Alright! You’ve enrolled your first infant!! Congratulations! Now what are you going to do with this 9-month-old since you only have preschool lesson plans? That’s right. You’re a childcare provider, so you’re prepared to be flexible. No need to stress over trying to fill his days with activities. He’s probably got most of his day set for feeding, changing, and sleeping. While you can make your plans around where he is in his infant development, I would suggest that you first build trust between you both. If this is his first time in care, he may have a very difficult adjustment.
Babies need to feel secure and know that you will be there for them when they are trying something new and when they are hungry, wet, scared, happy, or distressed. You are the focal point for that child, so when either of you move to a new location, he’s going to be looking to see you and see how far away you are. You are “home base” for a while. The fastest ways to build trust and bond are to respond with care to his cries and to smile and play with him often.
“22 A merry heart doeth good like a medicine:” – Proverbs 17:22a
You’ve probably heard that “Laughter is the best medicine,” but did you also know that laughter is good for infant development, too? “American Baby” author, Emily Perlman Abedon, writes that laughter is part of learning in this article. Intuitively, we’ve always known that laughter is important – at least for developing proper social interaction. However, there is currently the “Baby Laughter Project” being conducted worldwide by Birbeck, University of London. (If you’d like to participate in their survey or read more about the project, you can do so here). So all those hours you spent playing peek-a-boo and making silly faces weren’t wasted!
Now…how are you going to help stimulate that part of the brain?
New and excited providers often feel the need to go buy the latest musical, glowing toys but go broke in the process. Toys are nice, but you may be trying too hard, especially to have just enrolled this baby. Children are very easily entertained. You just need to be a little creative and patient. Here are a couple of ideas that should also put a smile on your face.
Make funny noises & faces
Of course, there are numerous other props you can use or activities you can do to get a smile and a laugh from your daycare baby. The goal is to be comfortable and have fun!
See ya next time!