Parents want to provide wonderful experiences for their babies – that’s great! They want to expose them to all kinds of new things to see, touch, listen to, taste – that’s great! They want their children to be prepared for school as they grow – that’s great! They want to have fun with their babies – And that’s great too!
But if I could teach new parents one thing that would help them relax, it would be this:
Babies don’t care about fancy, they don’t care about cost, they don’t care about big. Babies like small experiences with you.
For example, when I see a young family taking their one-year-old to the fancy (and expensive) aquarium, I want to say “hey, take her to the beach instead and let her play in the sand and watch the seagulls!”
It’s not that she won’t enjoy the aquarium at some level – she will enjoy the movement of the fish and jelly fish. She will enjoy touching the animals in the Touch Pool ( but she isn’t old enough to be careful with them so Mom and Dad better watch her closely) She WILL enjoy it but she would enjoy the beach just as much – and she would enjoy playing in her own back yard just as much. Babies aren’t critical – they love it all. They find new things to explore no matter where they are.
So my advice is leave the fancy, expensive, BIG, Disneyland-like experiences till later when your child will be able to cognitively appreciate the where and why of the experience. There will be plenty of years where your children will not be satisfied with anything but the fancy, expensive, BIG experiences, believe me! In the 0-3 years, concentrate on the plain, inexpensive, little experiences that babies love.
In the worlds of J. Ron Lally, EdD, “Babies learn through imitation and exploration in the context of close, caring relationships.” That means they learn from their parents and other close caregivers. Take advantage of that and have a wonderful Friday and weekend with your little one.