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Keeping kids busy and learning

A while ago I wrote a post about my daughter and my concerns about the volume of toys and gifts she receives constantly.  Since I wrote that post - or since I became acutely aware of my own behaviour - I have stopped buying.  I also held back a lot of presents from her birthday and Christmas, and once in a while ie every couple of months, I will swap out her old toys that are not used for one from the garage.  

Her volume of available toys has decreased considerably and she doesn't care. I have also made a point of finding new ways to use old toys. Frankly, she prefers rummaging through the drawers, banging pot lids together and chasing the dog.  Oh, and the other things is the treasure box - which is some of my old "jewellery" that she puts from one container to the other or wears.  Bangles and hair ties are her favourite.  Hours of fun.  (if you think I'm kidding, I'm not.  Hours.)  And, those ELC toys that I keep raving on about, that she has had since she was a baby baby - still loves them.  They play music. Simple.

baby play

She also found a little fairy in the garden.  It's one of those things you stick on pots for decoration.  God knows what possessed me to buy a fairy, but whatever it was, she now goes out there every morning and evening to say hello and bye bye to the fairy.

I'be taken 3 paragraphs to say - keeping it simple has made so much more sense. These simple new things she seems to be enjoying more, taking so much pleasure from and really looking forward to.  The peripherals keep her interested for 10/15 minutes. But that's ok too.

I came across an article - 11 Tips for Instilling True Gratitude in Your Kids - which I thought was great and worth a read.  Some of the tips stood out for me, and we have found work really well in our home, and I hope that you find it interesting too.  

  • Have the kids pitch in when they want something.
  • Set a good example by saying "thank you" sincerely and often
  • Resist the urge to shower them with too much "stuff."
  • Encourage them to give back.

If you have any you'r like to share, please do...

Baby Bathtime

When you have a baby that doesn't mind a bath,  it is gold.  It is such a special time.  


In all honesty I was frightened of washing my little girl when she was a newborn. She was just so fragile.  I was convinced that I was going to break her. But, like the midwife told me, they are pretty resilient.  And as time went on baby bathtime became one of my favourite things to do with her.  One of our favourite things to do.

There are so many different options for baths these days, you can choose whatever suits your space - there is the traditional white tub, the fold away, the in sink, the bucket variety, the blow up.  I mean they have one for every situation, regardless of space.  And it you have a bath you can put them onto a seat or simply hold them if it's comfortable for you.  There are also stands to place the baths onto if you have the floor space, or fold away varieties if you don't.  

Baby bathtime equipment

Be realistic about the space you have and the existing set up.  Test what will be the most comfortable for you - use a clothes hamper or bucket to physically move it around. As long as baby is warm and safe there are no other rules. (Well, you back is important as well, so consider your own physical well being!)

Consider where you want to bathe the baby i.e. in which room and then decided on the set up.  Some people choose to bathe in the bedroom and keep the baby in the one temperature and in the same place; others are on the dining room table, and others in the bathroom. No rules.

Based on the above decision, the rest will fall into place:

  • the type of bath you need
  • which seat fits the bath you get
  • which stand fits the bath your get (if required)

As time goes on you will be tempted to get the bath seat which locks a seated baby into place, which we do not see as a necessity.  Once baby can sit don't lock them it - it's part of the joy of the bath.

Our rule - keep it simple. As baby gets older they will want more things in the bath but at the beginning it will be pretty basic.

In the bath we prefer organic products - you don't need a lot and it lasts for ages so invest in something good. We have a few posts on skincare and babycare that you can check out for more product specific information.

  • baby bath and/or lavender oil
  • baby wash and shampoo
  • organic sponge or  face washer

The face washer is a must.  When baby first arrives, it may feel strange in the bath and may not like it.  Aside from remaining very calm and enjoying the experience yourself, you can put a warm face washer on the baby's tummy during the bath so that he is covered. He will feel comfort and warmth and hopefully enjoy the experience.  Personally, I did this for at least for the 3 or 4 months.   

The other must is a hooded towel. It makes it so easy to get bubs rugged up after the bath.  If you are handy with a sewing machine there are lots of tutorials on Pinterest or you could simply buy one.  Whichever option go for a larger towel.  They grow quickly and if you buy a good one you want it to last a while.

As baby gets older you will want to introduce toys - don't go for anything with holes in the bottom that can develop fungus. (Or if you do, replace it often). And go for non-toxic toys such as Boon.  It's worth the extra penny. They last for a long time.  And they look great.  Their bath toy holders are very cute.


Baby bathtime safety first

  • NEVER leave baby unattended in a bath
  • Don’t leave water in buckets or baths 
  • Use a nonslip mat in the bath and around the bath
  • NEVER poor water into a bath while baby is inside
  • Always make sure the bath is on a stable surface
  • Make sure you have everything in arms reach – bathing products and towels primarily

Keep an eye out for… A great article on the Daily Life

The article is "Are our kids too fragile?” discussing how our children are becoming less resilient, in a more complex world.  And the reason is that “many kids are mollycoddled quite a bit, so they're protected by their parents from encountering stress. The child never actually really exposes themselves to the realities of life, basically."

So, the question for me is how much is too much or too little?  I probably err on the too much side.  A friend and I were discussing the volume of toys our kids have – and how when we were growing up, a toy giving occasion was usually a special occasion – a birthday, Christmas – it was the best part of the special occasion. 

I am not sure whether I am over compensating for a lack of toys when I was younger – some toys I have bought (the best ones I bought for specific developmental reasons) she plays with and has done for a long time.  The rest are not touched.

I do not consider myself a proponent of attachment parenting, although I probably don’t sit too far way, somewhere in the centre I think (hope).  But I definitely didn't run from it. Are we too focused on 'attaching' kids to us in whatever way possible - toys, their own routines, trying to shield them from difficulties rather than letting them find a way to deal with them? 

We are a lucky generation – we are able to provide more than (most of) the previous generation could.  We are having babies later in life.  And we are more likely to go back to work and leave baby with a child minder of some description. And, I hate to say it, as much as we don’t want to feel it, guilt clouds sometimes hover over head. Are we over compensating?  Was waiting for toys really so bad that now the weekend is a good excuse to get a new toy?

I don’t want my baby being too fragile and unable to cope with the stresses of growing up and the adult world. I know toys are not the only symptom to consider, but as a mother of a baby it’s the only yardstick I have right now!

I wonder if I'll know where to draw the line? Will the line be visible enough to me when I come to it?