After babies grow out of the "Eat, poop, sleep, repeat" phase and before they begin actively exploring, what can you do to keep them entertained all day? In order to keep them from growing too tired or overwhelmed, it's a good idea to break the day into manageable and varied activities. Babies love routine, so repeating similar activities in the same pattern each day is a great way to fill the space between the naps and meals. Right now, Hannah plays for about 15-20 minutes at a time. This leaves plenty of time for naps and meals in between the fun. Using up little bursts of energy makes it easier for Hannah to nap and adds excitement to our day. She can learn and play by doing all these things. Plus, many of these activities accommodate free time (or free hands) for me to get things done around the house!
Here are some examples of how we fill parts of each hour:
7:00 - Belly Time
Hannah rolls and plays on her colorful mat each morning. I used to be able to leave the room for a minute and find her in the same spot, but now I stay with her. It's a good time for me to take pictures, catch up on email, or fold laundry.
8:00 - Bouncy Seat
After getting her "baby exercise," Hannah hangs out in her bouncy seat while I get my exercise and get ready. She loves to watch while I work out and gives me such encouragement by smiling and giggling!
9:00 - Baby Wearing
I've got a Baby K'tan, so I carry Hannah and take care of chores around the house. The key to this is using cleaning supplies that are safe for Hannah to be around.
10:00 - Stroller Ride
We hit the stores or stroll the neighborhood for a nice, long walk. Sometimes Hannah falls asleep, but she loves to hear about the surroundings while she is awake.
1:00 - Story Time
This is my favorite part of the day! We sing songs and read books. I'm saving more details for a future blog post.
3:00 - Activity Gym
Hannah loves to kick and pull on toys. Sometimes she'll roll over (unless I have a camera!)
4:00 - Independent Playtime
I lay Hannah in her crib with a toy for a few minutes each day. It helps her feel secure in the crib and she enjoys playing in a safe space.
6:00 - Bouncy Seat
The bouncy seat is a great spot for Hannah to stay while I cook dinner. She can watch and entertain herself with a toy.
7:00 - Belly Minutes
For a few minutes before bedtime, Hannah will lay on her belly to use up her last burst of energy.