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<p>This is my first child and I don't really know very many people with babies, so I've been going on instinct for the most part.  Now that he sits up by himself, he's really taken to independent play. I make a pillow nest around him to minimize head conks and then he plays with whatever objects he seems into that day - patchwork ball I made for him, measuring spoons, measuring cups, piece of ribbon, wooden spoon, etc. He's a cheap date at this point, you know? I talk to him a lot and I get down on the floor with him from time to time, but I let him play by himself a lot because he seems totally content (it's a small apt, so I'm always in the same room). I wear him when we go out on errands and he gets lots of affection and cuddles all day. He seems very happy.</p>
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<p>I've always felt pretty good about how our days are structured at this point, until the other day. My friend came over with her little girl and seemed genuinely...I don't know, shocked or disappointed or concerned. She basically tried to tactfully suggest that I wasn't interacting enough with him and that he was too young to be playing on his own. I guess she's constantly down on the floor all day with her little girl (who's about the same age), naming objects, teaching her motor skills etc. She and I have always seemed to be pretty similar in our parenting outlook, pretty AP - EBF, baby wearing, no CIO, etc - and I do value her opinion. I know she wasn't trying to be judgmental and that she was coming from a place of genuine concern. So I guess what I'm asking is, am I doing it "wrong"? Should I be directing him more? He's only 6 months old! He's at the point where a piece of scrap wool felt is a totally exciting and engrossing object, good for 15 minutes of total absorption, kwim? She made me feel bad, like I'm ignoring my child and being selfish. I never have the tv on during the day and I try to minimize my computer time when he's awake, but I do read or sew or do housework when he's around. I got the impression she thought I was making him fit into my life for what's easy for me rather than constructing my life around him.</p>
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<p>If anyone has any good (gentle!) constructive advice for me on how to parent a 6 month old, I'd love to hear it. Or if anyone has any good child development/philosophy books they'd like to recommend, I'd be really interested in checking them out.  Thanks in advance!</p>
 

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<p>Well, I think if he's content exploring on his own, then you're fine. I mean, at 6 months old, I wasn't doing much else. I did the same thing with the pillow nest and dd. I'm sure other posters will have some ideas of what you can do, but it sounds ok to me.</p>
<p>ETA, I think it's a <strong>good</strong> thing that he's content to play on his own while you can get other stuff done. That to me says he's secure with you and knows you're right there if he should need you.</p>
 

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<p>Hi!  I think you're doing a great job <img alt="redface.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/redface.gif">  Overstimulating / over-"teaching" kids, I see, as a huge problem with children today.  </p>
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<p>Please take this with a grain of salt, because I do not have any children.  However, I've been a nanny for 7 years.  So I've observed - in depth -- MANY different families and philosophies when it comes to children.  From my small sample size, I can say whole-heartedly that children DO NOT need to be constantly entertained.  In fact, that will do more harm than good.  </p>
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<p>In my experience, those children who are constantly the center of adult attention have lots of trouble when they get a little older (read: toddlerhood) and then, suddenly, are expected to "play" on their own....they've never done it before!  Now I'm definitely not suggesting that you ignore your children; if they need your attention, you should always treat them with respect and acknowledge / respond to their needs.  However he is clearly expressing his need to you:  he wants to sit and play with measuring spoons!  You're being a good mama and meeting his needs.  Congrats!  It sounds like you're striking a nice balance between stimulating and respecting his need for independent exploration  <img alt="thumb.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/thumb.gif"></p>
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<p>I'm sure your friend wasn't trying to bully you or anything....but I think that you may get more, erh, aggressive advice later saying a similar thing.  "Your kids needs to be in [insert number here] activities, or else!".  Be prepared.  Stand your ground.  You're doing great.</p>
 

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<p>first i think it's great that your babe can entertain himself for stretches. dd is also very independent and as long as she doesn't need me i just let her go. first of all, i don't want to interrupt whatever process she has going on (the book "culture shock" has a great chapter on the negative effects of praise/interuption to children's activities and the effect it has on whatever innate pride they would otherwise have in their tasks) and i don't worry about it....if she's learning to self-entertain that's amazing and it's not like we don't spend the majority of the day interacting anyway, yk?</p>
<p>i recommend this book called "montessori from the start:birth through age 3." it's got great resources on facilitating independent exploration or at least it might give you the confidence to know that you are letting your kiddo do what he needs to do.</p>
 

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<p>I love the pillow nest stage!  And it doesn't last forever.  Both of my kids went through a phase where they could be perfectly happy entertaining themselves on the floor while I did my own thing nearby, and then something happened - teething, or the start of another developmental thing, and they wouldn't have any of it.  We go back and forth - weeks of independent play, followed by weeks of wanting to be held all the time.</p>
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<p>If your kid is healthy and happy, growing and learning, you're doing it right, however you're doing it.</p>
 

