The 'How To' Guide
- Always provide a safe environment (see Babies' Safety).
- Provide playtime fun each day (discussed in Let's Play).
- Use positive words of praise and an encouraging tone of voice, facial expressions and gestures to acknowledge Baby's achievements e.g. ... oh you are strong ... that is such a big kick! Hooray - Well-done!
- Reinforce Baby's learning through everyday experiences, such as chatting about things with him e.g. 'Look at the bird ... it's in the tree ... listen to him chirp ... off he flies ... we will wave Goodbye'.
- Give Baby freedom to learn through the discovery of 'trial and error' as he interacts within his environment e.g. as he plays he is thinking ... I wonder what will happen if I reach out to touch this toy on the play gym ... oh wow ... look at that, I can make it move!
- Your demonstration of certain skills according to his developmental level (e.g. making a 'tower' out of nesting cups). The Let's Play → Play Activities Chart guides you through development activities for the first year.
- Give him the opportunity to practise his skills. Baby is learning through his repetition and enjoyment, mastering his skills and boosting self-confidence with your encouragement.
- Limit Baby's frustration by foreseeing potential difficulties he may encounter e.g. making sure you provide appropriate sized and shaped items/toys for him to grasp when learning this skill. Make sure objects are within his achievable reach e.g. if he is on his tummy and stretching out to grab a toy, put it just within his achievable reach.
- Read his signals of tiredness (discussed in Caregiving Routines → Sleep-time) and frustration. Frustration can be expressed with bursts of vocal sounds, thrashing like movements and their facial expressions, and as they develop to sitting up and begin to crawl they sometimes bang hands on their toys and thrash their little feet.
- Guide his behaviour by using positive language and demonstration of your own actions ... right throughout childhood.
- Always prepare Baby for the finish of an activity and be ready to move on to the next part of the day e.g. 'OK, here we go ... one more time ... Hooray! ... now we are finished. Let's put all these toys into their box!'. This will eventually lead to Baby understanding about 'time is up' lessening the need for a tantrum. Also, as he develops, Baby will learn to help put toys away with your demonstration and encouragement.
Providing Baby with your love and enjoyment of sharing time will support his development continually throughout the first year and beyond.