The pandemic and a baby: these are two things that could potentially be extremely incompatible, or compatible, depending on your child.
If you are new to staying at home with your little one as you have been hard at work out of the house while your child has been in daycare, this is now a new life. Take a deep breath! Remember, this is only temporary, and if you are finding it difficult, tell yourself that this too, shall pass. You can do it, and your child is likely adoring this extra time with you.
Keep a Schedule
Try your best to keep the same schedule that your child was on before the coronavirus hit. Call your daycare provider to find out what that was if you are not exactly sure of what was happening when. Knowing when meals and snacks are taking place, as well as naps and outside time, will make things smoother and more predictable for both yourself and your child. It will also make transitioning back to daycare easier.
Do this as much as you can so that your child can follow their natural tendency to explore. Let them open kitchen cupboards, play with the pots and pans, toss your Tupperware around while you cook, and generally please themselves. Use gates and cushions as barriers.
Talk to your child while they play, if they are old enough to sit and handle objects on their own. This interaction helps to teach them language. Get on their level. Read to them. Have daily music time and sing a few songs. Play with bubbles in the tub.
Let them take the clothes and shoes out of your closet. These things are already in place in your home. You do not need to do a lot of preparation to let your baby have fun, learn, and be engaged.
It is also important for both you and your child to get outside. Go for walks and play in the yard, if you have one. If your child is old enough to walk, let them set the pace. You can actually spend a good half hour to an hour turning over pebbles, looking at airplanes in the sky and walking to the mailbox and back.
Try to get yourself outside twice a day with your child. Even a fifteen-minute walk outside can be stimulating and refreshing for you both.
Do Your Own Thing
This is sometimes easier said than done, depending on the child. Some kids are okay to play in the playpen or on the playmat for a while, while you fold laundry across the room, or check your email. You need a break and it is good for them to have some downtime to themselves.
If your child is needy and cannot stand you being inches away, try using a sling, or a baby carrier. Do the adult activities you need to, in order for your life to keep going. Clean the house, mop, vacuum, sort items, purge, make dinner and enjoy that feeling that you have gotten something done. Your child can learn from watching you, and they may like having the focus be on a task they can watch or even mimic.
Limit Or Avoid Screen Time
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that babies not have any screen time until 18 months. Toddlers can have a bit but less than an hour. Children two years of age and older should not be watching screens for more than one hour each day.
Of course, this is the pandemic, and we are living in extraordinary times. Realize what the limits are and do what works for you right now, and your child.
About the Author
A prior educator with a background in the arts, Victoria Simpson has a passion for communicating her ideas through writing. You can find her picture book, Eating I Forget, on Amazon. Her articles and webcopy have been published on countless websites including RateMDs.com, Autoguide, eBay, Digital Home and Iremia Skincare, among others. She is now excited to be contributing to World Atlas.
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