The moment we realize we are about to become parents, we start preparing our home to welcome the new bundle of joy. We buy toys, bedding, etc. and we make ourselves available as much as possible to nurture him/her physically and emotionally. No matter what, we all try to provide the best to our children and yet, we hardly realize the importance of creating a stimulating environment for our babies. A stimulating environment is basically a setting where your child will be able to express himself freely and yet remain safe. So basically, you don’t just need to organize the baby room to make it look pretty and attractive. Rather, you need to include visual, hearing, and memory stimulating elements there so that it helps you child grow faster and have a strong physical, emotional, and mental health in the future.
While this sounds as simple as hanging a few alphabet charts and buying some numeral-based puzzles, a stimulating environment includes much more than this. It is a setting that is inviting and yet challenging enough to motivate your baby to take up new challenges and reach new milestones every day. You need to organize your baby room to help your child feel safe and secure. Along with that, you need to ensure that whoever spends most of the time with your child, whether it is you or the caregiver, he/she should always be available to take care of your baby’s emotional needs. He/she must answer all his questions and motivate him to speak up and ask for what he wants. Your child should get a stimulating environment where he is being well-supported in all manners.
While providing adequate stimulation for child development is no rocket science, our ever-busy lifestyle often forces us to ignore some of the aspects. In this blog, we will provide you with some helpful tips for providing adequate and early stimulation to your baby and motivate him to grow up as a well-nurtured individual.
Stimulating Environments – Top 5 Ideas
There are many ways to go about creating a stimulating environment for babies. Infant stimulation depends on how accessible your child is to an environment that will help him or her develop physically, mentally and emotionally. The early years are vital to how your baby will make sense of the world and grow up and handle it. So creating a stimulating environment early on is crucial to the overall health of your child. All it takes to create a stimulating environment is organization, creativity and an understanding of the need to vary your child’s experiences of his or her immediate world.
Here are our top 5 ideas on how to create a stimulating environment:
Organize the baby room and materials in it in some fashion to provide early stimulation and easy access to toys and games. Make containers accessible to babies and children so they are free to choose what they want to play with. Change some toy choices regularly so that babies and children are exposed to different objects from which to choose. Provide safe access to windows so babies and children can look out into the world, unbreakable mirrors to look into and brightly colored pictures at their eye level to give your baby visual stimulation.
Stimulation for child development requires you to create varying floor surfaces for practicing crawling and walking. Children and music go hand in hand as well, especially at that young age. Provide developmentally appropriate toys for young children to give them chances to practice their new skills in movement, thinking and interacting.
Organize Baby Room
If your baby already has his/her own room, it’s time to convert the conventional and cute nursery into a place that promotes early learning. Even basic things such as hanging a family photo is a great idea to organize the baby room. It will introduce the concept of family to your child. You can start with painting it in cute but light colors and then paste alphabets and numbers all around or maybe on a specific wall. You can have modes of transport painted or pasted on the walls. To introduce the concept of reading, you can have a dedicated place for books. Even picture books are good. Your child should be able to reach them, open them, and see them on his own. For promoting the concept of food, you can create his own snack bar with some biscuits or whatever your child can safely eat. All these things go a long way in helping your child become independent.
Children And Music – Introduce Music Into the Nursery
Those nursery rhymes are not just for soothing your child or to make him fall asleep. Various studies have concluded that exposing babies to music goes a long way in boosting their brain development by improving their memory and vocabulary. Children and music are great combinations because both of them are stress busters for us. So, the more we sing for them, the better we feel and the happier they get. A happy child has a better intellectual and emotional quotient than a child that has been exposed to arguments, fights, irritating noise, etc. So, sing lullabies for your baby as frequently as you can and always sing as if no one is listening. This type of stimulating environment in the early years will teach your baby to freely express himself. You can also play some soft music or lullabies for him when you are tired. Let him bang on the utensils and understand how sound is created. Teach him to bang on those pans in a rhythm. These types of early stimulation can help them understand the concept of sound, music, and melody.
