Babies have a whole new world in front of them to explore, and they do so in their own messy, silly, amazing ways. As a parent, you're lucky enough to have a front-row seat to their boundless discovery.
"Babies come pre-wired to explore and learn everything they can about their world," explains elementary-school mindfulness teacher and proud momma of two, Kaia Roman. "They use all five senses instinctively, and that's how they start to form their impressions of what their environment is all about."
mbg is teaming up with Babyganics, whose mission is to help families "Grow Boldly," to highlight a few opportunities to support this innate sense of curiosity. Keep them in mind as you raise that awesome, mindful human of yours.
But always remember, as Kaia says, "As long as you're giving your little one love, you're doing it right."
1. Tackle the kitchen together.
Kids actually grow up to be healthier eaters when they're involved in food preparation, so let your baby feel like king or queen of the kitchen. Watch as they play with ingredients, lick the skin of an avocado to experience its texture, or sneak a taste of those carrots. Cooking healthy meals with your baby exposes them to nutritious ingredients and sets them up for a lifetime of good eats. Plus, they're less likely to grow up picky eaters if they're exposed to plenty of flavors and textures young. The messy floors couldn't be more worth it.
2. Start a fun morning ritual.
So the days of easing into your morning with 30 minutes of sun salutations may be over, but now you and your child can enjoy a nourishing morning routine side by side! Start your days by opening the curtains and pointing to the sun, snow, rain, or wind and inviting your baby to touch the window panes to see if they're hot or cold. This feeds their curiosity about what lies beyond their walls, and the natural light may even help them get a better night's rest, too.
3. Slow down your walks.
What's the rush? Long strolls outside give your baby a chance to check out all kinds of new sights. As a newborn one of the first things babies learn is to recognize is their mother's (and father's!) face (cue the aww), and everything that follows is totally fresh and enchanting. So explore a new park and watch your little one's eyes light up when they see an unfamiliar animal or notice a swing set move in the whoosh of the wind. Seeing the world through your baby's gaze means getting back to a simpler way of existing—one in which everything is exciting.
4. Don't pass up a chance to get outside.
The rays of sunshine filtering through the trees and the subtle swaying of leaves are enough to get your baby's mind stimulated and engaged. Outdoor play has been shown to do everything from strengthening babies' immune systems to protect them from stress and anxiety, so let them get down and dirty.
5. Engage in "the nothing movement."
Make household objects like wooden spoons, cardboard boxes, and lid containers into toys, allowing your little one to grasp, toss, and kick as they please. With babies, everything is play since they're naturally inclined to examine every last inch of an object. The wide smile or silly face you make as you watch them find entertainment in the everyday is perfect since exaggerated expressions have been shown to improve babies' grasp on emotions and how to emulate them.
6. Make every outing an adventure.
Your baby doesn't know it's your 100,000th time to the grocery store; it's only his or her sixth! Enjoy watching them take in the colors and sounds of the store, and let them play with the containers in your cart. Pay attention when they point to something on the shelf since the gesture is one of the first forms of communication. Does your baby girl seem fascinated by peanut butter? Throw it in there for her to observe close up.
7. Make healthy habits fun.
Instead of trying to distract your baby from "chores," remember that they can find fun in everything. Use bubbles to turn the bathtub into a fireworks display and sing a fun tune to transform teeth brushing into a Broadway show! After all, healthy habits start young.