When you have an infant at home, caring for your child becomes a full-time job.  Every day, you complete the same activities with your baby, from bathing to playing to bedtime rituals.  These routines can be very comforting to both you and your baby, but sometimes baby care can become monotonous.  One way to prevent boredom in your daily routine is to introduce nature into your day-to-day activities.

One of the most mundane and repetitive activities in a baby’s day is changing time.  Infants spend a lot of time on the changing table, whether it is for a fresh diaper or for a fresh shirt.  You can easy make this time more fun and relaxing by keeping small natural items in a basket near the changing table.  If your baby fusses while being changed, pull a large seashell or leaf from the basket.  Explain the item to your baby, and then describe what you see and allow the baby to explore the object in their own way.  Make sure the items are large enough that they are not choking hazards, and keep an eye on your baby at all times.

Another fun way to include nature in your baby’s care is to make bath time a time to also explore nature and the world around them.  Use baby safe soaps and shampoos that create an atmosphere of nature and the outdoors.  Allow your child to play in the water with fresh leaves, acorns, flowers, and other clean natural items.  Babies can learn a lot about nature just by exploring the texture and colors of such items, as you explain the beauty and wonder of each item to them.

Feeding time is another part of the day that welcomes including nature in your routine.  If your infant is eating baby food or has been introduced to solid foods, it can be very simple to introduce nature through taste.  With your doctor’s agreement, it can be fun to offer your baby many different colors and tastes at each meal, focusing on naming the colors, describing the tastes, and encouraging baby to smell the delicious food on their plate.  Baby’s curiosity will naturally allow touch to become a part of this routine, so encourage your baby to touch and explore the food you offer them.

If your infant is still too young for solid foods, you can create a nursing necklace out of natural items – this is handy whether you nurse or bottle feed, of course.  The necklace can contain acorns, feathers, shells, or even pine cones.  Anything that can be securely attached to a string or chain is suitable for baby while you are nursing or bottle feeding.  Because you are right there with your infant, the necklace is a safe and useful distraction.

One of the most obvious areas of your baby care routine that can include nature is play time.  It is very important for infants to have the opportunity to explore various textures, shapes, and colors.  Studies have shown time, and again that variety helps stimulate and shape your child’s developing brain during play time.  Use materials such as cotton, fall leaves, and large, smooth rocks to introduce texture, color, and varied temperatures to your infant.  Even fruit and vegetables can become play things, with the added bonus of being edible if the child happens to place it in their mouth!  Many mobile infants have taken an apple from a fruit bowl or shopping cart and had a very enjoyable time exploring the fruit with their hands, eyes, and mouth.

When you are trying to include nature in your baby’s routine, safety is a top priority.  Before you try any of these ideas, make sure the items are large enough that they cannot be swallowed or lodged in the throat.  Remove sharp edges or points, and any small parts that could easily become loose.  Keep a careful eye on your child, but allow them to learn and explore nature on their own terms while making your day-to-day activities fun and amazing.

 

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