Early Stimulation – Make Enough Space For Learning And Playing
Early stimulation depends on age-appropriate toys that challenge and excite. Yes, this is crucial. if they won’t excite your baby, he/she wouldn’t even bother to look at it. We have all experienced this. We buy a new toy with craze assuming that our baby will love it but he doesn’t. That’s because, it doesn’t excite him. He probably likes something else. So, find out what your baby likes the most and buy toys accordingly. Also, while buying them, make sure that it will provide some kind of challenge to your child so he/she will get tempted to try it again and again. When he will learn the trick, he will get a sense of achievement, which will help him take up future challenges. The toys you buy for him need not be very expensive but they should be safe to play with and should be age-appropriate. If the toy is too basic or too complex for his age, he would get bored or give up quickly. So, always buy toys that are relevant for your child’s age and they provide enough challenge to excite him but not too much to force him to give up. While this sounds tricky, it isn’t so. You just have to buy the toys thoughtfully.
Physical Environment Child Care Setting – Make It Safe For Exploration
To create a physical environment in a childcare setting, it is important to make sure it is safe. You will need to childproof your home and check whether you have certain elements in your house that are not considered safe for your kids. Your home has to be safe for exploration. If you have a full-length glass door or window, make sure to place your baby’s play mat or even crib near these fixtures.
Early on, your baby will also need to see and begin to appreciate the world outside home. If your baby can already start crawling, just make sure that the doors and windows are closed but the curtains are drawn. You should also ensure that you can see your baby in plain sight while they are playing. Make sure that his or her play area is not obstructed from view. You must still have absolute control of any situation that may endanger the safety of your baby.
Sensory House – Early Stimulation
Upon birth, your child’s brain is the only organ which isn’t in a fully developed state. This is the reason why pediatricians focus a lot of early stimulation. Having a sensory house with lots of visual, hearing, and touch stimulation will help your baby reach his developmental milestones faster and better. For newborns, you can provide early stimulation by hanging a toy above his crib, which will motivate him to watch it move and grab it. Show him a mirror every day and tell him this is him. Buy him big-sized alphabet or number blocks and keep briefing him about them. For toddlers, you can play peek-a-boo game with them. Encourage your baby to crawl all around the house safely. Make him see the family photo album. While feeding him, brief him that the soup is hot and the ice cream is cold the bowl is big and spoon is small, etc. Creating a sensory house doesn’t require much effort. It needs thoughtfullness.
The Importance of Early Stimulation
Although the development of a human brain starts at the prenatal stage, it takes approximately 25 years to develop fully. But, the maximum of its growth happens before your child is 5 years old. This is the reason why early stimulation is so important. A childhood surrounded by books, music, age-appropriate toys, and loving and caring caregivers will help your baby become a mentally and emotionally healthy individual. Similarly, exposure to stress and trauma can lead them towards depression and poor mental capacity in the future. No wonder why creating a positive stimulating environment is the best thing you can gift to your baby.
Q. How to Stimulate a Baby?
A. There are four key methods: avoid television, talk to your baby, touch and interact, and stimulate the senses. A stimulating environment is key to all four. Television doesn’t encourage participation so avoid passive entertainment. Make sure your child is invested in what he or she is doing. Talk to your baby, and make him or her touch and interact with the surroundings. Stimulate the senses through music, exercise and challenging games.
Q. How Does Stimulation Help A Baby To Develop?
A. We have already discussed many of the benefits of providing a stimulating environment for babies. During the first few years, a positive and encouraging environment will help boost their brain development by promoting the growth of more neurological pathways. The more you remain with your baby, the better relationship you both will share in the future. Stimulating environment will also motivate your baby to use his senses and reflexes, which, in turn, will boost his intelligence, thinking, and reacting capabilities. Early stimulation also helps your child learn better social skills.
Q. How Much Stimulation Does An Infant Need?
A. It is important to mix in free play with stimulation. Your baby should get about three times more free playtime than formal stimulation. This is important to prevent over-stimulation. Provide enough activity and experiences through a stimulating environment to keep your child interested and engaged during appropriate times of the day. Interact with your baby by singing songs, reading books, going on walks together, and playing with age appropriate toys. Introduce her to new things and experiences.
Those are our tips to consider when creating a stimulating environment for your baby. Remember to target all five senses: taste, touch, sight, hearing and smelling. You are trying to prepare your baby for the world that lies outside your home and so you have to do everything you can to ensure your baby develops correctly and can handle it to the best of his or her ability. The first years of a baby’s life are the most important in setting them up for the future so the impact a sensory house can have on his or her life cannot be understated.