You’re probably used to being”on” non-stop. If you’re not tapping away at your laptop, you’re quickly shooting off a WhatsApp – and even if your activities are more low key, like reading or even following a recipe – your brain never really rests, does it?
Which is why those moments when you allow your thoughts to drift away are some of the most blissful – and, perhaps counterintuitively, the most productive too. Scientists say that these daydreaming episodes can lead to great creativity, and the same goes for your baby.
So, next time you reach for that rattle, consider the following:
Quiet doesn’t mean inactive
We often feel as though we have to fill baby’s every waking moment with some kind of educational activity. The reality, though, is that it’s when your little one is doing absolutely nothing – not exploring texture or discovering colour – that their brains are particularly active, processing and assimilating everything that’s around them. This is a skill you want to encourage, because it helps develop a greater concentration span. It also means that, as they grow, they’ll be able to find ways to entertain themselves without constantly turning to you for some kind of stimulation.
Slow is best
You probably wonder what your career might have been like if you’d been exposed to the amazing educational apps our kids have access to. Fear not: your boring old analogue childhood actually made you far better equipped to handle learning. That’s because the apps and TV programmes made for kids take place at high speed, so that when they are exposed to the slowness of real world learning, it’s almost too monotonous for them to take in.
Fancy is just fussy
Remember those ads showing a toddler playing with the box that previously housed an expensive toy, while the gadget itself lay, ignored, to one side? There’s some truth in it. While there’s no doubt today’s light-up toys with sound and motion are all very exciting, the reality is that your little one will have just as much fun – and learn just as much, too – by handling every day items like your keys or an old necklace.
Not achieving is, actually, achieving
When we see baby reaching for something and experiencing frustration at their failure, our instinct is to lend a helping hand. But, before you do that, think about this: do you want your child to learn that when they’re struggling, they just need to say the word and someone will step in for them – or that if they keep going, they’ll be able to figure things out for themselves?
All you need is love
Rather than the latest gadget that promises to turn your baby into a genius, all you actually need is to connect with her. Simply looking into her eyes throughout the day – when you change her nappy or pass her bottle – is enough to prime her for a world where personal success often comes to the quality of your relationships.
In her 16 years as journalist, Lisa Witepski’s work has appeared in most of South Africa’s leading publications, including the Mail & Guardian, Sunday Times, Entrepreneur and Financial Mail. She has written for a number of women’s magazines, including Living & Loving, Essentials and many others, across topics from lifestyle to travel, wellness, business and finance. She is a former acting Johannesburg Bureau Chief for Cosmopolitan, and former Features Editor at Travel News Weekly, but, above all, a besotted mom to Leya and Jessica. Lisa blogs at whydoialwayscravecake.blogspot.com and lisa.witepski.blogspot.com, and tweets at @LisaWitepski.