“Play is the work of the child.” – Maria Montessori
Young babies need lots of time with you, being held, cuddled, etc but you can start to encourage independent development by offering independent play, even at this age.
For now that may be your baby playing in their prepared space and you close by, watching/observing, but they are independent in their play.
Giving your child the space one their own, without distractions, gives them a sense that they can do things on their own. Don’t worry, they will soon let you know when they want some interactions with you!
Montessori aligned toys are open ended, simple, non-electronic (as much as possible) and ideally made with natural material.
The toys you choose are purposeful and are meant to spark your child’s curiosity.
Here are a few suggested toys for your child at this age.
- Shaker musical instruments
- Toy on a suction cup base
- Knitted ball
- Rattle – have a few different ones
- Interlocking rings
- Grasping beads
- Rubber ball with protrusions
- Bells on a leather strap
Not all play is with toys!
Music, dance, and singing are wonderful ways to play with your child. When you choose music time, turn on the music and listen to it. Avoid having it as background noise. Don’t overthink the music choice, children will be happy with classical, classic rock, country, and even Irish music!
Whatever you listen to is great but avoid the more ‘active’ music before bedtime. Classical or soothing music would be ideal at this time.
Dance with your infant, hold the close and dance or dance for your child, While they are on the floor, dance around them and watch them, watching you! Dance with fabrics, dance with instruments! Have fun!
I am completely tone deaf and my children happily tell me this now, but they used to love me singing to them when they were little!
“Play is the highest form of research.” – Albert Einstein
If play is the work of the child, then the toys are the tools. The activities your child engages in are helping them to make choices, be active and learn new skills to mastery level. Today’s toys are often over stimulating or linked to a screen in some way. There is no benefit to screens for your infant child (Video calls are the exception!).
Increasingly, it is recommended no screen time at all for children under 2 years of age. Avoid having the TV on in the background.
I know everything in our world in online right now due to Covid and there are many online classes geared towards babies on offer, such as music, gym and story time. Don’t be tempted to sign up. You have all you need to be able to provide a stimulating and interactive environment for your child. With that said, if you need the interaction, find a class that offers more opportunity for connect amongst other parents.
Infants may stare at the bright colours and motion on the screen, but their brains are not capable of making sense of what they are seeing. Your child needs interaction to learn.
Evidence suggests that screen time has lasting negative effects on children’s language development, reading skills and short-term memory. As well as causing problems with sleep and attention. Screen time will not support the development of concentration and focus.
“The first essential for a child’s development is concentration. The child who concentrates is immensely happy.” – Maria Montessori
Protect your child’s natural drive to concentrate by providing a calm environment with limited unnatural distractions.