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By Cheryl Bac

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About this blog: I'm a wife, stay-at-home mom, home cook, marathon runner, and PhD. I recently moved to the Silicon Valley after completing my PhD in Social Psychology and becoming a mother one month apart. Before that, I ran seven marathons incl...  (More)

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How to entertain a baby

Uploaded: Jun 30, 2017
Recently a few new parents have asked me for recommendations on how to entertain their little ones. Some already go to gym classes, storytimes, yoga classes, and swimming lessons. They don't want their babies to be bored.

A few weeks ago I took our kids to Mitchell Park. My older kids were running around and playing in the water spray area while baby and I watched. During our outing I had a flashback to when my oldest was a baby and I was trying to meet other parents that lived close by. Many of the parents in one group had older toddlers so we sometimes met up at a water spray park or playground. As a baby, our son enjoyed these outings where he could just sit and watch the older kids run around and play.

I think the next time someone asks me for baby entertainment ideas, I'll suggest a toddler or two. As a new parent it's easy to get stuck in baby-only classes and activities. Older kids can be loud, chaotic, energetic, clumsy and spread germs. However, sometimes at these mixed-aged play dates, everything works out. The babies are entertained by the older kids, the older kids love having the babies' attention and the parents get a chance to relax, talk and enjoy each other's company.
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Posted by Mother of 4, a resident of Palo Verde School,
on Jun 30, 2017 at 4:55 pm

As an experienced parent of 3 you are saying the same as me.

I think that too many first time parents want to do everything right and feel that they have to start parenting by making sure baby isn't bored so classes, etc. are necessary.

Believe me, particularly if both parents are working, it isn't necessary to keep taking baby to places particularly if that means putting baby in a car seat for a 20 minute trip for an hour's activity and another 20 minute trip to get home to prevent boredom and to give them a good start in life.

The read, sing, talk commercials on tv have it right, I think. All child development articles I have read say the same thing. Young children learn so much in the first 5 years of life just by interacting with parents, siblings, and those they spend their time with. It doesn't really matter what is going on, but interact with the child. Have the baby in the room watching you when you are cooking, cleaning, sorting laundry or whatever. Tell the baby what you are doing and show what you are using up close and if it is baby safe let the baby hold and play with it. I even used to take my first baby into the bathroom while I was showering and gave her a damp washcloth to play with and a towel while I was drying myself, chatting to her all the time.

I think parents nowadays seem to worry too much about not giving their babies the best of everything when really the best thing they can give is their time. The quality time v quantity time argument is lost on me. All time is quality time if the baby watches and is incorporated into the activity.

As a stay at home mom, I went to classes with my first just to give me something to do, not for her benefit. I remember those fun times well, she doesn't remember a thing.

I agree with you completely.

Posted by Cheryl Bac, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Jun 30, 2017 at 11:04 pm

Cheryl Bac is a registered user.

Mother of 4- Thanks for sharing your knowledge about how much baby can learn just by interacting with family. Great tips to include baby in everyday activities.

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