Parents often feel they must occupy their baby’s every waking moment or boredom will set in. Not so. Not only is learning how to play alone an important skill to grasp, but your baby will be more cheerful overall if you don’t play together 100 percent of the time. If your child needs downtime, she may turn away, get restless, or cry. Tune in to baby’s cues. When you respect a wish for independent play (supervised, of course), you show that being alone can be a good thing.
Also encourage your child to develop self-entertainment skills. Engage them in a favourite activity. Play for a few minutes, then step back to observe. Once your baby is comfortable with you being some distance away, walk out of sight for a few minutes. (Of course, make sure the area is carefully baby-proofed, and keep your baby within your sight.) When your child first realises you’re gone, they may fuss but will probably settle down in a few minutes and become absorbed in the activity or toy. Wean yourself from being the driving force of play; you’ll help boost your child’s creativity.
While learning through play is your baby’s “work,” for you it can be one of the very best perks of parenting.
Our parenting advice is given as suggestions only.
Laugh & Learn™ Smart Stages™ Puppy and Sis
Have you already met Smart Stages™ Puppy and Sis? These soft and cuddly pals are entertaining companions for little explorers at the age of 6-36 months. They respond to your baby’s touch with exciting sing-along songs and phrases that introduce more than 100 first words, parts of the body, colours, shapes and more! And because every baby develops at their own pace, Puppy and Sis come with Smart Stages™ technology, so you adjust the level to unlock new content as your child grows.
There are a variety of songs, sounds and phrases within each of the three levels of play. And Puppy and Sis’s light-up, multicolour heart even twinkles along to the music!
Level 1 – Explore – Baby can press Puppy and Sis’s hands, foot, heart, nose or ear to hear first words, colours, the alphabet, parts of the body and more!
Level 2 – Encourage – In this level, fun phrases reward little ones as they’re encouraged to count along, find colours, and identify parts of the body!
Level 3 – Pretend – Puppy and Sis are ready to play pretend with fun sing-along songs and phrases that engage toddlers in exciting and imaginative play, all while expanding their vocabulary!
By Dr. Bettye M. Caldwell Ph.D. Professor of Pediatrics in Child Development and Education