How To Choose Educational Products For Your Baby

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It is completely natural for your child to be jealous of a new baby. In fact, I doubt there is a child in the world who has not been jealous when a new sibling arrives. Your goal is to help your child manage that jealousy so love has a chance to grow, and to win out.

 

Anything you can do while you're pregnant to prepare your child will be helpful. Your goal is to get her excited about the baby, and feeling connected to it, even before it is born.

Choosing the best baby toys; educational toys and baby products for a newborn or very young baby can be tough, especially if she's your first. Unlike a three year old who'll make it very clear EXACTLY what she wants, loudly, and repeatedly, choosing a toy for a newborn may take a little detective work. Babies are never too young to play and never too young to learn so choosing the best baby toys can offer your little one great benefits.

 

What to consider when buying an educational baby product

 

There are three key considerations when buying an educational baby product for a very young baby:

 

  1. How will this product assist in developing my child's skills?
  2. Will my child quickly grow out of this toy or is it designed to grow with them?
  3. Is my child at the right developmental age for this product?
  4. Is it completely safe?

What are the most popular options for assisting with infant development?

Your newborn isn't working on the quadratic equation or writing the quintessential novel of our time, she's working on skills that are much more complex.

Emotional and Social skills – the basics of relationship forming an communication, aiming for smiles, eye contact and a little laugh is a great goal.

 

Popular baby products, toys and games include:

Physical skills – at this age, co-ordination doesn't extend far past getting feeding right but aiming for recognising her own hands, grasping, lifting her own head and turning towards objects of interest are all developmental goals in those early months.

Popular baby products, toys and games include:

Sensory Development – newborn eyes don't decipher subtleties in color and depth very well. As both your baby's eyes begin to move in unity, aiming for focus on a desired object (your face is a good example) and following its slow movement is a key developmental goal.

Speech and Language – While she's unlikely to be reciting poetry, using her mouth to make basic "vowel" sounds and to give utterances in response when you talk is the goal of speech and language development in an infant.


Books (or your fashion magazine, it's listening to your voice that counts)

What's the undisputed, best baby toy of all time?

You. It's your interaction, voice, facial expressions and embrace in those first few months that really determines how well she'll meet her developmental milestones. There are no baby products on earth that can take the place of plenty of mom and me time.

 

The truth is that there are several factors to bear in mind when selecting an educational toy for your child, not the least of which is how you as a parent are going to use the toy. What's that you say? The toy isn't for you, it's for your child? Well, we understand that the child is the one to play with the toy, but it is up to the parent to make sure their child is getting the most of their play time. Play is the natural way that children learn. Just as young animals spend their time frolicking about in the woods, learning to avoid snakes and predators, growing into adults through the gaining of experience, so too do our children grow through frolicking about with toys and other children. Unlike animals though, we can adjust the experiences our young have to help them gain the experiences that are most important to them. As a parent you should know the most about your child. What developmental level are they at? What skills do they need to work on? What are their likes and dislikes? What is most important to them? Just as we provide the proper "balanced nutrition" for their growing bodies, so too must we provide the proper nutrients for their mental, emotional, and social development. That is not to say that you have to have complete control of their play situations, but taking a more active role in your child's play time can help them be more stimulated and less frustrated. Sometimes simply turning a toy on it's side is enough to keep a toddler or infant interested and learning, other times more complex play experiences can be designed to help your child both be interested and have fun. We encourage parents to talk with and listen to their children's likes, dislikes, interests, and influences. Sometimes it is even worth it to buy a toy the child really wants but you don't really like to help them learn to make responsible decisions in the marketplace. Besides, you're only young once, and it's good to get what you want once in a while. The thing to remember is that to the child a toy is entertainment and fun, but for the parent a toy is a tool for helping enhance the growth and behavior of their child.

 

Angela Henderson is a Practicing Clinical Psychologist in Brisbane, Australia.  She became frustrated at the lack of quality educational toys on the market in Australia and began sourcing educational baby products for her own child.  After hearing the same complaint from friends, she began an educational online baby storecalled Finlee and Me.   It grew surprisingly fast and she now divides her time between her patients, her store and its namesake, her young child, Finlee.

 

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