I love to snuggle and cuddle my babies, but in order to get some work done around the house and work with the boys, that can only happen either when she’s sleeping or when she’s busy learning, too. So here are some quick tips on what you can do to keep your baby (pre-crawler) busy while homeschooling with your older kiddos:
1. Invest in a good busy blanket or two. I do know how to sew, but the reality is I am short on time, so I invested in these great busy blankets found on Etsy. Viviette loves it because it’s soft (minkie fabrics) and the colorful ribbon tags and loops work on fine motor skills and keep her interest. This particular blanket also makes sounds with crinkle fabric in one corner, the beads rattle a bit, and a squeeky toy in the other corner. One word to dog owners tho’ – my Westie would have loved this blanket as well, so if you have pets in the house, be sure to keep this up out of their reach.
2. Utilize your High Chair. When your lil’ one is old enough to hold her head up nice and strong, you can skip the expense of a Bumbo and just put her into a high-chair with a three point harness. I didn’t put the tray on at first and just placed a soft colorful toy in her lap so she could work on grabbing at it. At around five months old, I added the tray because she was able to reach and grab better. Now that she is six months old, she loves her suction toy and making it spin. She also seems to like to be close to us while we work at the table or make a meal in the kitchen. I have a basket in the dining room where I keep an assortment of toys so we can trade out and keep things fresh for interest. Getting them used to doing other activities in their high chair (besides eating) will come in handy as they become toddlers (it will keep them in one spot and busy on a task you give them as they grow). I also should note that I don’t buy most of her plush toys. At the time of this post, I have found that watching some online yard sale groups via Facebook have the best deals. I’ll pick up a lot of toys for under $8. I just throw them in the wash and they are ready to use.
3. Use a front pack transitioned to back pack. When my babies are old enough to sit and hold their head up nice and strong, I can get some things done in 15-20 minutes with two hands free and my lil’ one loves watching over my shoulder. It’s important that you don’t rush this and keep them in a front carrier until they are able to hold their head and body up for 15-20 minutes at a time. The great part of getting them used to the pack around the house is that this transitions easily to going on hikes with your older kiddos when the weather is good. A good back back for toddlers will run about $150 new, but again, if you watch online yard sales thru Facebook, you can pick them up for less.
4. Make a point to be in tune with attunement. Of course, nothing can replace the importance of baby learning from her care givers. I can’t express enough that even though you need to keep your baby busy at times, don’t neglect spending one-on-one time, looking at her in the eyes, smiling, and even singing to her. This is called attunement and your baby is learning at leaps and bounds when you spend time with her in this manner. I even encourage my older boys (8 and 12 years old), to spend time talking, smiling and playing with her as well. Be sure to watch this short video to learn more.