By Jeana Lee Tahnk
My daughter quickly morphed from a docile, doe-eyed baby whowas content on her back, staring at the environment around her, to acrazily active one who is taking advantage of her newfound mobility toget 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 requirementwhen it comes to active babies. Any little piece of paper, a looseblock or cracker that your older kids dropped on the floor several daysago are prime targets for mouth exploration. Since my baby is roamingthe floors of the house right now, I have tasked the older kids withhelping clear the floor path for her by making sure they pick up afterthemselves.
Speedy diaper-changing skills: The ability to crawland 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 nodesire to be on a changing table anymore. Swift movements and deftskills are the name of the game when it comes to diaper changes. Justmake sure the diaper is on securely so it can handle those fast-movingthighs, or use a slip-on diaper for quick changes.
Lots of floor time: Be prepared to get down - andstay - on the floor. Your baby will love having you at eye level andusing you as a climbing post/human pacifier. Whenever I am on the floorwith my baby, I end up getting drooled on, climbed on and chewed. And Ilove every minute of it.
Distraction and diversion: While this age is clearlytoo young for any kind of disciplinary tactics, it's a great time tomaster the art of distraction. My baby's room has a floor lamp thatadmittedly is not the most baby-friendly. But whenever she heads towardit, I try to distract her and offer something else that's equallyfascinating. This is also a good time to introduce the words, "careful"and "not safe."
A more relaxed attitude: If you like everything inits place and are a stickler for organization, this might be the time tolet go a little. Babies are going to take all the magazines out of thespecial holder, they're going to "rearrange" the cabinet holding theplastic containers and aren't generally the best at keeping thingsorganized. 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 worldfor her and everyone else around her. The No. 1 priority is to make sureshe's safe; after that, it's nonstop fun all the way.
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