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I totally agree- it doesn't last forever. My daughter went through a stage of being just fine with independent play like that, and now, at 8 months, her separation anxiety has kicked in a lot and she often is not content unless I am on the floor with her-- line of sight isn't enough! She needs to be able to climb on me to feel happy. So I say enjoy it while you can! <img alt="winky.gif" class="bbcode_smiley" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/winky.gif">
 

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<p>I think you're just fine. You are following your child's cues at 6 months old, and to have enough trust in their developmental needs really shows a lot! Some babies need constant interaction, others need to explore and figure it out on their own. At 6 months you've already figured out what YOUR child needs, and you are willing to follow the cues and then question that you're doing the right thing. You're doing an amazing job Mama, don't doubt your inner voice and intuition as a mother!</p>
 

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<p>I think it sounds like you're doing a fine job! My son is a bit younger than yours and can't sit up or really roll over but he still likes to play by himself for periods of time. Self-exploration is very important and as a PP said too much baby-centred interaction is not always a good thing. When my DS wants me to join in his play he gives me a "come join me" look or squeal and I happily follow his lead. Other times he is so engrossed in learning to manipulate objects, experimenting with his sensory and motor skills that I don't want to interrupt him. One thing I DO make sure to do a couple of times every day for a period of 15 or so minutes each time is to read to him and show him picture books. This is really important IMO. Also if DS wants my attention and to interact, I include him in my housework or whatever I'm doing by talking with him and narrating what I'm doing. I'd say at this point our ratio of interaction to independent activity is about 65:35. I expect DS will play more and more independently as he gets older but will also need lots of support, interaction and leadership from me at points. I'm flexible. :)</p>
 

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<p>Hi, I have a 6 m.o. as well. Aren't they great! <span><img alt="joy.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/joy.gif" style="width:42px;height:39px;"></span> I was also a little bit worried that I was "neglecting" her when I let her play by herself. But, I feel pretty good about it now. These are my reasons for being ok with it. Oh, and we are like you in that our LO is TV free, we limit computer time while she is awake and respond to her immediately if she shows signs of distress.</p>
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<p>- it is developmentally appropriate for her to be exploring the idea of being a seperate entity from me</p>
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<p>- it is helping her motor and cognitive skills</p>
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<p>- she doesn't want to be worn all the time, she gets too hot and gets bored because she can't reach/hold things</p>
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<p>- it is helping her develop imagination and creativity. I read somewhere (can't remember where, sorry) that adults are not always very good companions for children because they are "obsessed" with playing with toys "the right way" which is not necessarily how the child would play with the toy if left to their own devices</p>
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<p>- it is setting her up to be able to/used to entertaining herself as she grows older which IMO is a very improtant skill. There are plenty of adults who lack it.</p>
<p>- our parenting style is a mix of AP and Continuum Concept and one of the key CC ideas is that children should be the centre of activity but not the centre of attention. So, like you, I am always with my girl and I try to be doing constructive things. This also helps them to learn these skills by observation.</p>
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<p>These are just my thoughts on the matter based on what I have read and the cues that J has given me. Hope that helps.</p>
 

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<p>"Hi!  I think you're doing a great job <img alt="redface.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="">  Overstimulating / over-"teaching" kids, I see, as a huge problem with children today. </p>
<p>"<span><img alt="yeahthat.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/yeahthat.gif"></span></p>
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<p>... and what everyone else said too ...</p>
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<p>I think this is mostly a first-time mom thing for a lot of people - I know that I did a lot of that with my first. Frankly, with this little DS we do some reading and some playing - he's also 6 mo - but most of his day is hanging out with me while I do a variety of stuff - play and read with his older sister, help her with her homework, make dinner. That's how babies learn - by just being with us ... not through flashcards and directed teaching. I remember reading on another forum about a mom who was doing ABC flash cards with her THREE month old. It struck me as pretty sad, actually.</p>
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<p>Sounds to me like you're doing a great job allowing your LO to explore the world!</p>
 

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<p>My DS is only 4.5 months, but I think you are doing just fine!  He will let you know when he needs more interaction :)</p>
 

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<p>I would just recommend some quality snuggle time each day. Even at such a young age, you can at least enjoy at a CD together. Since sound is the first sense that babies experience (the only one they experience while still in the womb), they can start to recognize different pitches and tempos in music, even at just a few months old. I LOVE this CD for babies, <a href="http://www.littleonebooks.com/Mozart-for-Babies_p_1041.html" target="_blank">http://www.littleonebooks.com/Mozart-for-Babies_p_1041.html</a></p>
 

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<p>I don't think you need to do much with 6 month old, except being there with them (which obviously you are!). Some babies prefer to spend a lot of time on the floor, playing with some thing (measuring spoons? A piece of cloth? Clothes pegs? Anything!), others want to be always in arms (my DD for examples), and yet others like to lie or sit on the floor, but with Mama right there playing along. </p>
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<p>All they need is having their needs met, in the way that is right for your child at that particular time. They do not need any teaching, they'll learn. Learning is part of normal development. Provided the parents/caregivers connect with the child, talk to the child and responds to the child's actual needs. Just talking about things you see and do as you get on with your day will "teach" a baby plenty - and is generally easier for baby to pick up as it is all in context. </p>
 

