They’ve bought just a few years earlier than they’ll begin the timeless childhood custom of whining about how bored they’re, regardless of the piles of toys they personal, the stacks of books they may learn, and the attractive climate exterior. However even infants can get bored, in their very own approach. That’s as a result of they’re curious little explorers who depend on you to assist them transfer about to conduct that exploring.
One second of early parenthood has all the time caught out in my reminiscence. My son was simply a few months outdated and he was having a typically fussy day. He didn’t appear to need to be held or put down; he didn’t need to be on his again or on his tummy. I lastly put him in a child seat, dealing with our sliding glass door the place he may watch the rain, and identical to that, he was content material. Dude was bored and needed to see one thing totally different.
Normal fussiness like that may be a sign they’re bored, as can crying or making greedy motions that point out they need to be moved to take a look at one thing new. Researcher and psychology professor Dr. Celeste Kidd tells Fatherly that infants are studying machines:
Infants are consistently exploring and in search of novel experiences to assemble extra information about their world. Their boredom then will not be a perform of laziness, however a perform of environment friendly discovery. “What which means is that if they encounter one thing they already know every little thing about then they lose curiosity in it and need to go discover one thing else,” Kidd explains. The issues come after they can’t discover one thing else.
Especially before they’re able to crawl and explore somewhat on their own terms, they need a little help accessing new and interesting things. That being said, it’s also easy to overwhelm them, particularly if they’re being exposed to objects they have no context for—instead, Kidd says, they prefer “partially encoded” items that are somewhat familiar. That could be things like a wooden spoon, pots and pans, stacking cups, or plastic bowls.
If you need a few new tricks to entertain your baby, this video from parenting and lifestyle vlogger Emily Norris has some great suggestions. Her ideas include blowing bubbles for them to watch and touch, creating sensory bottles, and setting up what she calls “treasure baskets,” in which you fill up a basket with a variety of safe household items of different shapes and textures, such as a sponge, a clean feather duster, and a couple of different lids.
Here are some other ideas from parents in our Offspring Facebook community for the next time the babe gets bored:
- Create a “Montessori shelf.” “Put out four to six things where the baby can access the items themselves … Once she could crawl, she had a basket of plastic texture balls, four or five wooden blocks, a stuffy or baby doll with blanket, and a wooden car.” (Michael)
- The pipe cleaner trick. “Old spice container with holes and pipe cleaners.” (Erica) Another popular variation on this is pipe cleaners sticking through the holes of a colander.
- Destroy some magazines. “My son used to love ripping up magazines before he could walk; the bright colors pleased him along with the tactile experience.” (Kristin)
- Repurposed water bottles. “I used to give the girls empty water bottles to crunch. Cheap noise maker, if you can stand it.” (Daniel)
- Songs with finger/body movements. Group member Carrie recommends this YouTube channel created by two children’s librarians who share songs and rhymes: “This song is my go-to and my four-year-old even enjoys it now. It is much easier with babies, though.”
When it comes to babies, fancy toys are fine, but they’re most likely to find happiness by engaging their senses through the everyday objects of different colors and textures, and a variety of interesting sounds. And when in doubt, a change of scenery—whether that’s a walk around the neighborhood or simply moving to a different room in the home—is often enough to offer something new to watch, listen to, touch, and explore.