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My son is 4 wks old, and I am wondering how I'm supposed to know what toys or playthings are best for him at each age. I currently just have hanging animals/rattles that come with my bouncy chair. I want to be minimalist, but I don't want to stunt his growth! (I'm a first time mother... maybe I'm overreacting here) I also have 3 basic kids books which I sometimes read to him, just so he can hear my voice.
And when am I supposed to start tummy time?
Is there some resource that can tell me these things, from now until he's older?
 

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mama, relax. babies don't need toys. their best teacher and plaything is you! once his vision improves and he can focus better, he'll love watching you make faces and tickle and cuddle him. a few small toys can be fun, but he won't seriously be interested in toys as toys until he's closer to a year (both my kids love/d random objects-- sometimes toys-- just to chew on and throw until 9 to 11 months or so). tummy time can begin whenever. some babies hate it, you can try lying on your back with him on your chest to make it easier. it's not absolutely imparitive for a baby that is often in-arms, so don't fret if he hates it. carry him or sling him and he'll do just fine!
 

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:

I hear ya on the minimalist thing, I'm like that too.

DD is coming up on 9 months old and although she does play with some of her toys, she is the happiest when I'm on the ground with her singing, reading playing or just letting her climb all over me. Also, some of her favorite toys are actually not officially toys, she was so excited when I gave her a bunch of wooden cooking utensils to play with.

I am planning to be minimalist on the toys but to spend as much $$ as I can on books for her!
 

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At this age, your baby doesn't have a need to play with *things.* Your baby is busy interacting with you, and will soon begin to play interactive games with you. Babies at this age are totally focused on the faces of their parents. Also, your baby will enjoy observing you in all your daily activities more than anything else in the world. Give your baby lots of face time, and if you want, keep around some visually stimulating toys for him to just look at.

In my experience, when your baby starts getting into toys, he will be the perfect guide for what he is into. For example, when he starts reaching out and trying to grab toys and things, you will naturally have the instinct to find toys or household objects for him that catch his attention and get him to reach out...toys he can get a hold of relatively easily...and toys that he delights in actually grabbing onto (ones that rattle, etc.). When your baby starts crawling, it might be things that roll that delight your baby and that you have the instinct to get for him. Later on, you'll notice him banging a toy on the table, and instinctively give him a wooden spoon and a pot so he can happily drum away.

It all comes much more naturally than you can imagine before your baby starts to grab a hold of toys. Once it comes, you'll know what I am talking about...there is no need to worry about this at all. As his mother, you'll know what it is that he needs and delights in.

Do you have a high quality toy shop? Not something like toys-r-us, but a local shop, perhaps, filled with quality toys, many wooden and some old-fashioned. Wandering the aisles might help you become more at ease. You'll see toys you played with as a kid, and remember the things that delighted you. For instance, I found an old fashioned top (you know, the large tin ones that make a musical whiring noise as they spin) and I remembered the delight of those. At 15 months, it is one of ds' favorite toys (though he still can't always spin it by himself). Having said that, I'm feeling the need to emphasize your naturalist tendencies. Our society seems to instill in us a sense that baby's "need" this or that to develop properly. I assure you that most children are most interested in things that allow them to join in what everyone else is doing...household items. Stories abound of mothers who bought for their children this toy and that toy only to have the child hit the kitchen cupboards and remove every pot and pan in the house multiple times daily. Children are designed to develop perfectly as long as they have loving and nurturning adults who care for them. Everything else is icing on the cake.

~Sierra
 

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