How Many Toys Does A Baby Need
Well, your great grandma would tell you back in her day, babies were happy with a doll made from a sock or corn husks, or a teddy made from burlap and stuffed with straw!
Through the progressive years toy producers, albeit factory or small toy shops, strives to come up with safest, the brightest and the most educational toy to be had!
Now many toys are rated by age, and developmental uses, such as puzzles. These have improved from the shape edged, hard board jigsaw shaped puzzles, to the simple smooth shaped with large knobs designed for the youngest of puzzle fans!
All parents want the best or most appropriate toys for their new baby. Martha Mae down the street has wonderfully hand crafted shelves adorning her princess's nursery. Each shelf is carefully organized with specialty toys shipped from the best' toys producers around the word. From exquisite hand embroidered plush blocks, to silver plated rattle.
As we all may have witnessed, toss an empty box to an older baby and watch the fun ensue!
Having the most expensive, the best name brand infant toys do not make a baby any smarter than those given the simpler forms of toys. Sure, the Moms in the baby play group may be envious and the nursery probably looks spectacular, but..is it really necessary?
Nowadays, emphasis is on the safety and sterilizing factors of baby toys. Especially in group care facilities, many licensing guidelines insist that toys are able to go through a sterilizing process. Thus, limiting the kinds of baby toys used in the groups. Water proof, hard plastic toys with no metal or leaking seams are most likely to be purchased.
In a home setting, many parents are satisfied with surface washable toys, and those that can soak in the sink with a bit of bleach.
So often babies are inundated with stuffed plush animals that cannot be machine washed and can collect dust, and all the germs that are around a baby. Some are able to be a bit sterilized by tossing in a dryer, using the heat process to help stave off any parasites. I myself have vacuumed a plush collection of furry friends, even setting them in the sun for several hours!
The topic of this article is just how many toys a baby really needs. Some are under the impression that the more a baby has the smarter they will become and even the faster they will learn.
A new baby's brain starts rapidly developing with each stimulus it receives, but there is only so much we parents can control. Too much stimulation can shut down even the most gifted baby's brain, just to get a break!
Many newborns give us the clues to over stimulation. From the earliest form, of a baby merely averting his gaze away from the stimulation, the baby's way of resting his brain. Some will become fussy, and try to move away. Others just simply nod off!
Many of us have experienced this with even the toddler stage, we may be engaged in what we, adults perceive as a fun activity, only to have the child just fall apart, perhaps in a tantrum, or the child runs off to mommy. We may believe the child to be ungrateful, spoiled or suffering from those dreaded terrible twos', but..we should consider there is only so much these youngsters can deal with, adults can curb the urge for frustration, but at certain stages of everyone's life those urges are difficult to suppress.
So, is the answer to supply so many toys the child never gets bored and can easily transfer from one toy to another when frustrated? Or perhaps is it better to set out fewer choices, or exchange some toys for those that were put away, thus allowing less frustration and brand new experiences, even with toys used prior.
The youngest of newborns definitely benefit from simple forms of stimulation. Gazing at a caregiver's face, learning to recognize every facial feature. Learning that pleasurable experiences come from the smallest of interactions. See how Mommy reacts when her baby seemingly attempts the first coo! Both baby and mommy are learning through one on one interaction no toys even involved!
So, you say, hey, we parents can't just sit and entertain our babies with one on one constantly! Hey, even your baby needs a break from..you, too!
So, which toys are best for baby's development and entertainment? As in every baby has its own personality, each has different reactions to different toys. Some a frightened by the soft smiling teddy Grandma insists gets propped in the crib. Some babies light up by the same rattle, over washed lovey doll. Many babies enjoy handling just the right size' toys, those they can hold without being too heavy, those that can be mouthed and are easily accessible.
In my personal experience with my own newborn's favorite activity (of course I deemed it his favorite) was to lay him on his secure changing area, with colored links draped above. Some links allowed rattly toys to be batted about. Other links encouraged reaching and hand eye coordination. He would get so excited and pleased with himself when he achieved a new goal, perhaps to chew on the link itself or to make a great clanking noise by kicking his feet on the table!
I would stand back from view and allow him to have the experience himself. It was wonderful watching this young newborn learn about how his own body worked and with only a few plastic links and rattles.
I continued that activity as long as he could maintain himself. I did engage with him at times, but for the most part he became so excited just at the glimpse of the activity area. I would even exchange the links for mobiles or a few safe plush friends.
Of course newborn toys are somewhat limited in their use, as are the newborns themselves. Many parents can recall the first time their newborn was able to hold onto a rattle, even if just for a few seconds. Each time getting longer until that precious smart baby could reach out and take the toy themselves! Such a big smile on mom and dad's face it would bring!
Though all newborns go through many of the same phases of development, each and every newborn reaches those milestones in their own way. Some take a bit longer, only meeting the goal when they themselves are secure enough. Others breeze right through, almost missing the opportunity for full development of a skill.
Studies have shown that newborns are able to developmentally as well as physically grow from having some form of stimulation. This isn't meant to suggest that if you have only a few sorted toys, and have to work full time, compared to stay at home Martha Mae down the street, or have to send your child to a child care center that your baby will be lacking compared to your neighbors.
The studies are meant to show that every living being has the ability to go forth through experiences, trials and tribulations, different forms of education and most of all love!
So piling hundreds of toys on your smallest family member is not necessary to show a form of love. Cuddling, playing back and forth games, reading, taking trips to the park, even just walking around your 25th floor apartment building hallways together, can give your child much needed interaction and brain stimulus that helps form a lasting bond. And, also helps the yearning for life branch out from infancy to a well rounded member of society!
Below I have included a compiled list of appropriate infant and toddler toys, as well as some at home substitutes, I found useful myself! Please keep in mind safety in baby toys comes from secure, well made items, tested for ages and above all else, supervision!
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