Dear Parents (or soon to be Parents),
As a parent you will never stop learning. Every day amazes us with new things we learn about our little ones or we learn new ways how to help them develop into beautiful human beings! Below our team has listed a few things that we wished we had known before - hopefully that comes useful to you!
Babies are absorbing EVERYTHING: Babies are exhibiting what Dr. Montessori identified as the absorbent mind. Newborns may not be able to focus more than 30cm initially in front of their face, but they sure are already taking in as much visual and audio information as they can. They also absorb smells, the space around them and the feeling of touch on their bodies.
Babies KNOW A LOT THAT WE DO NOT: When we look into their little eyes there is a lot of mystery. In some way they are telling us "if you want to get to know me, watch me". Observation becomes a form of respect - we observe our little ones before responding and that way learn to understand them better.
We CAN HAVE CONVERSATIONS with babies: We don't mean just speaking to a baby but with a baby, waiting for their response. Such conversation does not need to be verbal. We can poke out our tongue and wait and watch as your little one will try to imitate us. And so on, it all is a big long conversation in which we get to know each other.
Babies NEED TIME to move and explore: A baby needs time to lie on a mat and to stretch they body. Even our youngest can do that, mirror beside them, as they start to see what it is like to move their hands and feet and interact with the world around them. We can support them by giving them as little help as possible and as much as necessary.
Babies need to be TREATED GENTLY, but they are NOT FRAGILE: Needless to say, one has to be sensitive to their transition from the womb to the outside world and handle them gently and with respectful touch. However, at the same time we do not need to wrap them up at all time and over-coddle them. They can and shall move freely so they can explore the world. The muscles will get stronger and soon enough they don't need our support anymore.
Babies DO NOT NEED SO MUCH STUFF: The key principle is less is more (also for environmental reasons). Some loving arms, a place to stretch and sleep, and a warm cozy home to explore - THESE are the things a baby needs. Toys are a great way to help them develop, but even without them, as long as we support and let them independently explore the world, they will be on their respective path.
Babies are BUILDING TRUST in their environment: In the first 9 months, sometimes called the external pregnancy, babies carefully adjust to their new surroundings and actively work on building trust in their environment and in themselves and learning how to rely on their parents or other caregivers. Similarly they thrive on secure attachments, from which they feel save to explore the world. Give them this security so that move toward independence over time.
Babies will CRY TO COMMUNICATE their needs: Some people can (or believe they can) tell why their baby is crying. Sometimes they all sound the same. Important is to not just pick them up and start bouncing so they stop crying, but to ask them "what are you trying to tell me"? Only when we know what they want to tell us we know how we can help them (we do not pretend that this is always possible :)).
As always, let us know your experiences and insights and we would love to complete the above list.
Kind regards & rock on! And feel free to check out our Genius learning boxes!
Erika & the Little Genius team