A play expert in Northern Ireland is urging parents to ‘cut back to basics’ and not worry about buying flashy toys and gadgets for their babies.
Agata Young, who runs Simply Grow, a Bangor-based education company, said parents don’t need all of the expensive gadgets advertised.
Speaking on the Be parenting podcast, Is This Normal, the mother-of-two said her first piece of advice was “less is more.”
“So focus on less, don’t go out and buy all the flashy toys, less is more and take a look around the house at what you got first,” she said.
“I remember this video I recorded when my firstborn Amy, she is now almost five, she was five days old and my husband picked up a little squeaky toy and wanted to play with her, but obviously a baby. of five days does not respond very much.
“Take it all back, you don’t need all the flashy gadgets from the stores, what you need especially for the first few days, weeks and months is what you can find around the house.
“Think of your baby as this brand new visitor to the world and try to really slow down with him and show him the world around him before presenting anything you don’t know. Show him the world you know.
“These are the visitors who come in and you want to take the best care of them.”
Agata likened it to an adult visiting Paris for the first time, you want to slow down and take it all in, she said.
“Imagine seeing Paris from a very fast car, get in the car and drive around a few times and that’s it, that’s all you see,” she said.
“You sure wouldn’t appreciate it that much, so it’s the same, think about it with our babies, we want our babies to really look at everything, all the things that we take for granted and see every day, our babies never have All the things we touch and smell, listen to, they never have.
“Take it all off and take your babies on a journey through your world. Let them touch the wall, let them see the shadow on the ceiling, let them see the blinds and how the light plays with the blinds. basic, especially at the beginning, just put yourself in the shoes of this little baby who is 9 months inside and during the first months he still really adapts to the reality on the outside.
“Less is more, slow down and get to know your baby. Every baby is different. You can buy all the parenting books ahead of time and try to prepare for this big event, you can watch all the shows in the world. world, but nothing can really prepare you because your baby is unique just like you.
“Having your baby at home is building relationship, just like you did with your partner, your parents, your siblings, your friends, it’s exactly the same with your baby. is a unique person you get to know so see what your baby likes and get to know your baby. “
When it comes to items around the house that you can use to play with your baby, Agata said a comfortable mat is important because you’ll be spending a lot of time on the floor.
Belly pillows were also at the top of her list, along with IKEA plastic bags for making accessories. Agata would put things like foil, pasta, and things with different textures inside the bags for your baby to explore.
Agata is also a big fan of using shallow plastic trays as a base for your baby to explore different objects.
“During the first few months, your baby is really going to function primarily with his vision, hearing and touch, so he won’t be physically able to play with different toys, so really don’t worry, get to know your baby and get to know your baby. once they start to grab things then you can invest in things like a simple rattle, ”she said.
“Having said that, you can make your own with a small plastic bottle, put rice or pasta inside, make sure it shakes and makes a fun noise, make sure it’s properly closed and that your rattle is finished.
“Look around the house, your baby hasn’t seen a colander, a wooden spoon, he hasn’t seen a soft pillow, so use all the things you have in the house and don’t stress to go out and spend a fortune. “
Series 2 of Est-ce normal? is packed with expert advice on a wide range of parenting topics.
There are now five live episodes covering sleep, pregnancy during the pandemic, first aid, breastfeeding, and gambling.
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