Shaping the Day
Important to everyone's well-being in the family is relaxation and taking time-out. Like adults, babies also need to have wind-down time. So slotting time into each day for relaxation with Baby is just as important as having fun and carrying out the caregiving routines. Caring for Baby requires a great deal of energy output. Physically, you are very active and emotionally you can experience feelings that may range from being in high spirits to feeling low - and all this can happen within the period of one day! And when you are stressed so is Baby. Therefore, relaxation with Baby can bring about feelings of being revived, peacefulness and joy.
From the research findings associated with the development of the Bond With Baby program, most of the first-time mothers considered relaxation was an important part of their lifestyle before and during pregnancy but after Baby's arrival they felt there was no time to slot it into a daily routine. After taking part in the research programs the mothers reported that making time to 'chill out' during the day with their baby enabled them to feel energised, less stressed and more able to enjoy being with the baby.
Note: It is essential for your health and for your baby's wellbeing that you take time out to relax together as a family. It is part of bonding with Baby and enhancing your relationship.
What you do for relaxation may be different to someone else. However, research shows that music can provide another variation. Some people associate particular pieces of music to memorable moments in their lives. Using music for relaxation with Baby will assist in providing pleasure, fun and reward. And when difficult moments arise it helps to soothe discontentment. The Bond With Baby lullabies and wind-down instrumental music can be a starting point.
Note: Scientific research has shown that babies, when awake, prefer to listen to 'pleasant' (melodious) sounding music compared to 'harsh' unmelodious music. So if you are into heavy metal music ... forget it as far as it being relaxing for Baby!
Relaxation activities to music can be as simple as:
- Lying comfortably/stretching out together, closing your eyes and drifting away
- Stroking/massaging Baby as you sit together
- Dance/sway/rock while gently patting Baby to the slow beat of the music
- Sometimes you may like to take up some floor space, so to speak, and slowly 'waltz' around the room.
Other activities for relaxation could be taking a bath together, go out walking or reading to Baby. No matter how busy you think you are, make sure you put time aside each day for relaxation with Baby. Sharing relaxation activities needs to become part of your lifestyle, some of which will develop into rituals/traditions, such as reading to Baby at bedtime.
Note: Many families carryout life seemingly 'too busy' to factor in relaxation and to be able to cherish the enjoyment of spending such time together. Children get caught up in parents' notion of thinking that being 'busy' is far more worthwhile than not being busy. Unfortunately, when it comes to a balance in a day, many children (from the early childhood years and beyond) have become 'victims of extremes'. This meaning that they are either highly organised with extra curricula activities (things they do outside of school hours) or that they spend much of their time alone, entertaining themselves through multimedia tools/equipment such as television, computers and mobile phones. Children need balance within each day as they continue to develop right throughout their childhood, which includes parents' sensitive and responsive interactions and guidance.