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<p>You are doing plenty, plenty, plenty, and wonderful, wonderful, wonderful.  I heard once that the job of a parent when they have a baby is to a) keep them safe, and b) make them smile as many times a day as you can.  And HUGE thumbs up to you for keeping the t.v. off (ditto here, haven't had one since 1999).  We also have a really small place and it can feel pretty confining, playing in one room all day...getting out on fussy days (whether it's mom or baby that's fussy) is important for us...on regular days, too...but sometimes it's nice just to hang in jammies and stay home all day.  Babies do not need structured learning activities any more than they need to start drinking soda.  You are doing great.  I have a good buddy who is also a first time mom (I am not) and I've noticed she's much more likely to get her baby in classes, read developmental play books, etc.  There is nothing wrong with that, but there is most definitely nothing wrong with your style, either.  Some parents feel the need to follow a program or a specialized routine, for whatever reason, but that doesn't mean their kids wouldn't develop just as fine without it.  Also, some independent play is GOOD and the fancy books would tell you that it is good for self-esteem, too, by the way.  Parents have their own nature, just like babies do.  You are loving your child, spending real time with him instead of parking him in front of a t.v..  Try to let the worries go.  You're doing great!</p>
 

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<p>I recommend "Wonder Weeks" which explains the different developmental stages that babies go through. It isn't preachy and doesn't want you to teach the baby but it is helpful to know what the baby is going through. keep up the good work mama and love that baby!</p>
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>tzs</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1283973/am-i-doing-enough-with-my-6-month-old#post_16098315"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>first i think it's great that your babe can entertain himself for stretches. dd is also very independent and as long as she doesn't need me i just let her go. first of all, i don't want to interrupt whatever process she has going on (the book "culture shock" has a great chapter on the negative effects of praise/interuption to children's activities and the effect it has on whatever innate pride they would otherwise have in their tasks) and i don't worry about it....</p>
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<p>I'm going to have to pick up a copy of this . . . . Thanks tzs!</p>
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<p>DD is 4 mos. and I'm already seeing this play out. She's recently started rolling both ways and scooting around a bit. Anytime she successfully rolled over/moved independently, I would praise her. Usually, my (gentle) praise would startle her and she would become completely distracted. Likewise if I would try to encourage her mid-maneuver - she would completely stop and forget the task at hand. At some point I had to realize I was interfering with her concentration, and therefore, possibly her development. As much as I want to be involved in every little thing she does, she seems to need to have some independent time to figure stuff out!</p>
 

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<p>Go with your mama gut!  It amazes me how we as mothers are constantly questioning if we are doing it right.  It makes me wonder did my grandma and great grandma feel that way.  Did they question themselves? Or did they do what was in their mama's heart of hearts?   I think you rock!  And I am a fan of the pillow fort too.  My little guy is amazed with the little plastic cups that you put salsa in. </p>
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<p>I remember thinking to myself or writing it down in my journal .... "maybe there is not a right way to do it."  But I understand how you feel that you might be doing it wrong.  I am a first time mama too. And I was just thinking the same thing about my 7 month old.  Then the thoughts, "Oh, I should be reading more.  I should be getting an on-line degree in parenting..."  on and on.  There is no degree.  My husband gave me some good advice.  He said, "Because you are questioning and worried about being a good parent means you are a good parent."</p>
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<p>You are beautiful, brilliant, wonderful, and strong.</p>
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<p>memomuse<span><img alt="namaste.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/namaste.gif" style="width:36px;height:32px;"></span></p>
 

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<p>I think you are doing great and I'm in the same place right now. DD is 5.5 months and she's just loving rolling around on the floor and exploring different things. She's content to play while I fold laundry, read emails, play with ODD, etc. At times I wonder if I should be doing something different but I'm going with it for now, she's content and happy so I leave her be. She definitely lets me know it when she needs me. We do get in lots of cuddles too, reading, singing, etc so I think it's all good. Oh and like others have said.......enjoy it (have to take my own advice on that one), this time where they just sit and play contentedly while not being able to get into stuff is so awesome.</p>
 

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<p>I think you're doing fine! It's not like you're outright ignoring him!! I have a 6mo old too, and we have a very similar pattern to our day. I agree with all PP, he will let you know when he needs your attention, my DS certainly does, lol!</p>
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<p>I had a friend who was at the beck and whim of her kid- I don't mean in a "meeting his needs" way, but would NEVER leave him alone for a minute. He never learned to play on his own, and let me tell you it was a horrible shock to him when his little sister was born and suddenly mommy wasn't always available. I lived with them at this time so I saw every day how strongly it affected him, poor thing. I think it's really important to give babies their own time.</p>
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<p>tzs: thanks for sharing the book rec, I will be checking it out too :)</p>
 
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