Your baby’s needs are pretty simple. He needs food, clothing, space to explore and someone to watch over him. That’s it. No expensive gadgets required. Sure, there are plenty of gizmos out there that promise to turn your child into the next whiz kid, but the truth is that most babies do just fine with the basics. You don’t need a fancy baby food steamer; at this age, your baby is more than capable of handling finely chopped table food. You don’t need an elaborate activity center for your baby; most babies much prefer to explore the kitchen cupboards anyway. Low-tech parenting can feel a bit strange – after all, we live in a more-is-more culture -- but you and your child can have lots of fun with empty boxes, books and spoons. Your little scientist will be particularly fascinated with toys and objects that allow him to sort, compare and categorize. Try giving him an assortment of different-sized boxes, and show him how they fit into one another. Hand him some measuring cups and a bucket in the bathtub and let him learn about volume. Attach yarn to an empty box and show him how to haul toys from one room to another. (Better yet – let him figure it out on his own!) He’ll improve his eye-hand coordination, refine gross motor skills and develop an understanding of size, shape and the physical properties of matter. (And you thought your baby just played all day!)
Although it will be awhile before your baby is ready for charm school, it’s not too early to instill some manners. Your baby won’t be able to say, “please” and “thank you” for some time, but good manners are never a waste of time. If you treat your baby (and others) with respect, your baby will learn to treat others with respect. So the next time your baby offers you a bite of his half-chewed cookie, smile and say, “Thank you.” Then pretend to take a bite!