moving baby who puts everything into his mouth needs to be watched all the time because he can quickly swallow small objects or creep into unsafe places. Babies are not able to understand about danger. Lock away unsafe objects or put them high out of reach. Many experts advise to use the TP Rule: if an object can fit through the hole in a toilet paper tube, then it is too small for a child 3 and under to play with. If there are older siblings in the home, please teach this to them as well so they can be an active participant in determining what toys can be out when baby is playing. PLEASE ENSURE THE SAFETY OF YOUR BABY by childproofing! Get down on the floor, crawl around, and see what your little explorer could find!
Social: Time for play dates! Start early – this is as much for you as it is for your baby! People are much more interesting than things and babies love to see other little people that look like they do! You and baby will also create lasting friendships.
Stranger/Separation Anxieties: Expanding baby’s social circle is important but be aware of his sensitivity when around strangers and when separating from mom (stranger anxiety and separation anxiety). If you do have to leave, make sure you still say good bye and explain that you will be back.
Simple: Babies don’t need fancy toys! They can be happy playing with a set of measuring cups, exploring plastic bowls or a spoon, etc. The main point to remember is offering varying sizes, shapes, colors and textures. Remember, baby is not impressed by labels or price tags!
Sun, Sand, Snow: It’s time to get outdoors! Baby is now old enough to be outside with baby safe sunscreen so spend time enjoying it. Watch the trees moving in the wind and try to find birds, flowers, doggies, and other people. Talk about you are finding as you explore the environment! Baby loves to hear the sound of your voice and the more you speak in a happy, sing-song voice, the more your baby will listen, engage, and learn. Try and make some of the sounds that you hear. This is also a great time for more walks in the stroller or in the carrier. Don’t forget other fun activities like crawling on the grass, putting feet in the sand, playing with bubbles, to name a few.
Take time to truly marvel this amazing stage of development . . . it will be gone before you know it!