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Keeping Up with an Active Baby

By Jeana Lee Tahnk

My daughter quickly morphed from a docile, doe-eyed baby who was content on her back, staring at the environment around her, to a crazily active one who is taking advantage of her newfound mobility to get into everything. As soon as she learned how to crawl, she was off and moving, loving her freedom to explore.

Of course, an active baby requires parents to take action:

Babyproofing: This is the most important requirement when it comes to active babies. Any little piece of paper, a loose block or cracker that your older kids dropped on the floor several days ago are prime targets for mouth exploration. Since my baby is roaming the floors of the house right now, I have tasked the older kids with helping clear the floor path for her by making sure they pick up after themselves.

Speedy diaper-changing skills: The ability to crawl and the inability to lie still seem to go hand-in-hand at this stage. There's so much to explore now, it's understandable that babies have no desire to be on a changing table anymore. Swift movements and deft skills are the name of the game when it comes to diaper changes. Just make sure the diaper is on securely so it can handle those fast-moving thighs, or use a slip-on diaper for quick changes.

Lots of floor time: Be prepared to get down - and stay - on the floor. Your baby will love having you at eye level and using you as a climbing post/human pacifier. Whenever I am on the floor with my baby, I end up getting drooled on, climbed on and chewed. And I love every minute of it.

Distraction and diversion: While this age is clearly too young for any kind of disciplinary tactics, it's a great time to master the art of distraction. My baby's room has a floor lamp that admittedly is not the most baby-friendly. But whenever she heads toward it, I try to distract her and offer something else that's equally fascinating. This is also a good time to introduce the words, "careful" and "not safe."

A more relaxed attitude: If you like everything in its place and are a stickler for organization, this might be the time to let go a little. Babies are going to take all the magazines out of the special holder, they're going to "rearrange" the cabinet holding the plastic containers and aren't generally the best at keeping things organized. It's a short-lived phase ("short-lived" meaning a few years), but soon enough your magazines will be back in their rack.

The minute a baby becomes active, it opens up a whole new world for her and everyone else around her. The No. 1 priority is to make sure she's safe; after that, it's nonstop fun all the way.

Read More by Jeana Lee Tahnk

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