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Interactive Toys and the Benefits of Self-guided Learning

Babies-R-Us-interactive-toys-450x400Your baby has a mind of their own and it’s important to let them exercise it independently of you. A bit of alone time in the first year of life will do wonders for their self-confidence, which, at this age, is the ability to be by themselves. This will help them in other aspects of their lives; most notably in the middle of the night so they don’t immediately start wailing and wishing for companionship if they wake up.

Sitting them down with an interactive toy is an excellent way to encourage this kind of development. It’s also an good opportunity for you to take a quick parenting break to go do something else, as you’ll find moments like these to be in short supply.

When you’re ready to try independent play with your baby, the first and most important thing you should do is find a safe place for them to do it. Enclosed areas like playpens or playards are the best because they’re surrounded by padding and there’s nowhere for your little one to go. This isn’t to say you can’t choose an open space, but make sure the surface they’re sitting on is soft so if they topple over mid-play they don’t bump their heads on a hard floor.

When choosing interactive toys for your baby, look for ones that have lots of different things to do. The more there is to keep them occupied and engaged, the better.

Another excellent way to encourage independent discovery is through mirrors. Babies are mesmerized by their own reflection and will learn a lot about themselves as they consider the person staring back at them, even if they don’t know who it is yet.

Of course, reinforcing what they learn through independent play is just as important as giving them the opportunity to do it in the first place. Once in a while, when you set them down for a self-discovery session, hover in the background out of their field of vision and watch what they do. When you come back, use the toys as they did, regardless of whether or not it was the ‘proper way’, to help them further develop what they learned.

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