Year One – Post 3 | Quality Time
For the first few weeks of your baby’s life, you’ll be spending a lot of time getting to know one another. At first your child will sleep, eat and try to adjust to his/her new environment, but by the third week, he/she will probably be awake more often and for longer periods. This is a perfect time to spend more “quality time” with your baby.
Quality time is more than simply taking care of your child’s physical needs; it is time spent playing and interacting with her in ways that help her develop. Keeping a routine for your baby is an important way to ensure you can take care of her physical needs and have quality time, too. Of course, any routine must be flexible. You’ll have to make allowances for many possibilities: your child’s needs, growth spurts, illness, your own schedule and those of other caregivers, to mention just a few.
Babies receive information through hearing, seeing, smelling, tasting, touching and moving. They make associations as they begin to understand the information they’re receiving. This process, called sensory integration, involves combining and making meaning of all that they experience in their environment.
The first thing that they distinguish is the sound of their mother’s voice which is within the first three days. Eyesight is weak and therefore they focus best holding their face within 12 to 18 inches away from your own face. You are the baby’s television set. You are the golden globe actress and actor on the set. Speak to your child in a sweet, higher pitched melodic voice. This is known as Child Directed Speech (aka Motherese and Parentese). It tends to hold your baby’s attention and gives your baby the sense of love and affection.
Make faces, stick out your tongue, smack your lips, roll your eyes and blow “raspberries” with your lips. You are developing a life long bond with your baby. We are very busy people, with worries (I refer to worry as the misuse of the imagination) and distractions. Try to focus and be with your baby, child, teenager and college student. Make quality time to let them know what they say and do makes a difference. Let them know that you care because someday they may be deciding what nursing home to put you in. Have a great day with your kids.
– Kathryn Thorson Gruhn, MA CCC-SLP author of My Baby Compass