|Tips#1: Read Together Every Day|
|Read to your child every day. Make this a warm and loving time when the two of you can cuddle close together. Bedtime is an especially great time for reading together.|
|Tips#2: Give Everything A Name|
|You can build comprehension skills early, even with the littlest child. Play games that involve naming or pointing to objects. Say things like, "Where's your nose?" and then, "Where's Mommy's nose?" Or touch your child's nose and say, "What's this?"|
He also likes to lie on things and look at my walls. I have a lot of artwork in the home, but his favourite is a cheap sepia-toned canvas with a large flower in the middle. He just wants to look at the contrast all the time. It got to the point where he wanted to play and swipe things with his hands, and so I began looking for a play gym to satisfy his new needs.
I was recommended on to the concept of a play nest by a friend. These inflatable donuts with a detachable gym sounded fabulous. I'll add in here that my son was a big baby, but I only had a little bump so he was very squashed up inside me, and has consequently never liked being too exposed, preferring to be snuggled up with blankets or surrounded by cushions. The nest design looked as though it would be snuggly without being too enclosed, which would hopefully wean him away from the need to be cuddled up.
What are the advantages to buying a play nest vs. the play gym?
A comfortable supportive seat helps your baby's developing spine, and encourages them to sit, while a play gym usually involves your child lying flat.
It is impossible for a wriggler to escape a play nest, whereas a child who has strong legs can wriggle away and get into mischief when using a traditional gym. It is safer for you to do other things while your child plays happily in a nest.
|Tips#3: Say How Much You Enjoy Reading Together|
|Tell your child how much you enjoy reading with him or her. Look forward to this time you spend together. Talk about "story time" as the favorite part of your day.|
|Tips#4: Be Interactive|
|Engage your child so he or she will actively listen to a story. Discuss what's happening, point out things on the page, and answer your child's questions. Ask questions of your own and listen to your child's responses.|
You know they can't hurt themselves when in the nest, as it is soft and completely fabric covered, while many gyms are made from hard plastic.
If your child is not totally unsupported when sitting, it is possible for them to fall back. In a gym, they fall back on to whatever is behind them (hopefully cushions) where in a nest, you know they will fall on to a lovely inflatable ring.
I also weighed up advantages to the play gym:
The mat section can double as a changing mat, or at least make it easier for you to change your child without disturbing them too much.
Plastic play gyms are easier to keep clean and can just be wiped with a cloth, but a play nest with fabric covering would need to be dismantled when it gets mucky.
There were a lot of amazing choices from loads of different companies, but in the end, I ordered the Galt Toys Farm Playnest and Gym online. It was beautiful colours and I loved the four dangling toys that come with it: a bird, a butterfly, a plane and a sunshine/flower.
I'm all for educating my son from a young age, and so I make 'neeeooo#39; noises when I show him the plane, or sing the song that the flower-thing sings. Now, he is learning to swat the dangling toys, and slap the duck's beak to make it squeak.
Because he has taken to it so well, I am getting a little bit more me-time while he learns to play on his own. I always stay close by, but I have found that knowing my son is safe while I enjoy a cup of coffee is the best feeling in the world. My play nest is my life saver!
|Tips#5: Read It Again And Again And Again|
|Your child will probably want to hear a favorite story over and over. Go ahead and read the same book for the 100th time! Research suggests that repeated readings help children develop language skills.|
|Tips#6: Talk About Writing, Too|
|Draw your child's attention to the way writing works. When looking at a book together, point out how we read from left to right and how words are separated by spaces.|