Each day I discover simple things around me. This time (after all I have written about the falling asleep issues in my previous post here) I faced with an improvement in the behavior and falling asleep of my chicca after I spent a better time with her. Being near does not mean being together, and for the last few days, I have been exhausted because the kid sticks to me and wouldn’t let me go for a minute. But today I put off all the things and after a daytime sleep, I interacted with her more closely (damn it, I simply hugged her endlessly!). Well, ok, not only hugged but attracted to my house stuff and talked more to her. For example, we collected the dishes together from the dishwasher: first I took out all the sharp objects, the kid took out the glasses, took them into her mouth – I caught it back and said “thank you” LOL, then we hung out with her toys, climbed the rug and clapped with her little feet through the water flowing from the tap. Just to be clear – it all took half an hour!
Then we did all the rituals — bath-bottle-pajama-byebyebirdies — and the baby passed out in a moment. After her I passed out too at 9.20p.m. Yeah, I was really surprised.
Yes, a million factors influence the calm and good mood of a child. Sleep and wakefulness, a full belly and a timely turd, too cold or too hot and yep, of course, teething – all these are just for starters. But for some reason, I always forget one more factor – the contact. My child is very independent, hugs are not an interest for her for a long time. At the same time, she is very, very contacting: she loves to interact, help, touch, pulls and everything else. The last couple of days I got back to pressure mode (don’t ask, it was a spontaneous wish to do everything at once) and lost this contact with her. The kid took it back in her way. She was sticky, endlessly pulled my pants and a T-shirt didn’t go a step away and ran everywhere after me. Oh, I was soooo much tired. Only when I became burnt out, freaked out few times (looks like I broke a plastic cup in the bathroom …) and got a time-out from all stuff except baby for the day – I thought that I could try to give the child an extra portion of attention. I am lucky to have this idea in perfect timing, otherwise, I would have been completely dead!
So, yes – there are many factors. So why not to try out one at a time. What if something works? You can start by contacting your baby more.
I like the idea that children, even the smallest, are very strong, and that they can do a lot better than we think. The idea fits well with the conception that the how good we spent time with our children is much more important then how much. You can do your stuff all day long with a little person in a stroller – but please find 5-10 minutes to lie with him in the grass or walk around hand-by-hand.
Well, since I am not a fan of the early developmental activities and I’m not sure how to play with a toddler under 1 year old – here are a few ideas on how to spend quality time with a baby for a working mom or dad (and for any parent in a rush at all!):
1. Slug around
On the grass, on the bed, on the floor or just drag a kid in your arms a little. The main thing is to touch, rub, stroke and smile.
2. Do housework together
Too much dishes? Laundry doesn’t fit a basket? Toys are all around the house? So deal with it together. My chicca (she’s 9 months old at the time of writing this text) and I are already sorting the laundry and the dishwasher, collecting toys and putting her clothes in place – all together. I pick her up to show her how I beat eggs for the omelet or do the milk for my coffee. And yes, it looks more like chaos (she throws the washed clothes around her and takes the toys back off the shelf), but each time I notice how she likes to help 🙂 If Montessori does not lie, then in a couple of months there will be a more helpful assistant.
Books and magazines, to look through the pictures and to rub pages. Good to have a few children’s books with thick sturdy pages. Unbelievably cool is to have a book with three-dimensional elements or tactile (fur or fabric) inserts. The magazines are more for me so far, but my kiddo already likes the “National Geographic” for its bright photos and large crunchy pages.
Surprise, huh? We do walking endlessly each day. But here’s a thing: try to take a new route this time and show your child, for example, all the red flowers (give it a touch or even pick one – but only one! No vandalism, please). Or collect all the beautiful chestnuts and fill a stroller with them. Or find the most beautiful stick (clean it with a napkin first!) And give it to a little one for a bite or two. Or blow bubbles. Or reflect sunlight into eyes! I mean, get involved in a walk like if it were you walking out. Would you try?
Oh my God, how does my kid love to dance! I take her in my arms, I turn on some stupid blues song (or something from the ’90s, oh yes!) louder – and roll her, swing her (as much as you can swing a 9 kg kid in your arms lol)), turn her over and hold her tightly to me. She laughs, enjoys and smiles at me :))
Each of these activities fits into the daily routine. Each takes up to 15 minutes (well, except for housework – you can mess around endlessly). Each can be placed into any schedule, even the most loaded. But for complete success, there are several rules:
- do it daily or at least regularly
- turn off your cell phone
- tell your kid “I love you!” more often, for no reason
One more thing. I also wanted to add that these activities are meant for children up to a year old. But now I realize that an adult child will also enjoy dancing in your arms. So no, these things are without limits, like ideas where to start 😉 For older kids there gonna be more options so stay tuned!
There’s something else you can check on the topic:
- Tips for Spending Quality Time With Your Child – National Association for the Education of Young Children
- Quantity Time Begets Quality Time, and Parents Spend Enough of Both – The New York Times
- 20 ways to spend quality time with kids
Check these videos too: