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I Love … Indoor Baby Activities

Even on the sunniest of days, life with a newborn inevitably means lots of time indoors. Here’s my favourite ways to entertain my little one (and myself) – with no pushy parenting in sight …

Being left alone with your baby for the first time is daunting. What do you do with this tiny person who mainly communicates through crying? There’s obviously feeding times. Optimistically sleeping times. But between the two it’s totally in your newbie parenting hands to invent things to entertain them. I recently read a thought-provoking article on ‘pushy parenting. Tanith Carey argues that parenting has become a high pressure activity. Our sense of responsibility for our infants’ successes and failures begins in the womb and continues through our choice of activities from the moment they’re born: “flashcards before infants can see.” I agree with the spirit of Carey’s text. ‘Parenting’ should be about bringing love and joy to your child’s day and not just a daily quest to advance their abilities. To steal my favourite John Lennon quote: “When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.” But, I don’t think that means parents should abandon any pursuit that seems too educational. So long as it comes from a place of happiness and not some need for your baby to show signs of young genius, I say go ahead with the flashcards. There’s nothing wrong with doing what you think will give your little one the best out of life. That said, these are my favourite ways to entertain my little one: 1. The morning body check I balance little V on my thighs, facing me, and check from head to toe that all parts and limbs have survived the night. By touching them as I go, she enjoys the sensation as well as hearing repeated words. I now know she has ticklish feet and the cheeks produce the biggest smile. 2. Interactive nursery rhymes Motherhood has been the ideal time to brush up on long-forgotten nursery rhymes. Favourites that include interactive elements are: Incey Wincey Spider Heads, Shoulders, Knees & Toes There was an old lady who swallowed a fly This little piggy went to market 3. Wiggle and tickle on the back Sometimes I just put her flat on a blanket, sometimes under her activity mat, and let her wiggle arms and legs. Tickles and kisses produce amazing smiles and happy noises, as do raspberries blown on the cheeks and tummy. Using a soft toy to gently stroke her head is also a favourite. 4. Wiggle on the back with yoga stretches I’ve recently started Baby Yoga classes. I’ve learnt how to incorporate gentle yoga stretches for me around V’s activities, making her playtime into my exercise time too. I’ve also got a small number of moves to do with her too, such as leg circles and cycles that relieve gas. baby activities yoga amsterdam 5. A song and a dance Watching daytime TV was making me depressed so now I mainly put the radio on. V & I sing together and dance around the house (fine … I sing and make her dance. But it gives me immense entertainment). 6. Daily news Generally during feeding I pass time by reading a news article out loud. Nothing dark or depressing – which is tricky right now. I’ve found I can actually remember what I’ve read this way, so it’s good for my sluggish brain too. 7. Bouncy chair V is just getting to enjoy her chair at seven weeks. We try and save its use for dinner times, as it miraculously allows the husband and I to eat together. -x-x-x- How do you keep a baby (and yourself) entertained? And do you think parenting has become too success-driven, and less about the fun? Let me know below.

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