I am pretty sure that a lot of what I am going to say might not be new or original for experienced mums. But I am hoping that some new first-time mums might find these tips helpful.
If your baby is not crawling yet but already quite active and curious about the world around her she may get frustrated with not being able to explore it at her leisure. This can create a lot of crying, whinging and whining and cause severe headaches for poor mums who are already tired and sleep deprived.
Here are a few tips and tricks to keep your babies happy at home:
1. Create “play stations”: Find different spaces around your home where you can place toys and sit or place your baby on her tummy for play. Often toys are placed in one place in the house and it becomes the baby’s play area. But babies get tired of being in the same spot all the time. So changing it up a bit by moving toys to a different room or even to a different corner of the same room can really make a difference.
2. Hide and swap toys: This is an old trick but it works like a charm and often saves you buying new toys when babies get tired of the old ones. Split all of your baby’s toys into 3 – 4 lots. Keep one lot out and hide the other 3. Let the baby play with one lot of toys for about 1 week, then hide and swap for the next one. Rotate the lots at any frequency or order you like. Babies forget the toys they haven’t seen for a while so seeing a toy they haven’t played with for some time is like getting a brand new toy.
3. Tidy up: For me, personally, putting toys away is probably one of the most frustrating household chores – they get thrown around the room in seconds right after you’ve finished tidying. But this chore can be really helpful in keeping your baby happy and engaged with her toys. Babies love creating messes – tipping toys out of boxes, throwing scarves, puzzle pieces, balls around, demolishing neatly built block towers and generally creating lots of havoc. But if they are placed in a messy spot to begin with it is difficult for them to concentrate their attention on a single object as there are too many brightly coloured objects scattered around. Babies tend to be a lot less fussy in play areas where toys are arranged neatly because they can focus on things that interest them and it is easier to get to particular toys that catch their eye. So clench your teeth and tidy those toys even if you absolutely hate doing it.
4. Replace toys with other household items: When all the toys in the house are just not fun anymore you can turn some household objects into toys. Here are some examples of objects that make great fun toys – pots, pans, big plastic ladles, clothes pegs, plastic containers, sealed bags of chips or pasta (they make a wonderful crinkling noise but please supervise your baby to make sure that the bag doesn’t rip), scarves, belts, hats, old computer parts (e.g. mouse, keyboard) and many more. So be creative and turn your house into one big toy shop.
Hopefully, some or all of these tips can help you entertain your baby on those rainy days or just when you need to leave your baby to her own devices for a short while so that you can attend to other household chores. And one last very handy little tip that I have learnt after I gave birth to my second child is that not only it’s ok to leave your baby playing independently (as long as you know that everything around them is safe) but it’s actually good for them. So no need to feel guilty if you are unable to spend every single second of your waking hours with your precious baby – it will teach them the art of playing independently and give them the ability to initiate their own play.